Identifying, assessing and controlling risks and hazards to personnel are key responsibilities in the remit of today’s health and safety professionals.
Conducting a risk assessment means systematically looking at work activities, determining what could go wrong and identifying ways of eliminating or reducing the risks or hazards.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines the process of conducting a risk assessment as:
Step 1: Identifying the hazards (such as dangerous chemicals, sharp instruments, exposure to electrical current or working at height)
Step 2: Deciding who might be harmed and how
Step 3: Evaluating the risks and decide on precautions
Step 4: Recording significant findings
Step 5: Reviewing the assessment and updating it if and where necessary
Assessing if PPE is required
According to the HSE, 144 workers were killed at work and an estimated 621,000 workers suffered non-fatal injuries as a result of work activity in 2015/16. ‘Despite long term reductions in the number of workers injured each year, the kinds of accident sustained remain similar year-on-year’, the organisation reported.
More than a quarter of those fatal injuries (37 cases) were a fall from a height; 18 of the fatal falls occurred in the construction sector, seven in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector and four in manufacturing.
In cases of non-fatal workplace injuries, the most common are those acquired while lifting, handling or carrying (an estimated 122,000 cases), followed by slips, trips and falls (estimated 119,000 cases).
Having established that there is a risk of harm or injury to an employee, one of the crucial precautionary measures to eliminate or mitigate those risks may be to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and/or protective clothing.
There are a multitude of hazardous situations and scenarios when wearing the correct PPE will prevent harm to your workforce, including:
- Extreme temperatures – where workers need protection against fire or scorching heat or the hazards of working in the freezing cold
- Debris, foreign objects or dust – where safety goggles and glasses, and head protection might be necessary
- Chemicals – where personnel require protection from corrosive substances and fluids they are handling
- Blades, saws and sharp instruments – where workers need protection from needlesticks, cuts and abrasions
- Noise – where measures are needed protect employees’ from work-related hearing loss
It is not always easy or straightforward to decide whether PPE is required. Talking to a PPE expert, preferably one registered with the British Safety Industry Federation, the body that audits safety professionals, will help identify any requirements for protective measures and also ensure you select the right PPE and protective clothing for your organisation’s needs.
Safety solutions that work
The help and advice that you can receive by working with an experienced and knowledgeable PPE supplier will also eliminate other risks, such as specifying a higher or lower spec item than you require and spending more than you need to. They will also be able to provide you with a number of options, all of which will give the protection required but which may meet other requirements, such as comfort, dexterity, brand identity and customisation.
Contego Safety Solutions stocks a vast range of protective clothing, PPE and corporate wear, including our very own WEARMASTER® range.
The friendly and expert team at Contego Safety Solutions is always on hand to give advice and guidance on the right PPE and protective clothing for your needs. Contact us now on 0800 122 3323 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your requirements.
To find out more our extensive range of products visit our online shop or download the Contego Catalogue now.