PPE - What is PPE or Personal Protective Equipment?

Posted by Jack Durant at

What is PPE?

 PPE is the term used to refer to any clothing worn in the workplace which protects or safeguards an individual from injury or infection. Different workplaces will require different types of PPE, for example steel-toe boots, helmets and high visibility clothing are required on a construction site, whilst occupations dealing with hazardous chemicals may require the use of respirators, safety goggles and even hazmat suits.

 Why is PPE necessary?

 The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Legislation (1992) requires all employers to supply appropriate PPE to their employees where there are potential risks to their health and safety that cannot be controlled in other ways. This legislation requires a thorough risk assessment of the workplace as well as assessment of the PPE itself to ensure it will provide adequate protection.

 As an employer, PPE must be supplied to employees free of charge. It must also be maintained to adequate standards, and replaced as and when necessary.

 Types of PPE

 Foot Protection: This can be for a variety of purposes, from preventing injury from falling objects to preventing slips, trips and falls. Protective boots usually have a steel toe and reinforced sides to bear the brunt of any potential hazards.

Headwear: hard hats are used to protect the head from impact, and generally must be able to withstand penetrative force and absorb blows from falling objects.

Ear Protection: Certain work environments use heavy machinery or equipment that can cause damage to an employee’s hearing. In these instances, ear muffs or plugs should be provided to reduce the risk of permanent hearing loss.


Eye Protection: This can take several forms, including but not limited to safety glasses, goggles and full face shields. Which is worn will depend on their purpose: to prevent splashes from chemicals, protect from flying debris or to even protect the eyes from potentially damaging light.

Gloves: Again there are a variety of different gloves used for a range of purposes. For example, insulated gloves when working with hot materials or to prevent electrical shock, gloves to prevent cuts as well as those to prevent contamination. Some gloves have long cuffs to cover more of the arm area.

Protective clothing: This can range from hi vis clothing to fireproof suits and thermal clothing. Hi-vis, being perhaps the most commonly used, makes a person more visible in the workplace, reducing the risk of accidents. Thermal clothing is used in many instances for people who work outside in a range of environmental conditions.

How much does it cost?

PPE does not need to cost the earth, great deals can be found, particularly when buying in large quantities. Here at Cobra Workwear we offer outstanding value in our hi-vis bundle deals, and you can even have your company logo printed or embroidered free of charge with these great offers. We also have great prices on our range of rigger boots, steel-toe boots and anti-slip footwear as well as our range of other safety gear. Browse our entire range today, or contact us today for more information.

 Overall, it is vital that your company adheres to the legislation regarding PPE, make sure you know what you need for your business! Additional information regarding the UK regulations on PPE in the workplace can be found here. 

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