It's not exactly glamorous, but wearing the right safety gear is pretty important when it comes to protecting employees from potentially harmful working conditions.

So how do you choose?

First off, you need to make sure you've covered all other safety measures before you think about Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Head protection is essential when there may be falling debris but it's not going to be much use if the tools or machinery being used are unsafe.

What else do you need to think about?

It's important to consider what protective wear you actually need before you start. To do this, you need to know what the risks are, how long employees will be exposed and if different people will be exposed to different risks.

Once you've assessed the potential hazards, you will have an idea what PPE you need such as gloves, footwear, masks and protective clothing.

How do you use it?

Once you know what equipment is needed to protect from the risks, it must be worn as intended. PPE is not optional!

It's also important to know who will be wearing what equipment and make sure it fits properly and that the wearer is trained to use it and knows what it's for.

For more information, see the HSE guidelines on using PPE.