What does P.P.E. stand for?

P.P.E. stands for Personal Protective Equipment.

It is any device or appliance designed to be worn or held by an individual for protection against one or more health & safety hazards. 


Irish Legislation & European Regulations

  • Safety, Health & Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007, in particular, Part 2, Chapter 3 covers Use of Personal Protective Equipment at work.
  • Under European Regulations, P.P.E. must not be sold or brought into service unless it complies with basic H&S requirements.
  • Conformity with these Regulations can be easily determined - If P.P.E. has the C.E. Marking. 

When must P.P.E. be used?

  • Personal Protective Equipment should only be used as a last resort.
  • Employees H&S must first be protected by controls to eliminate workplace risks at source, through organizational means (e.g. Using the least hazardous chemical for the task)
  • Provision of a collective control measure (e.g. Use of Scaffolding instead of Harnesses)
  • If these measures are not sufficient, only then should P.P.E. be used to protect against the hazards that are unavoidable.

Some Limitations of P.P.E.

  • P.E. only protects the wearer
  • May be ineffective if not working properly or fitted correctly
  • The use of P.P.E. restricts the wearer in some way (One of the many reasons why people remove it or simply choose not to wear it in the first place)

Employer’s Responsibilities

  • Assessment of the hazards to identify the correct type of P.P.E. required
  • Ensure that P.P.E. is appropriate to the level of risk
  • Choose user-friendly P.P.E. - Remember, one size does not fit all
  • Consider employees who may have certain medical conditions – For example; Certain types of Respiratory Protective Equipment (R.P.E.) may not be suitable for employees with asthma.
  • Ensure any P.P.E. you issue to employees has the “CE” Marking on it.
  • To provide all necessary P.P.E. – This is provided Free of Charge to Employees
  • Provide all necessary training in the use or wearing of P.P.E., if required (e.g. Safety Harness)

Employee’s Responsibilities

  • Use P.P.E. properly at all times
  • Report any defects of the P.P.E. immediately
  • Clean & Maintain the P.P.E. once issued
  • Attend training provided by the Employer on the safe use of the P.P.E.
  • Inform their employer of any medical conditions that may affect the use of the P.P.E.
  • Legal obligation to wear the P.P.E


For more information on P.P.E., check the Health & Safety Authority website.