Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Inspections

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Inspections

27th April 2016

Last week we brought you some exciting news about how 300 of our Ascent™ fall protection posts are being used on a project right at the heart of Westminster in London.  We specialise in the manufacture of structural anchor posts to be used with cable based fall protection systems that confirm to EN795 Class C, rail based fall protection systems to EN795 Class D and abseil access points to BS 7985:2002.  All of our fall protection posts (as structural anchor points are commonly known) are manufactured in accordance with BS EN ISO 3834-2:2005 and BS EN 1090-2:2008 and are CE Marked, making them fully compliant with the stringent health and safety regulations we enjoy here in the UK.

Our fall protection posts are often installed in places where they will be used with personal protective equipment (PPE) or rescue equipment.  PPE  that’s typically used with a fall protection system includes a full body harness, a shock absorbing lanyard, an attachment device (such as a carabiner or a system specific connector like the Latchway transfastener), a helmet designed to be  used when working at height and any other system specific equipment . 

It’s vital that the correct specification, fitting and inspection of personal protective equipment is carried out in order to avoid a weak link within the system.  In order to comply with UK and EU legislation, any personal protective equipment that’s going to be used with a fall protection system will have to be inspected regularly.  The Work at Height Safety Association (WAHSA) technical guidance note 3 sets out recommendations according to the PPE regulations and advises that employers establish an inspection regime that should be drawn up by a competent person.  The inspection regime should include:

  • The frequency and type of inspection
  • The equipment to be inspected (include their unique identification)
  • Designated competent persons to carry out the inspections
  • The action that should be taken on finding defective products
  • A system of recording the inspections
  • Training of users

A method of monitoring the inspection process to ensure that inspections are carried out correctly.

When it comes to frequency of inspections, the inspection regime should really be site specific and take into account the frequency of use and the type of PPE that is used.  The inspection process should include:

  • Pre-use checks – these are essential and should be carried out before a product is used each and every time.
  • Detailed inspection – this should be a formal, comprehensive inspection that’s carried out at regular intervals set out in the employer’s inspection regime.  A detailed inspection should always be carried out before first use of any equipment and system and then at least every six months thereafter and after an incident which may have jeopardised the system and equipment.
  • Interim inspections – this is a comprehensive inspection that may be needed to supplement pre-use checks and detailed inspections.  An interim inspection is required where an employer’s risk assessment has identified a risk that could result in deterioration of the equipment that may affect the safety of the equipment before the next detailed inspection is due to be carried out.