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First Aid Requirements


The government body in charge of all aspects of Health and Safety (including First Aid) in the workplace is the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the governing legislation for First Aid is the "Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981" and their Codes of Practice (March 1997).

The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 require all employers to provide adequate and appropriate:

equipment; and

to ensure first aid can be rendered to their employees if they become ill or injured at work.

The minimum first-aid provision on any work site is:

a suitable stocked first aid box; and
an Appointed Person

It is important to remember that accidents can happen at any time and First aid provision must be available at all times people are at work.

Where work involves particular risks or there are higher number of employees first aid needs will be greater. An employer may need to train First Aiders. The employer must undertake a risk assessment and must consider:

workplace hazards and risks;
the size of the organisation (see below for further advice);
the organisation's history of accidents;
the nature and distribution of the workforce;
the remoteness of the site from the Emergency Medical Services;
the needs of travelling, remote and lone workers;
employees working on shared or multi-occupancy sites; and
annual leave and other absences of first aiders and appointed persons.
As a rough guide where there is:

* A lower risk (e.g. shops, offices, libraries) and there are fewer than 50 employees then at least one appointed person will suffice. If there are between 50-100 employees then there must be at least one first aider;

* A medium risk (e.g. light engineering and assembly work, food processing, warehousing etc.) and there are fewer than 20 employees then at least one appointed person will suffice. Between 20-100 there must be at least one first aider per every 50 employed (or part thereof);

* A high risk (e.g. most construction, slaughterhouse, chemical manufacture or extensive work with dangerous machinery or sharp instruments) and there are fewer than 5 employees then at least one appointed person will suffice. Between 5-100 there must be at least one first aider per every 50 employed (or part thereof);

* Where there are special circumstances such as remoteness from emergency medical services, shiftwork or sites with several separate buildings, there may be a need to be more first aid personnel than set out above. Increased provision will be necessary to cover for absences.

Companies are not obliged to provide first aid for anyone other than their own employees, but it is strongly recommended that they are taken into account in the first aid provision.

These guidelines have been drawn from the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 and their Approved Codes of Practice 1997. For further advice please contact the Health and Safety Executive or visit their website dealing with First Aid Regulations.

Respirator Safety issues


People who work with harmful dusts should not use nuisance dust masks to protect themselves from exposure, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is today warning.

HSE is encouraging the voluntary withdrawal from sale of nuisance dustmasks, also known as comfort masks or hygiene masks, and is urging the use of approved CE-marked disposable respirators instead.

The warning is in support of the Health and Safety Commission’s (HSC) campaign to reduce respiratory diseases such as occupational asthma, which is the most frequently diagnosed occupational related respiratory disease in Great Britain. HSE estimates that between 1,500 and 3,000 people
develop it every year.

Nuisance dust masks should only be used when dusts are not hazardous to health, but they are often used as cheap alternatives to the correct protective equipment. Despite resembling the kind of disposable respirators that should be used, nuisance dust masks are not protective devices. They perform badly and do not have to meet basic health and safety requirements.

However they are readily available to industry, DIY enthusiasts and hobbyists, which means that they may be found in a variety of occupational and domestic environments and consequently could be used for purposes that they are not intended for.

They should not be used for protection against fine dusts, welding fumes, asbestos, fine sand, paint spray, gases, vapours or aerosols. In addition, they should not be used for substances with a maximum exposure limit because the law requires that exposures to these be reduced as much as
possible. This means they are unsuitable for protection against grain dust, flour dust, ferrous foundry dust, hard or softwood dust, wool process dust or fume from rosin-based solder flux. Similarly, nuisance dust masks should not be used to give protection from substances that cause occupational asthma but do not have occupational exposure limits.
Examples include some dyes, antibiotic dusts, proteolytic
enzymes and mould spores.

Dr Bob Rajan, HSE principal specialist inspector, said: “HSE will enforce against employers who issue nuisance dust masks inappropriately when proper respirators should be used, although HSE cannot prohibit their sale. A statutory ban on these masks would require a change in European
law. However HSE is committed to ensuring that workers’ health is better protected. In particular, HSE has set a target of 30% reduction in new cases of occupational asthma by 2010. If nuisance dust masks have been used because of a lack of proper risk assessment, replacement by appropriate disposable respirators should show health benefits.”

Geoff Hooke, secretary general of the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF), said, “BSIF members have expressed concern over the fact that purchasers of respiratory protection buy nuisance dust masks because of the low price. The BSIF supports the current initiative by HSE towards the elimination of nuisance dust masks from the UK market.”

The withdrawal of nuisance dust masks from sale has also received the support of HSC’s Industry Advisory Committees, which represent companies and trade unions from a broad cross-section of British industry.

Notes for editors

1. Nuisance dust masks may consist of a thin metal plate that holds a piece of gauze over the nose and mouth or a lightweight filter that looks similar to a disposable dust respirator.

2. Nuisance dust masks are not classified as personal protective equipment. They are not CE-marked to show that they comply with European Directive (89/686/EEC) or against a recognised standard for respiratory protection.

3. All disposable respirators must be individually CE-marked. They are also marked to show the European standard, EN 149, and class,

FFP1 (low efficiency),
FFP2 (medium efficiency)
FFP3 (high efficiency).
EN 149 indicates that the respirator conforms to British Standard EN 149:2001Filtering half masks to protect against particles.

4. Geoff Hooke can be contacted at the BSIF by telephone on 01745 585 600.

5. The HSC Industry Advisory Committees, which support the withdrawal of nuisance dust masks from sale are: the Agriculture Industry Advisory Committee (AIAC); the Deep Mined Coal Industry Advisory Committee (DCMCIAC); the Textiles Industry Advisory Committee (TEXIAC); the Rubber
Industry Advisory Committee (RUBIAC); the Construction Industry Advisory Committee (CONIAC) and the Health and Safety in Bakeries Liaison Committee.

PUBLIC ENQUIRIES: Call HSE's InfoLine, tel: 08701 545500, or write to: HSE Information Services, Caerphilly Business Park, Caerphilly CF83 3GG.

PPE Overview of regulations

PPE Overview of regulations
Internet Workwear Ltd, whilst bringing you this information cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions in this overview. You should make yourselves aware of all the latest government regulations.

An Overview of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

See also; COSHH


Personal protective equipment (PPE) means all equipment (including clothing giving protection against the weather) which is worn or held to protect against risks to health or safety.

The main legislation governing PPE at work are the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 1992.

PPE includes the following, when worn for health and safety protection:-
Protective clothing (e.g., aprons, gloves, footwear, helmets, high visibility waistcoats)
Protective equipment (e.g., eye protectors, respirators, safety harnesses)

In practice, however the PPE Regulations will not apply to ear protectors, most respiratory protective equipment and some types of PPE as these are specifically excluded for the scope of the PPE Regulations because they are covered by existing regulations (e.g., Noise at Work Regulations 1989, Control of Asbestos at Work Regs 1987, COSHH 1999.

Legal requirements

Provision of PPE: Employers must ensure that suitable PPE is provided to employees exposed to a risk to their health or safety except where the risk has been adequately controlled by other equally or more effective means. ‘Suitability’ is by reference to:

Being appropriate to the risks and workplace conditions

The ergonomics and state of health of the person

Being capable of fitting the wearer correctly

Being effective in preventing or adequately controlling the risk without increasing an overall risk.

Complying with any other provision implementing any PPE Directive.

PPE should be seen as a last resort in the hierarchy of control measures; it should be made readily available (in most cases in a personal basis); no charge can be levied; ergonomic factors should be considered i.e., match the PPE to the person; quality must be ensured i.e., to be certified (‘CE’ marked) as meeting basic safety requirements.

Compatibility of PPE: This is required where more than one piece of PPE is worn

Assessment is needed to ensure the suitability of the PPE to be provided. This should include assessment of the risks, the PPE risk protection characteristics and a comparison of PPE available. It should follow on from, but not duplicate, risk assessments carried out under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

Maintenance and Replacement: PPE should be maintained (including replaced or cleaned as appropriate) in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.
Responsibilities, procedures (including frequencies) should be established and appropriate records kept.

Accommodation: Suitable accommodation must be provided for the safe storage of PPE.
Contaminated or defective PPE should also be segregated.

Information, instruction, and training needs to be provided in a systematic way; it should cover users, managers/supervisors and repair/maintenance/test personnel. Records should be kept. Training to be both theoretical and practical induction and refresher as necessary.

Use of PPE: There are duties on employers, self-employed persons and employees to ensure the proper use of PPE.

Reporting of loss/defect – to the employer.

Practical guidance

Part 2 of booklet L25 – ‘Guidance on Regulations – The Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 1992’ contains detailed advice and references on the selection, use and maintenance of PPE widely used in industry. The following table is a summary only of the advice. Details on more specialised equipment can be found in the References

Checklist - Personal protective equipment

1. Is PPE that is not covered by other specific existing legislation required for work at your premises? YES NO

2. Can processes or activities be changed to eliminate the need for PPE? YES NO

3. Have you assessed the PPE requirement to ensure that suitable PPE is selected and provided? YES NO

4. Where more than one piece of PPE is worn, do you take steps to ensure compatibility? YES NO

5. Does the PPE comply with UK legislation implementing EC directives concerning design and manufacture of PPE (i.e. is it CE marked?) YES NO

6. Do you have a system of maintenance and replacement for PPE, and appropriate record keeping? YES NO

7. Is suitable accommodation provided for PPE? YES NO

8. Do you provide systematic information, instruction and training on PPE for employees? YES NO

9. Do you have a PPE loss/defect reporting system? YES NO

Reference / further details

1. Booklet L25 – Guidance on Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 1992 (HSE) ISBN 0 7176 04152

2. Control of Lead at Work – ACOP (HSE) ISBN 0 11 883780 X

3. Booklet L5 – General & Carcinogens COSHH ACOPs (HSE) ISBN 0 7176 0819 0

4. Construction (Head Protection) Regulations – Guidance on Regulations (HSE) ISBN 0 11 885503 4

5. Leaflet IND(G) 174L. A Short Guide to the PPE at Work Regulations 1992

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