RPE at work - a practical guide

RPE at work - a practical guide

How do you know when your working environment meets the criteria for requiring respiratory protective equipment?  and what else do you need to know about providing my empoloyees with RPE to keep compliant with the law and make sure the equipment is always as effective as it says 'on the tin'?  There's quite a lot to be minful of when it comes to RPE... look no further.

Here is HSG53, a practical guide set out by The HSE (Health and Safety Executive).

What Does HSG53 Cover?

This guide explains when you should use RPE. You follow a simple step-by-step approach to help you to decide the adequate level of protection for a given hazardous substance. HSG53 also advises how to select RPE that is suitable for the particular wearer, task and work environment. It also contains advice on how to make sure that the selected RPE keeps working effectively.

Who Is The Guidance For?

HSG53 will help those who have responsibility for the use of RPE at work. Regardless of whether you are self-employed or an employer, this guidance is for you. It supports the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) to the Regulations that apply. It is also suitable for anyone responsible for managing staff health and safety. This includes safety representatives, health and safety specialists, manufacturers and suppliers of RPE.

How To Use The Guidance

As an employer you have a legal responsibility to control substances hazardous to health in your workplace. Therefore, you are responsible to prevent and adequately control your employees’ exposure to those substances. These legal obligations fall under the regulations below:

  • The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974
  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
  • COSHH Regulations 2002
  • Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012
  • Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002
  • Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999
  • Confined Spaces Regulations 1997

Please note: These Regulations are supported by Approved Codes of Practice. ACOPs give practical guidance on compliance and have a special status in law.

For RPE use that is not covered by any of the above Regulations, employers and employees have duties under the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992.

COSHH Risk Assessment

The HSG53 guide assumes you are considering the use of RPE following a COSHH risk assessment (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002). The information gathered in your COSHH risk assessment relating to risk and hazard is required to select the correct RPE.

RPE Training

For your RPE programme at work to be effective, RPE training is essential. Therefore, as stated in the HSG53 document, anybody involved in the selection, use or maintenance of respiratory protection requires training. If you require help we can visit your workplace and deliver a course bespoke to your site needs. Our training course is aimed at workers and management involved in the selection, use and maintenance of respiratory protective equipment (RPE). This course is conducted in accordance with the requirements of HSG53 by an experienced fit2fit accredited tester/instructor.

HSG53 Guidance

To download your own copy of the guidance see below:

Interested in finding out more about our RPE Training or Servicing offering? 

Drop us a line and we'll be glad to help: 

HSG53 RPE Training Slater Safety