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The importance of PPE

For the modern electrician it is not enough to have the appropriate level of knowledge and product technologies, it is also important to have the right work gear.

For the modern electrician it is not enough to have the appropriate level of knowledge and product technologies, it is also important to have the right work gear

With this in mind, the electrical market offers a raft of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) all designed to combine functionality and style while in turn creating a more professional demeanour for any business.

Contractors working in the electrical industry often face hazardous working situations, even though they may not necessarily realise it.

For this reason, the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations are in place to ensure all equipment worn or held by a person at work protects them against one or more risks.

In addition, the Health and Safety Executive outlines further requirements, stating that personal protective equipment should be supplied and used at work wherever there are risks to health and safety that cannot be controlled in other ways.

As electrical work is becoming increasingly advanced and technology more and more complex, the need for equipment that will keep contractors safe on the job has never been greater. After all, a business has a duty of care to protect its staff and those who come into contact with the company and its activities.

In response to growing customer demand, electrical wholesalers such as Newey & Eyre have taken the decision to develop a range of protective equipment, helping contractors remain safe while retaining a professional appearance when on site.

The workplace can be rife with health hazards; from loose wiring, electrical shocks and falling equipment, to extreme weather conditions and dust.

These situations can present even more of a health and safety risk when a contractor’s clothing is worn out or in the case of loose wires, when an installer becomes entangled.

There is a vast choice of workwear on the market, encompassing everything from hard hats to high visibility jackets, protective gloves to goggles.

As such, with so much to choose from, selecting the correct and essential equipment can seem a daunting task. As with most specification procedures, a good starting point is to look at the basics.

There are several areas to consider for PPE, including protection of the eyes, head and body. When it comes to eye safety, an extensive range of goggles, glasses and face shields are available. For example, Bolle produces a range of safety spectacles weighing as little as 21g, making them easy and hassle-free to wear, while offering full protection.

A robust hard-hat is a ‘must-have’ accessory for any contractor while working on site and a vital part of protecting the head from falling debris and equipment. A good option is Newlec’s safety helmet which is also lightweight and performs well above the EN397 standard required.
Furthermore, knee-pads can be a simple and easy addition to any electrician’s kit, providing support and protection for those tasked with installing electrical work at low levels; the strain of which can often lead to joint pain over time. Hard-wearing rubber knee-pads, such as those in the Newlec range, have been designed to include cushioning to help absorb impacts and can be easily worn inside workwear.

To combat the unpredictable British weather, waterproofs are essential when working outdoors. The Engel range includes a hardwearing and water-repellent fleece jacket as well as waterproof trousers.

This means that even in the face of adverse weather conditions, work doesn’t necessarily need to grind to a halt as the contractors can stay warm and dry.

Aside from the health and safety benefits, PPE can potentially be a big advantage to a contractor’s business. In this time of keen competition, smart presentation is even more important as customers have come to expect it.

By choosing the right personal protective equipment, it is possible to present a more professional appearance to clients, helping to secure work. Investing in PPE is not only an investment in safety but also into the business as a whole.

Protecting personnel is not something a business can afford to be complacent about; whether it’s necessary to replace tired and worn out PPE or invest in new, more modern apparel that is needed to meet the changing role of the contractor.

While years ago PPE may have been bulky to wear, today’s offerings are functional and stylish due to the investment manufacturers have made in designing and producing equipment that uses the latest materials available, helping the contractor to stay safe and look the part.

Mark McCall is Product Manager at Newey & Eyre

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