Avoidance of hazards arising from combinations of personal protective equipment

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Many workplaces require different types of personal protective equipment (PPE) to be used simultaneously, since protection is required at the same time against exposure to multiple hazards and/or for several parts of the body. The items of PPE used must therefore be mutually compatible and must not impair each other in their protective function.

In some cases, the deterioration in the protection resulting from mutual influence between items of PPE is clearly evident. An example is the combination of goggles and a respiratory mask, or goggles and ear muffs. Accordingly, the employer will assess the compatibility of the PPE and the potential hazard presented by the simultaneous use of more than one item. A compilation of the observations made on the subject to date may be useful during risk assessment. The issue is more difficult in the case of complex mutual influences, such as the combination of PPE against falls from a height with a respiratory protective device. In such cases, the employer must be able to rely on the expertise of the manufacturers and of the testing and certifying bodies.

IFA offers an interactive table on the internet which shows for combinations of PPE the levels of protection of which may be reduced as a result of mutual influence, comments on the specific hazards, and measures to avoid/reduce those hazards.

More information: http://www.dguv.de/webcode/e549573

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