When it comes to selecting the correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) it can be a mine field.

Did you know for example there are different types of cut resistant gloves ? Cut 1 being the least protective to Cut 5 being the best.

You do not always need the highest specification PPE, but ALL your PPE purchased should be C E Marked. This shows that the products meet minimum safety standards and have been tested by the manufacturers to set standards.

When selecting PPE you should always consult with your staff and where possible obtain samples to try out different PPE brands and stiles. Like any equipment you will have some people who like a particular item, and other that don’t. Ultimately the majority must decide the PPE to be purchased and worn.

The type of PPE to be used will depend on what you are trying to protect your staff from. A risk assessment should identify what hazards have been identified and what PPE is required.

For example, if you are working with wood, dust may be given off which requires the operator to wear a mask. But which mask are you going to purchase? It is not good enough to guess, you must be certain that the equipment you purchase can reduce the risk from the dust. The type of mask will depend on dust particle size, volume of dust, exposure to the operator etc.

FFP1 Dust Masks
FFP1 Dust Masks protect against low levels of dust, as well as solid and liquid aerosols. It protects against materials in concentrations up to 4x occupational exposure limit (OEL) or 4x assigned protection factor (APF). FFP1 Dust Masks are suitable for hand sanding, drilling, and cutting.

FFP2 Dust Masks
FFP2 Dust Masks protect against moderate levels of dust, as well as solid and liquid aerosols. FFP2 Dust Masks have a higher level of protection than FFP1 – FFP2 masks protect against materials in concentrations up to 12x OEL or 4x APF. FFP2 masks are ideal for plastering and sanding.

FFP3 Dust Masks
FFP3 Dust Masks protect against higher levels of dust. They also protect against solid and liquid aerosols. FFP3 masks protect against materials in concentrations up to 50x OEL or 20x APF. FFP3 masks are suitable for handling hazardous powders, such as those found in the pharmaceutical industry.

Remember ! The Hierarchy of Control for Health and Safety. This means that PPE is the last form of defence from a hazard and should only be considered when all other ways of eliminating, reducing, isolating etc the hazard have been tried and eliminated.

For help with PPE or to order PPE visit our store page on the web site. If there is PPE you require not listed, please contact us to discuss your requirements and will do our best to help you.

Andy Adams CMIOSH, SpDipEnv,

Office S6
Schott House
Drummond Road
Astonfields Industrial Estate
ST16 3EL

Tel: 01889 881887

Mob: 07900 558547