Are you compliant? Regulations governinig outdoor workwear standards

Employers in the UK are all required to comply with a series of standards for their staff working in outdoor environments. Outdoor workwear and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is subject to a sequence of performance measures and safety legislation, to ensure that the equipment provided to employees is durable, fit for purpose, and comfortable for staff.

However, it can be confusing for business owners to keep abreast of the relevant regulations which apply to different types of PPE. To make things simple, we’ve compiled a list of the key standards which apply to each item of kit in your firm’s catalogue of outdoor workwear.

Safety in each season: equipping your team with the right kit to outperform, outdoors

Working in outdoor environments, your team often face hazards which are not associated with indoor tasks. Activities outside tend to include operation of machinery which pose distinct risks. As a result, PPE and workwear for outdoor roles is often required to be more robust, and offer enhanced degrees of protection, for the worker. Individuals working in sectors such as grounds maintenance are required to deploy the right suite of PPE, including hi-viz jackets, safety boots, safety helmets, gloves and respiratory protection to undertake aspects of their day to day role effectively.

In addition, PPE which is ideal for outdoor working in the winter season is wholly inappropriate for hot summer days – meaning that business owners are required to furnish their team with a broader range of workwear than those with predominantly indoor working need to source. This can be expensive, so it’s critical to know that your preferred portfolio of kit for your team is delivering full compliance, before you invest in it.

Complying with relevant PPE legislation

In the UK, the legislation applied to PPE is detailed within the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations, 1992. They state that: “Every employer shall ensure that suitable personal protective equipment is provided to his employees who may be exposed to a risk to their health or safety while at work except where and to the extent that such risk has been adequately controlled by other means which are equally or more effective.” In the regulations, PPE is classified as all equipment, accessories and workwear which is intended to be worn and/or held by an individual in a work environment, which serves to protect them from risks to health and safety.

The best practice for deployment of PPE states that business owners must conduct risk assessments to ensure that PPE is used as a ‘last resort’, to protect the health and safety of employees. This means that any identified hazards need to be mitigated wherever possible, so that the use of PPE serves to provide protection only against unforeseeable risks which can’t be prevented through other means.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) provides comprehensive lists of the correct PPE which is to be used for specific outdoor activities.

PPE requirements categorised by body area

Depending upon the specific role or task being undertaken, the HSE recommends the following PPE for outdoor workers:

  • Head protection, to safeguard from falls and falling debris. When used at height, it must have a 4-point chinstrap
  • Ear protection
  • Eye and face protection
  • Hand protection
  • Foot protection
  • Leg and groin protection
  • Hi-vis clothing, such as the Rokwear range of jackets and vests.

PPE safety standards

PPE is required to be manufactured according to relevant legal standards. The Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002 require that it must be CE marked, to confirm that it has been rigorously tested, and conforms with the standards established by the European Union. All PPE should be stored carefully, and maintained correctly, with regular inspection before each use to identify signs of wear, tear or disrepair. Staff need to be trained in how to deploy each product in your PPE suite effectively, to maximise protection against potential hazards.

As an employer, it is your responsibility to supply your team with all required PPE, and purchase it yourself. You are also responsible for providing a range of sizes to accommodate your team’s individual needs, and ensure that each member of your workforce has access to well-fitting equipment which is comfortable.

You can review the full breakdown of safety standards for individual items of PPE, by visiting the HSE website. In the meantime, rest assured that all Rokwear products are fully compliant with all relevant standards, and always will – no matter how future regulations may change.

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