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How good are you?

A recent in-depth investigation of a small sample of companies showed only around half were effective in protecting the wearer through their use of RPE as a control. We looked at the reasons for this and found there were four different groups. However, only one could be confident that their workers will be protected. You will fall into one of these four groups of RPE users:

If you recognise yourself or your company as a developer, learner or fortuitous, there is a danger your RPE is not protecting your workers. To be confident that you are protecting workers, you need be amongst those we term proficient, having both sufficient knowledge and achieving the proper control. There are a number of signs that will indicate where you are:


They have a good understanding and RPE used will be protecting the worker. Some reasons why we say this are:


They have some understanding but RPE still may not be protecting the workers. Some reasons why we say this are:


They lack understanding and RPE may not be protecting the worker. Some reasons why we say this are:


They have little understanding - RPE is likely to be protecting the workers but more by luck. Some reasons why we say this are:

What will help employers implement RPE programmes?

One of the key issues found, especially among learners, was an over-reliance on employee 'common sense' to use RPE correctly. The study also found that the majority of participating companies needed some improvement in two areas:

It is clear from the investigation that a number of factors affect RPE programme development such as legislation, external audits by HSE, insurers and industry groups. There are positive steps that employers can take. For instance:

For full details of the findings, please read the report.

Updated: 2021-04-26