Personal Protective Equipment.

cleaners-london-canary-wharfWhat is PPE?

Imagen that you book a maid in your East London home. Next things are that she turns at your doorstep, bringing with her all necessary detergents, but also and her personal protective equipment. So, basically PPE is defined as “all” equipment including (clothing affording against the weather) which is intended to be worn or held by a person at work and which protects him against one or multiply risks to health and safety, e.g. safety helmets, face masks, high visibility clothing, safety footwear and safety harnesses.

What is the health and safety regulations?

The main objective requires that employers make a suitable and enough assessment of the risks to health and safety of employees at work. If PPE is necessary to protect against risk exposure, employers have a duty to provide items free of charge for employees.

Important requirement of the PPE at Work Regulations 1992 is that the PPE is be supplied and used at work wherever there are risks to health and safety that cannot be adequately controlled in other ways. The regulations also require that PPE:

  • Is professionally assessed before use, to ensure it is appropriate.

  • Is maintained and stored properly.

  • Is provided with instructions on to use it safely.

  • Is used correctly by employees.

As per the last bullet point, employees have a duty to wear and use PPE when provided and to look after it.


Selection, use, limitations and maintenance of PPE.

Whether or not PPE is required for cleaners’ tasks will be determined by the risk assessment. Every cleaning company risk and COSHH assessments can be found in hardcopy folders on each communal area site. The following table shoes a wide range of PPE, the type of protection offered and common cleaning areas/ tasks for which it should be used:

PPE Offers protection for Protection against hazard Task/ Location example
Protective gloves – rubber Hands Chemicals Disinfecting surfaces.
Protective gloves – heavy duty Hands Cuts/punctures/skin infection/disease/ abrasion/impact Moving waste
Safety footwear – steel toe cap Feet Falling objects/ heavy equipment Using a ride-on scrubber dryer/ heavy machinery
Safety footwear – good sole grip Body Slips All cleaning tasks
Protective eyewear – Goggles/ spectacles Eyes Chemicals splash/ vapours/ dust Jet pressure washing/ patio cleaning
Respiratory protection – face mask Breathing Chemical/ vapour/ dust Graffiti removal
Ear defenders – Muffs/ plugs Hearing Exposure to excessive noise Using noisy equipment.
Cold weather clothing Body Extreme/ adverse temperatures External working during winter period.
Highly visibility clothing’s Body Interface with vehicular traffic Car park/ service yard cleaning
Protective headwear Head Head bumping/ falling objects Working in confined space/ low ceilings
Safety harness Body Fall from height Window cleaning from height.
Safety lanyards Body Fall from height Window cleaning from height.
Protective body overalls Body Chemicals/ contamination/ bio-hazard Cleaning pigeon droppings balconies

CONCLUSIONS: PPE is not all the same.

Different activities like end tenancy cleaning, office cleaning etc. require different types of PPE. The common misconception is that one type of PPE such as gloves for example protects against all types of substances and risks. How you differentiate from what item protects against what risk is by something called British Standard European Norm or for short BS EN standards. Therefor is vital to read and understand the risks assessments and what type of PPE the task requires you to wear. The way to do this is refer to the BS EN numbers on each RAMS written for professional cleaners.