Breathe Freely Controlling exposures to prevent occupational lung disease in industry
Breathe Freely UK

RPE Guidance

Respiratory protective equipment (RPE) may be needed to protect workers from exposure to harmful substances. However, it should only be used after all other reasonably practicable measures to prevent or control exposure have been considered. In the hierarchy of control under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) regulations, RPE is the last line of protection. RPE can only protect the wearer, and if it is inadequate, unsuitable, used incorrectly, or poorly maintained, it is unlikely to provide the required protection.

Below are 5 pdf downloads that cover off the main areas of RPE Guidance. Simply click on the image to download a specific information sheet or alternatively, to download all 5 guidance sheets in a compact zip format CLICK HERE.

1. Selection and procurement

You need to select the right type of RPE for the risk. Choose a type that has a sufficient level of performance to reduce exposure to an acceptable level.

2. Training

Those who will have to use the RPE, their supervisors, and any other staff directly involved should receive information, instruction, and training on RPE.

3. Management programme

Including supervision and enforcement

4. Maintenance, exmaination and testing

RPE should be regularly checked, cleaned, and maintained by properly training personnel in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. All RPE – whether brand new, disposable, or well-maintained reusable and should be checked for any signs of damage or wear prior to use.

Propery storage of reusable RPE is essential.

5. Fit testing

As our faces come in all shapes and sizes, each wearer needs to be supplied with a face mask which fits them properly. Fit testing is a method that demonstrates how well a face mask fits an individual wearer’s face.