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9. Personal protection

9.1 Personal protective equipment

9.1.1. The use of personal protective equipment should not be regarded as an alternative to engineering or other suitable control measures but should be provided and maintained where such control measures cannot ensure protection. Effective action should continue to be taken by the employer to ensure that control measures are developed and applied in order to eliminate or minimise the risk to a level at which personal protection may not be required. Personal protective equipment includes respiratory protective equipment, protective clothing and footwear, equipment to protect the face, eyes and hands, and equipment to prevent an accumulation of static electricity, e.g. anti-static footwear.

9.1.2. Personal protective equipment should afford adequate protection against the risk from those hazardous chemicals to which the wearer is exposed, throughout the period during which such equipment is necessary, having regard to the type of work.

9.1.3. Items of personal protective equipment provided should comply with national law or be in accordance with criteria approved or recognised by the competent authority and based on national or international standards.

9.1.4. The equipment provided should be suitable for its purpose and there should be a sufficient supply readily available in the workplace for workers who require it.

9.1.5. Workers required to wear protective equipment should be fully instructed in its use.

9.1.6. When workers have been informed accordingly, they should use the equipment provided throughout the time they are exposed to the risk that requires its use for protection.

9.1.7. Employers should provide supervision to ensure that the equipment is properly used.

9.1.8. All personal protective equipment that is necessary for safety in the use of chemicals should be provided and maintained by the employer without cost to the worker.

9.2 Respiratory protective equipment

9.2.1. Respiratory protective equipment should be selected in compliance with national laws or national or international standards, approved or recognised by the competent authority, concerning the suitability of the design of such equipment for the type of hazardous chemical and the degree of exposure involved.

9.2.2. Respiratory protective equipment should also be selected taking into account the work involved and should be matched to the wearer.

9.2.3. Respiratory protective equipment should be used only as a supplementary, temporary, emergency or exceptional measure and not as an alterative to technical control.

9.3 Protective clothing

9.3.1. The selection of protective clothing should take into account:

(a) the ability of the material from which it is made to resist penetration by the hazardous chemicals concerned;

(b) the adequacy of the design and the fit of the clothing, and whether it is suitable for the intended use;

(c) the environment in which it will be worn;

(d) in the case of dust, the dust release characteristics of the clothing material;

(e) in the case of flammable substances, its characteristics in the event of a fire;

(f) the need to prevent fire or explosions due to static electricity.

9.3.2. Protective clothing should not be used as an alternative to technical control.

9.4 Cleaning and maintenance of personal protective equipment and clothing

9.4.1. All protective equipment necessarily provided should be maintained in good condition and replaced, at no cost to the worker, when no longer suitable for its purpose.

9.4.2. The protective equipment should not be used longer than the time indicated by the producer.

9.4.3. Workers should make proper use of the equipment provided, and maintain it in good condition, as far as this is within their control.

9.4.4. Respiratory protective equipment, other than one- shift disposable respirators, should be cleaned, disinfected and thoroughly examined either (depending on which is first) each time it is reissued or after a period specified by national laws or by national or international standards approved or recognised by the competent authority, or specified as part of the employer s control measures.

9.4.5. A record should be kept of the cleaning, disinfection and examination of such respiratory protective equipment. and of its condition and any defects, in accordance with national law and practice.

9.4.6. The record should be authenticated by the person carrying out the test, who should be properly trained for the purpose.

9.4.7. Employers should provide for the laundering, cleaning, disinfection and examination of protective clothing or equipment which have been used and may be contaminated by chemicals hazardous to health.

9.4.8. It should be prohibited for protective equipment which may be contaminated by chemicals hazardous to health to be laundered, cleaned or kept at workers' homes.

9.4.9. When a contract laundry is employed, care should be taken to ensure that the contractor fully understands the precautions necessary for handling contaminated clothing.

9.5 Welfare facilities and personal hygiene

9.5.1. Adequate washing facilities should be provided to enable workers to meet a standard of personal hygiene consistent with the adequate control of exposure and the need to avoid the spread of chemicals hazardous to health.

9.5.2. The washing facilities should be conveniently accessible but situated so that they do not themselves become contaminated from the workplace.

9.5.3. The type of washing facilities should be related to the nature and degree of exposure.

9.5.4. Clothing accommodation should be provided when protective clothing is used or when there is a risk of the contamination of outdoor clothing by hazardous chemicals.

9.5.5. Changing facilities should be so situated and designed as to prevent the spread of contamination from protective clothing to personal clothing and from one facility to another.

9.5.6. To reduce the risk of ingesting chemicals hazardous to health, workers should not eat, chew, drink or smoke in a work area which is contaminated by such chemicals.

9.5.7. Employers should prohibit eating, chewing, drinking or smoking in work areas in which adequate control of exposure can only be achieved by employees wearing personal protective equipment to prevent exposure to chemicals hazardous to health, and in any other area where such chemicals are likely to be present.

9.5.8. Where it is necessary to prohibit eating or drinking, suitable facilities should be set aside for these activities to be carried out in an uncontaminated area, which should be conveniently accessible to the work area.

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Updated by AS. Approved by EC. Last update: 30.11.2004.