Brammer urges manufacturers to revisit PPE for value, performance and compliance

Brammer, the UK’s leading distributor of industrial maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) products and services, has urged UK manufacturing companies to continually review the personal protective equipment (PPE) they use to ensure they are getting the best value and protection – and meeting legal requirements. Brammer believes that some companies may be continuing to specify the same products year after year, even when continual technological advances mean there may be a better-performing product available at lower cost. Meanwhile, the legal requirements can change in certain applications, meaning better protection or different types of product may be needed, while PPE requirements can also alter when the components of tasks – and therefore the associated risks – change. One example here could be a requirement for a robust headtop incorporating a helmet, instead of a lightweight hood, if a worker is moved to a task requiring head protection.

Ian Lofthouse of Brammer commented: “PPE is an area where there is very strong brand loyalty in many companies. It’s very easy when a box of a disposable PPE item is nearly empty to simply pick up the phone and order the same thing on the basis that the product has always performed well in the past and users are content to wear it.

“However, health and safety is an area where developments in technology occur constantly. There may be several options available for the same task which offer the same or better protection, while also lasting longer, being more cost-effective and possibly even more comfortable – a key aspect in compliance.

“Meanwhile, the legal requirements for protection for individual job functions can change, meaning the supplier should always question the application for which the PPE product is being ordered. If this does not happen, the purchaser could, by continuing to use the same product, be unwittingly subjecting employees to, for example, illegal levels of exposure to noise or to a particular contaminant – levels which may previously have been deemed acceptable. This can lay the company open to significant ramifications in the event of an unannounced inspection by the Health & Safety Executive.”

Ian Lofthouse continued: To ensure both best value and compliance it is vital that an independent supplier, able to provide unbiased advice on equipment from all the major manufacturers, is consulted.

“Such a supplier will have dedicated health and safety experts who understand the latest legislative requirements and are able to offer a range of solutions which meet the key area of compliance, while also addressing issues such as longevity, comfort, compatibility and affordability.”

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