PPE Project & Matrix
I work for a local authority and am about to embark on a project related to PPE. The main elements being inputting into our OHSMS every piece of PPE relevant to each role, as well as entering expiry / replacement dates so that in the future managers will get automatic notifications that a staff members piece of PPE needs replacing or inspecting.
I was wondering if anyone had done anything similar recently and had any words of wisdom?
Also, I have been advised to look at some PPE matrix's but haven't found any I like that are easy to understand.
Thanks for any help in advance.
I looked at this some time ago and decided the only benefit is keeping someone employed.
The value in the exercise was far outstripped by the cost associated with setting it up and updating. Just a few thoughts
- PPE goes with a hazardous task, not a role
- broadly speaking you should have no expiry dates. PPE needs to be fit for purpose. Which is usually decided by use not some dates (we replace safety boots each year - which is a poor financial decision as many boots still remain fit for purpose. We do it simply as a "feel good" exercise), other things like respirators, overalls, glasses, hearing protection all get replaced as required - when they are used / damaged to the point they are no longer fit for purpose.
- PPE should be inspected at the end of each shift by the last user- thus a reasonable time is given to allow for replacement.
- Employees have health and safety duties (as do managers). Its about time something basic like checking PPE is put on their shoulders.
I don't use a matrix. I just have a risk, within a specific work area (because the same risk may require a different solution in a different work area) and PPE is applied to that risk in that area. I am looking for a bit more precision than that found on a matrix. And a matrix only adds another bit of paper to a process.
We have used an existing asset management system to manage items of PPE that either have a shelf life (e.g. Hard hats, Harness), or require regular checks (Climbing equipment, Lanyards etc). Early days yet but we're hopeful that this will help our regulatory requirements for PPE in the same way it would for maintaining items of plant, although the main difference is that plant (hopefully) remains in the same location as you placed it! We have introduced unique identifiers for each item so that we know which ones have been captured.
A previous place of work went to the trouble of carrying out PPE assessments on activities, and providing the results in a simple yet effective way, which was as basic as taking a photo of an individual who was wearing all the right PPE and describing what each item was and duration of use (break through times for chemical resistant gloves, maximum use times for tight fitting masks). As has been mentioned, this can be quite time consuming but the visual nature of the information to the end user can make it all worthwhile.
Good Luck, and keep us posted on how it goes.
If you could give me your email address I can send you some example of PPE matrixes I have used in the past. The important piece is that the PPE has been trialled by the employees as part of being 'fit for purpose' and that is it replaced on a 'wear and tear' basis.
My email address is:
If PPE issued by Employer then I recon it’s the users responsibility to inspect and maintain it, including checking that it’s the correct/and fit for purpose PPE for the Job (yes Matrix may help but could be limiting a workers ability to make their own judgment). I think the problem comes when the user is inexperienced, has little or no training in the correct/Safe use, maintenance and knowledge to identify if the PPE over time and use remains safe to continue to be used. I say PPE users need to take more responsibility.
I have a glove matrix that was developed by a very large construction company in Europe that recommends appropriate gloves for over 30 sub trades. This has proven to be very successful as the company had workers changing jobs regularly so it became a template for what product should be used. Has been tried and test across a number of large projects including London Olympic Village. I'm happy to share this with you if you want to contact me. My email address is
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