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RR419 - Evidence base for identifying potential failures in the specification, use and maintenance of PPE at work

This report describes a pan-industry study into the risks associated with PPE-related accidents and forms a preliminary evidence base.

A data set has been built containing accidents where people have been or should have been using PPE. This set contains 24,182 accidents reported under RIDDOR between 1996/97 and 2002/03, and has an accuracy of around 95%. This data has been incorporated into the PPE RIDDOR Data Tool. It is used to provide an insight into the key risks where future controls may best be targeted, and a baseline from which future improvements may be measured.

Around 9,000 PPE-related accidents are reported each year. The construction industry reports the largest number of fatal injury accidents. It also has one of the highest fatal injury rates. The largest number of major injury accidents are reported in the manufacturing and service industries, whilst the highest rates are reported in the agriculture and construction industries.

Of the £252m annual costs of PPE-related accidents, hand/arm protection (£75m) and foot protection (£85m) are the most significant. Around £96m of the £252m costs could not have been prevented or mitigated by the PPE provided. Failure to consider PPE resulted in costs of around £49m, whilst not using the PPE provided resulted in costs of around £65m.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

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Updated 2010-03-19