RR746 - Review of occupational hygiene reports on suitability of respiratory protective equipment (RPE)
This report presents an overview of evidence on RPE and user behaviour drawn from a number of sources, including published material; IOM reports; and the expertise and experience of IOM staff. It provides an evidence-base for factors influencing the use (or non-use) of RPE in the workplace and on how well RPE programmes are currently implemented.
Although the remit was RPE, the study adopted a wider remit of personal protective equipment (PPE), on the basis that, although there will be equipment specific issues, the underlying principles influencing the use of any PPE will be essentially the same as those specifically relating to RPE.
From the reviews, it is clear that the first steps in any RPE programme start with management. Managers at all levels need to:
- recognise the need for RPE;
- accept their role in an effective programme;
- ensure that appropriate RPE is selected;
- ensure that sufficient RPE is provided;
- ensure that information and training needs are met;
- play their part in enforcement and supervision, including leading by example where appropriate;
- make suitable provision for cleaning, maintenance and storage (as appropriate).
Many of these functions have parallels within the workforce where the following issues were identified:
- hazard awareness and risk perception;
- worker involvement;
- comfort and disability;
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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