Monday, 2 April 2012

Breathing easier!

Assuming at some stage an employer provides RPE for his or her workers, getting them to wear it could prove to be a step too far. Whilst HSE is attempting to carry out its programme of ensuring that all workers are protected from the worst effects of dust in the workplace, a laudable aim which entails subjecting all workers wearing most types of RPE to a programme of Face Fit Testing, many in the construction industry just shake their heads as so far nobody has been able to come to terms with the shear logistics involved.
How to ensure that all construction workers are tested is the number one hurdle followed closely by the huge amount of repeat testing that will be needed which could be weekly for many employees. The logic of trying to keep up to speed with literally hundreds of workers either losing or gaining weight every week which may well result in major changes to the shape and size of their faces, is a little far-fetched. Many employers still believe that one test is all that is required for each worker, therefore HSE Inspectors have a major task on their hands not only by trying to achieve complete accord with the regulations on the first occasion, but after a great many employers have had to recall their tester for the second, third or fourth time, the patience of even the most willing health and safety compliant company will have run a little thin, and the process will pose a very steep mountain to be climbed.
The wearing of RPE is a legal necessity where the task to be carried out cannot be rendered dust free by any other means, and this generally applies to almost every operation carried out on a construction site but especially where power tools of whichever type are used since mechanical equipment generates more dust than any other operation.
It seems ridiculous that the wearing of RPE may be drawn into total disrepute by the need for many operators to be tested, and re-tested ad infinitum!

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