11.1.5 Personal Protective Equipment

It is not always reasonably practicable or economically feasible to implement controls other than PPE

Designed to protect you as the user, individual and not collective control. 

PPE can be an effective control measure when used correctly

It is not always practicable or cost effective to remove the need for PPE


Check suitability for use
Dust mask does not control gases/vapours
Compatibility with other PPE
Interference with safety glasses/hearing protection
Chemical resistance
Is the material compatible with substances in use?
Design vs. Use
Adequately designed for intended use and environment


RPE common for control of airborne exposure
Many different types exist
Loose and tight fitting
Disposable, reusable
Half mask, full face and hoods
Tight fitting RPE compromised by
Facial hair and heavy stubble
Facial size – male/female, race


Two commonly used protection factors exist:
NPF – Nominal Protection Factor
The protection afforded under perfect, laboratory conditions
APF – Assigned Protection Factor
The typical protection factor under practical usage


RPE Fit Testing:

Legal requirement in some countries
Assesses fit of RPE to user, NOT user to RPE
Two main methods
Qualitative (bitter or sweet taste)
Quantitative (particle count)


Problems with PPE

Individual protection only, not collective
Must be used properly – only works if used correctly
Putting on, use and removal – may require extra training
Must be cared for and maintained to be effective
Correct storage is essential to keep it clean and free from damage
May restrict movement or visibility
May conflict with the correct use of other PPE

For more in depth training on PPE and RPE you can also try the F3L PPE and RPE eLearning module (Link here).