Personal protective equipment includes safety helmets, respiratory protection and similar items which protect employees as they work. See the drawing.
Personal protective equipment is a last resort
Working environment problems must initially be resolved at source. Personal protective equipment will be selected only when all other options have been tried.
Requirements for protective equipment
Protection: Make sure that the item of protective equipment offers the necessary
Example: Respiratory protection must have the right filters. For instance, dust filters cannot be used if you are working with solvents.
Inconvenience: Protective equipment must not cause more inconvenience than is necessary to allow it to work.
Example: Not everyone can wear the same footwear, so just having one type to choose from is not enough.
Suitability: Protective equipment must be suitable for the task in hand.
Example: If you work somewhere there is water, such as near to or in an excavation, you must wear rubber safety boots and not safety shoes.
Protective equipment must not have more properties than it needs to have,
as extra properties may cause unnecessary inconvenience.
Delivery, payment, maintenance and ownership
It is the job and responsibility of the employer to ensure that employees are given the right protective equipment. The employer is also responsible for cleaning and maintenance.
One exception may be responsibility for safety footwear and special workwear. Here, employers’ organisations and the trade unions (or the employer and his employees, when these are not covered by collective agreements) may have agreed that employees should contribute towards the payment.
If the employer pays for and owns the protective equipment, he may demand that employees leave their protective equipment behind at the place of work when they go home.
Responsibility for protective equipment
The employer is responsible for:
- Ensuring that employees use the protective equipment as they work.
- Instructing staff on the use of protective equipment and ensuring that employees follow his instructions.
- Explaining to employees about the consequences for safety and health of failure to follow the instructions.
Employees are responsible for:
- Using protective equipment from the start of work until it is completed. Of course, this assumes that they have been supplied with the protective equipment and received instruction on how to use it.
- Telling the supervisor or employer if there are any faults or defects in the protective equipment.
Limits for use
It may be inconvenient to use protective equipment, which may make it necessary to limit working time by including breaks, for example. Some respiratory protection has a set limit as to how long it may be used at a stretch.
Usage instructions and labelling
The supplier must ensure that he always follows usage instructions when supplying personal protective equipment.
The usage instructions must be in Danish and written in a clear, comprehensible language.
The usage instructions must include information on:
- How the item of protective equipment is to be used.
- Storage, use, cleaning, maintenance, repair and disinfection.
- Resistance to stresses determined during technical testing.
- What accessories can be used together with the protective equipment.
- Limits in the use of the protective equipment.
- The expiry date on which the protective equipment.
- Suitable packaging for transporting the protective equipment.
- The meaning of any labelling.