The Sentinel Guide

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Buying Guide for Eye Protection in the Workplace (PPE)

Buying Guide for Eye Protection in the Workplace (PPE)


Eye protection in the workplace is critical to safeguard employees against a range of hazards, from flying debris to chemical splashes. It's not just about avoiding injuries; it's also about maintaining long-term eye health. Whether in construction, laboratory work, manufacturing, or any setting where eye hazards exist, the right eye protection is a non-negotiable element of personal protective equipment (PPE).

The Role of Risk Assessment in Choosing Eye Protection

A thorough risk assessment is the foundation for choosing eye protection. It should:

  • Identify potential eye hazards: particles, chemicals, radiation, etc.
  • Assess the likelihood and potential severity of exposure to these hazards.
  • Determine the operations causing these risks and who might be affected.
  • Recommend the type of eye protection needed to mitigate the risks effectively.

The risk assessment must be periodically reviewed, especially when new hazards emerge or work processes change.

Overview of Workplace Eye Protection

Types of eye protection vary based on the hazards present:

  • Safety Glasses: For general protection against low-impact debris.
  • Goggles: Provide a secure fit and protection against dust, splashes, and impact.
  • Face Shields: Offer full face protection, often used in conjunction with safety glasses or goggles.
  • Specialized Eyewear: This includes welding helmets and laser safety glasses designed to protect against specific types of radiation.

Key Industry Standards (UK) Relating to Eye Protection

The following table lists the key UK standards for eye protection:

 Standard Number Title Description
EN 166:2001 Personal eye protection - Specifications A core standard covering basic requirements for all eye protection.
EN 167:2001 Personal eye protection - Optical test methods Details test methods for optical qualities of protectors.
EN 168:2001 Personal eye protection - Non-optical test methods Covers non-optical test methods like resistance to fogging and robustness.
EN 169:2002 Personal eye protection - Filters for welding and related techniques Specifies requirements for filters used in welding and similar operations.
EN 170:2002 Personal eye protection - Ultraviolet filters Transmittance requirements for UV filters.
EN 172:1995 Personal eye protection - Sunglare filters for industrial use Specifies requirements for sun glare filters.
EN 207:2017 Personal eye protection - Filters and eye-protectors against laser radiation (laser eye-protectors) Specifies requirements and testing for protectors against laser radiation.
EN 208:2009 Personal eye protection - Eye-protectors for adjustment work on lasers and laser systems (laser adjustment eye-protectors) Details protectors specifically for laser alignment tasks.

Choosing Appropriate Eye Protection for Employees

When selecting eye protection, consider:

  • The nature of the hazard: Choose protection based on the specific risks present.
  • Fit and comfort: Ensure that the protective equipment fits well and is comfortable for all-day wear.
  • Compatibility with other PPE: The eye protection must be compatible with other PPE (e.g., respirators, helmets).
  • Standards compliance: Always select products that comply with the relevant UK and European standards.
  • Lens material: Polycarbonate lenses are impact-resistant and a good choice for most applications.

Maintaining the Eye Protection Purchased for Employees
Maintenance is key to ensuring the longevity and effectiveness of eye protection:

  • Regular cleaning: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning to avoid scratching and maintain clarity.
  • Storage: Provide proper storage to protect the eyewear from damage and contamination when not in use.
  • Inspection: Regularly inspect for scratches, cracks, and loose fittings. Damaged eyewear must be replaced immediately.
  • Replacement: Replace eye protection at the first sign of damage or according to the manufacturer's recommended schedule.


Selecting and maintaining the right eye protection is essential for workplace safety. By conducting a detailed risk assessment, understanding the types of eye protection available, adhering to industry standards, and ensuring proper maintenance, employers can protect their employees from eye-related injuries and hazards.

    Buying Guide for Head Protection (PPE)

    Buying Guide for Head Protection in the Workplace (PPE)


    Head protection is a vital aspect of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the workplace, especially in environments where workers are at risk of being struck by falling objects, bumping into fixed objects, or where there is a risk of accidental head contact with electrical hazards. Helmets and hard hats are the main forms of head protection and are essential in many industries, including construction, manufacturing, and mining. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of selecting and maintaining head protection for workplace safety.

    The Role of Risk Assessment in Choosing Head Protection

    A proper risk assessment is the first step in choosing head protection. It should:

    • Identify potential head injury hazards, such as falling objects, fixed obstacles, or electrical conductive risks.
    • Evaluate the severity and probability of head injury risks.
    • Determine the nature of work and environment to select suitable head protection.

    Risk assessments are not one-time events; regular reviews are essential, especially when work conditions or processes change.

    Overview of Workplace Head Protection

    Workplace head protection can vary widely but generally falls into these categories:
    • Industrial Safety Helmets (Hard Hats): Designed to protect against falling objects and other overhead impacts.
    • Bump Caps: Intended for protection from scrapes and minor bumps, not suitable for falling or flying objects.
    • Specialized Head Protection: Includes helmets with face shields, earmuffs for noise protection, and helmets designed for electrical insulation.

    Key Industry Standards (UK) Relating to Head Protection
    Here’s a table summarizing the key UK standards for head protection:

     Standard Number Title


    EN 397:2012+A1:2012 Industrial safety helmets Specifies physical and performance requirements, methods of test, and marking requirements for industrial safety helmets.
    EN 812:2012 Industrial bump caps Specifies physical and performance requirements for bump caps designed to provide protection from injury caused by striking the head against hard, stationary objects.
    EN 50365:2002 Electrically insulating helmets for use on low voltage installations Applicable to electrically insulating helmets used for working live or close to live parts on installations not exceeding 1000V a.c. or 1500V d.c.
    EN 14052:2012 High performance industrial helmets Specifies requirements for extra-high-performance industrial helmets, offering impact protection from higher height drops.

    Choosing Appropriate Head Protection for Employees
    When selecting head protection:

    • Match the helmet to the hazard: Ensure the chosen head protection is designed to protect against specific risks identified in the risk assessment.
    • Consider comfort and fit: A helmet should be comfortable and adjustable to fit different head sizes.
    • Account for additional PPE: If workers need to use other PPE (like ear protection or visors), the helmet should be compatible with these items.
    • Look for adjustments: Features like adjustable straps and sweatbands can improve comfort and safety.
    • Check for standards compliance: Only buy helmets that meet the UK and European standards.

    Maintaining Head Protection for Employees

    To maintain head protection:

    • Regular inspection: Helmets should be inspected before each use for cracks, dents, and other damages.
    • Proper storage: Store helmets in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and chemicals to prevent degradation.
    • Clean regularly: Follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning. Helmets should be kept clean to extend their life.
    • Replace as needed: Replace helmets after any impact or according to the manufacturer's recommendation, usually every 2-5 years.


    Selecting the right head protection is critical to ensure the safety and well-being of employees in the workplace. By conducting a thorough risk assessment, understanding the relevant standards, and choosing the correct type of protection, employers can effectively minimize the risk of head injuries. Regular maintenance and care of head protection gear are equally important to provide ongoing safety.

    Buying guide for Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE)


    Respiratory hazards are a serious risk in many workplaces, ranging from construction sites to chemical plants. Inhaling harmful substances can lead to respiratory diseases, or in extreme cases, immediate asphyxiation, or death. Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) is therefore essential for safeguarding the health of employees when control measures have not eliminated risks. This guide outlines the process of selecting appropriate RPE, including understanding risk assessment, recognizing different types of RPE, adhering to industry standards, and matching filters to specific chemicals.

    The Role of Risk Assessment in Selecting Correct RPE

    Before selecting RPE, a comprehensive risk assessment must be conducted. This assessment should:

    • Identify respiratory hazards, including types of contaminants and their concentrations.
    • Consider the duration and frequency of exposure.
    • Evaluate the health status and vulnerabilities of employees.
    • Determine the level of protection required based on the above factors.

    This assessment forms the basis for selecting the RPE that provides adequate protection without being over-restrictive or cumbersome for the task at hand.

    Overview of Types of Respiratory Protection

    There are two main categories of RPE:

    1.Air-Purifying Respirators (APRs): These use filters to remove contaminants from the air. Types include:

    • Disposable dust masks.
    • Half-face masks covering the nose and mouth.
    • Full-face masks providing eye protection as well.
    • Powered Air-Purifying Respirators (PAPRs) with a motorized system to push air through the filter.

    2.Atmosphere-Supplying Respirators (ASRs): These provide clean air from an uncontaminated source. Types include:

    • Airline respirators with a hose connected to a stationary source of air.
    • Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA), which include their own air supply for use in environments where the air is not breathable.

    Table of Key Industry Standards Relating to RPE (UK Standards)


     Standard Number Title Description
    EN 149:2001+A1:2009 Filtering half masks to protect against particles Specifies requirements for particle-filtering half masks.
    EN 140:1999 Respiratory protection - Half masks and quarter masks Requirements for reusable half and quarter masks.
    EN 136:1998 Respiratory protection - Full face masks Classifies full face masks based on performance.
    EN 143:2000 Respiratory protection - Particle filters Requirements for particle filters used with RPE.
    EN 14387:2004+A1:2008 Respiratory protection - Gas filters and combined filters Specifies gas and combined filters for use with RPE.


    Choosing the Correct RPE for Your Employees

    When selecting RPE, consider the following:

    • Fit Testing: Ensure a proper seal for all users, especially for tight-fitting facepieces.
    • Comfort and Ergonomics: RPE should not inhibit the wearer’s ability to work comfortably.
    • Ease of Communication: Consider how the RPE affects communication.
    • Compatibility: Check that the RPE can be worn with other personal protective equipment.
    • Training: Provide training on the correct use and maintenance of RPE.

    Chart for Correct Filter Choice (UK Standards)

     Contaminant Type Filter Type Colour Code
    Particulates (dust, mist, fumes) P1, P2, P3 White
    Organic gases and vapours A Brown
    Inorganic gases and vapours B Grey
    Acid gases and vapours E Yellow
    Ammonia and derivatives K Green

    Note: The higher the number (e.g., P3), the greater the level of protection.

     List of Common Chemicals and Their Required Filter Types

     Chemical Filter Type
    Asbestos P3
    Benzene A
    Chlorine B,E
    Hydrogen sulfide B
    Ammonia K
    Lead dust P3
    Paint spray A2P3 (combined filter)

    This table is not exhaustive and each workplace must conduct its own risk assessment.


    Selecting the correct RPE is a critical process that relies on thorough risk assessment and understanding of the work environment. Always consult the latest UK standards and regulations, as they are subject to change. Proper training and maintenance are also crucial to ensure the ongoing effectiveness of RPE in protecting employees from respiratory hazards.

    Buying Guide for Protective Gloves (PPE)

    Guide to Buying Protective Gloves in the UK

    When purchasing protective gloves in the UK, it's essential to understand the regulations and standards that govern their design, manufacturing, and performance. This guide provides an overview of key regulations, standards, and categories, along with explanations for each.

    Protective gloves play a crucial role in safeguarding workers and ensuring their safety in various industries. In the United Kingdom, purchasing protective gloves involves compliance with specific regulations and adherence to relevant standards to ensure product quality and safety. This guide will provide an overview of the regulations and standards you should consider when buying protective gloves in the UK, along with explanations of each.

    Health and Safety at Work Act 1974:

    The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is the primary legislation governing health and safety in the UK workplace.
    It places a duty on employers to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of their employees and others affected by their work activities.
    When purchasing protective gloves, employers should consider the Act's requirements to provide suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) to employees.

    Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Regulations 2002:

    The PPE Regulations 2002 implement European Directive 89/686/EEC on personal protective equipment in the UK.
    These regulations set out the essential health and safety requirements for PPE, including protective gloves.
    When buying protective gloves, ensure they meet the PPE Regulations' requirements for design, construction, and testing.

    CE Marking:

    In the UK, protective gloves should bear the CE marking, which signifies compliance with relevant European Union directives.
    The CE mark indicates that the gloves meet essential health and safety requirements and have been tested accordingly.

    EN Standards:

    European standards for protective gloves are established under the EN (European Norm) system.
    Common EN standards related to protective gloves include:

    EN 388: Protective gloves against mechanical risks.
    EN 374: Protective gloves against chemicals and microorganisms.
    EN 407: Protective gloves against thermal risks (heat and fire).
    EN 511: Protective gloves against cold.

    These standards define testing methods and performance requirements for specific types of gloves. Ensure that gloves meet the relevant EN standards for your intended use.

    Risk Assessment:

    Conduct a risk assessment to identify the specific hazards and risks your workers face.
    Choose protective gloves that are suitable for the identified risks and provide the necessary level of protection.
    The risk assessment should align with the hierarchy of controls, with PPE (including gloves) as a last resort after other control measures have been considered.

    Supplier Compliance:

    When purchasing protective gloves, work with reputable suppliers who can provide certification and documentation confirming compliance with regulations and standards.
    Ensure that the gloves come with user instructions and information on their intended use and limitations.

    User Training:

    Proper training on the selection, use, and care of protective gloves is essential.
    Train employees on how to inspect, put on, remove, and dispose of gloves safely.
    Emphasize the importance of regular glove inspection and replacement when necessary.

    Record Keeping:

    Maintain records of glove purchases, inspections, and user training to demonstrate compliance with regulations.
    By following these guidelines and ensuring compliance with UK regulations and EN standards, you can make informed decisions when purchasing protective gloves to protect the health and safety of your workers in the United Kingdom. Always consult with relevant authorities or safety experts for specific industry and workplace requirements.

    Regulations and Standards for Protective Gloves

    1. Categories of Protective Gloves
    Protective gloves are categorized into three levels, based on their intended use and associated risks:

    Category I: These gloves are for minimal risks and include tasks such as cleaning or gardening.
    Category II: Gloves in this category provide protection against medium risks, such as handling chemicals.
    Category III: Gloves in this category are designed to protect against irreversible or mortal risks, such as working with corrosive chemicals or biological hazards.

    2. EN388: Protective Gloves Against Mechanical Risks
    EN388 is a standard that assesses gloves' resistance to mechanical risks, including abrasion, cut resistance, tear resistance, and puncture resistance. Gloves are rated using a four-digit code (e.g., 4543), with higher numbers indicating better performance.

    The first digit represents abrasion resistance.
    The second digit indicates cut resistance.
    The third digit denotes tear resistance.
    The fourth digit represents puncture resistance.

    3. EN420: General Requirements for Protective Gloves
    EN420 outlines the general requirements for protective gloves. It covers aspects like sizing, labeling, and information provided by the manufacturer. Gloves must meet these requirements to ensure user comfort and safety.

    4. EN374: Protective Gloves Against Chemicals and Micro-organisms
    EN374 evaluates gloves designed to protect against chemical and micro-organism hazards. It includes various tests to assess resistance to permeation, degradation, and penetration by hazardous substances.

    5. EN407: Protective Gloves Against Thermal Risks
    EN407 evaluates gloves intended to protect against thermal hazards, such as heat and fire. It measures resistance to flammability, contact heat, convective heat, radiant heat, small splashes of molten metal, and large splashes of molten metal.

    6. EN511: Protective Gloves Against Cold
    EN511 is applicable for gloves designed to protect against cold conditions. It assesses resistance to convective cold, contact cold, and water penetration.

    7. EN421: Protective Gloves Against Ionizing Radiation and Radioactive Contamination
    EN421 specifies requirements for gloves intended for protection against ionizing radiation and radioactive contamination.

    8. EN1149-1: Protective Gloves Against Electrostatic Risks
    EN1149-1 outlines the requirements for gloves designed to protect against electrostatic hazards. It measures electrical resistance and charge decay properties.

    9. Directive 2002/72/EC: Materials and Articles Intended to Come into Contact with Food
    This directive regulates gloves intended for use with food. It sets out requirements for materials and substances used in gloves to ensure they are safe for contact with food.

    10. AQL (Acceptable Quality Level)
    AQL is a critical concept in glove manufacturing. It represents the maximum number of defective items acceptable in a batch of gloves. A lower AQL indicates higher quality. For example, an AQL of 0.65 means that 65 out of 1000 gloves can be defective.

    Why AQL is Important
    AQL is crucial because it ensures that the gloves you purchase meet quality standards. Low AQL values indicate a commitment to quality control, which is essential when selecting gloves to protect against various risks.

    Why We Are Better Able to Supply These Gloves

    Sentinel Laboratories Ltd is better positioned to supply protective gloves in the UK for several reasons:

    Expertise: We have a team of experts knowledgeable about UK regulations and international standards for protective gloves, ensuring that our products comply with all relevant requirements.

    Product Range: We offer a wide range of gloves that cover various categories and standards, ensuring that you can find the right gloves for your specific needs.

    Quality Assurance: Our commitment to supplying the highest Quality PPE means you can trust the quality of our gloves to protect against the risks you face. As an Independent Supplier we will offer you the gloves most suited to your task.

    Customer Support: We provide excellent customer support to assist you in selecting the most suitable gloves and answering any questions you may have.

    Custom Solutions: We can work with you to develop custom glove solutions tailored to your unique requirements, ensuring maximum safety and comfort.

    When it comes to purchasing protective gloves in the UK, Sentinel Laboratories Ltd stands out as a reliable and knowledgeable supplier committed to safety and quality.

    Please note that regulations and standards may change over time, so it's essential to stay updated and consult with experts in the field for the latest information and recommendations.