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HSE issues respiratory protection guidelines

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued guidelines regarding the use of respiratory protection.

By law, employers are obliged to prevent or control the exposure of employees and others to hazardous substances in the workplace.

The first priority should be to try to eliminate hazards where possible by making use of exhaust ventilation, for example.

If the hazard cannot be eliminated, respiratory protective equipment (RPE) should then be worn. 

RPE used at work must be 'CE' marked to meet the minimum legal requirements, but this does not automatically mean it is appropriate for the task at hand.

It is up to the employer to select the RPE that is suitable for the task, substance, work environment and wearer.

Once issued, it is also the responsibility of the employer to make sure that employees are trained to use it correctly and wear it, and that it is maintained in accordance with the individual product's guidelines.

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