• Prior to starting work. A thorough risk assessment should be employed. By assessing risk to the operator and those in the immediate vicinity suitable PPE can be determined.
• Helmets and bump caps. Check date of manufacture and CE mark of helmet (EN 397:2012) or bump cap (EN812:2012). Hard hats should not be used after 3 years from date of manufacture. Check suitability of helmet or bump cap in respect of size and use in temperatures of extreme heat or cold.
• Eye and face protection. Always use full face visor to EN 166:2001 (B) that has a mechanical strength to protect from objects with a speed of up to 120 M/S. Welders masks should conform to EN 175:1997 (B). Check suitability of visor to extremes of temperature and ability to protect operator from molten metals. Persons working in the area of an operator may wish to consider the use of full face visor and those that may be visitors or working within 10 to 30 metres of the working area safety glasses to EN 166:2001 (F).
• Hearing protection. The safe working limit is 80 decibel with the requirement for hearing protection to be worn when the daily exposure exceeds 87 decibel. Consideration should be given to the type of hearing protection as these machines, when used, often exceed 87 decibel.
• Respiratory protection. Careful consideration should be given to the type of filter protection required as the cutting or grinding process may produce fine dust particles, liquid particles, vapour or gas. The protection should be fit tested to avoid contamination and have a CE marking.
• Hand and arm protection. When using these machines the risks from vibration and sparks causing injury can be alleviated by using gloves or leather gauntlets. Great care should be taken to ensure the protection does not inhibit safe control of the machine.
• Suitable clothing should be worn at all times. For long periods of cutting or grinding leather overalls and hood may be used to give protection to the head, neck, shoulders and torso. However regardless of the design all clothing should be fire retardant.
• Foot protection. Especially when cutting, the workpiece may move and fall from its safe position and could cause injury. It is vital that foot protection is used to give protection from falling or moving objects. Various designs are available but should conform to EN ISO 20347:2004 and a 200J toe cap.
The above offers only limited guidance to the checks required to determine the type of PPE to be used. More detailed guidance is available from the Health and Safety Executive website