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Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Employers should support their workers in using face coverings safely if they choose to wear one.This means telling workers: 

PPE protects the user against health or safety risks at work.It can include items such as safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear and safety harnesses.It includes respiratory protective equipment, such as face masks. 

Where PPE is already used by workers to protect against nonCOVID-19 risks, they should continue to use it.

When managing the risk of COVID-19, additional PPE beyond what is usually worn is not beneficial as COVID-19 is a different type of risk to the risks normally faced in a workplace.  It needs to be managed through social distancing, hygiene and fixed teams or partnering, not through the use of PPE.

The exception is clinical settings, such as an on-site medical centre or a small handful of other roles for which Public Health England advises use of PPE, such as for first responders.  Guidance is available for those in groups at:

PPE should not be used to protect against COVID-19 outside clinical settings or when responding to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.

Risk assessments should reflect the fact that the role of PPE in providing additional protection against COVID-19 is extremely limited.However, if your risk assessment does show that PPE is required, then you should provide this PPE free of charge to those workers who need it. 

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