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Personal Protection

Personal Protective Equipment

Personal Protective Equipment, a definition often represented by the acronym PPE, refers to  any item of equipment destined to be worn and kept by a worker in order to protect him or herself against one or more risks capable of threatening his or her health or safety at work, as well as any  accessory destined for this purpose (art. 74, comma 1 of Legislative Decree 9 April 2008, n.81). PPE is divided into three categories, according to the type of risk:

- Category I – low risk – self certified by the manufacturer;
- Category II – significant risk, for example to the eyes, hands, arms, face – prototype certified by an authorised, notified control body;
- Category III – includes all PPE for the respiratory system and protection from aggressive chemical agents - prototype certified by an authorised, notified control body and production control.
attrezzatura anticaduta

Anti-falling equipment

All anti-falling PPE equipment comes under Category III given the high risks arising from a fall and are subject to particular EC certification procedures; this type of equipment is divided into:
Slings – compliance regulations EN361
Belt with harness - compliance regulations EN358
Hooking strap - compliance regulations EN355

These devices, as specified by D.P.R. 547/55 art.386, are compulsory, not only for working at heights or work which involve a risk of falling from a height, but also for  work inside wells,  tanks and the like. In fact, in the event of an accident, the worker  should be able to be removed as quickly as possible from the well/tank or the like.  The efficiency of an anti-fall system depends fundamentally on the anchoring point which is the responsibility of the user.

guanti antifuoco


Equipment for protecting the upper limbs concern the hands in particular, the part of the upper limbs most exposed to different types of risks.
Gloves - compliance regulations EN420:
Mechanical and electrostatic risks - compliance regulations EN388
Electrical/lightning risks - compliance regulations EN60903
Chemical and microbiological risks - compliance regulations EN374
Risks from cold - compliance regulations EN511
Risks from heat and fire - compliance regulations EN407
Risks from vibrations - compliance regulations EN420
Palm protectors
Sleeve protectors and sleeve covers
The gloves can be made of different materials:
dielectric material (electrical insulation)

In particular, electrically insulated gloves should be a single piece without seams, made from special material and with a single, overall thickness. The gloves should strictly be accompanied by a sleeve covering the forearm.

maschere protezione vie respiratorie

Respiratory tract

Respiratory Protective Equipment, also known as RPE, protects the respiratory tract from potentially dangerous airborne  substances (gas, dust, vapours) and allows normal breathing when the level of oxygen is lower than the maximum limit of 17%.
RPE is classified as follows:
Filter type
Disposable dust masks (filtering facepieces) – compliance regulations EN149
Half masks - compliance regulations EN140
Full face masks - compliance regulations EN136
Self contained (self contained breathing apparatus) EN137
open circuit
- on demand, positive pressure
- on demand, negative pressure
closed circuit
- oxygen producing
- compressed oxygen
not self-contained (with breathable air circuit) EN139
with external air supply
- not assisted
- manually assisted
- motor-assisted
with compressed air
- continuous flow
- on demand valve, positive pressure
- on demand valve, negative pressure

The filters are classified by means of an abbreviation (according to their type), a number (from 1 to 3 on the basis of their filtering capacity) and a colour (according to the substance filtered) and are subdivided as follows:

antigas FFA(1÷3) (EN 141)
- by absorption
- by chemical reaction
- by catalysis

anti-dust FFP(1÷3) (EN 143)
combined FFA(1÷3)P(1÷3)

The duration of a cylinder of air is calculated empyrically  by multiplying the volume in litres by the pressure in bar and dividing this by 30 (average litre consumption per minute) to obtain the approximate number of minutes of independent breathing.

protezione degli occhi


The eyes are prone to a variety of risks: splinters, burning, caustic or corrosive materials, radiations, which can lead to three types of injury: mechanical, optical and thermal. In order to protect these delicate organs, PPE of the following types is used:

Glasses – compliance regulations EN166
Masks - compliance regulations EN166
Visors - compliance regulations EN166
Screens - compliance regulations EN166

possibly combined with:
Filters for welding operations - compliance regulations EN169
Filters for ultraviolet rays - compliance regulations EN170
Filters for infrarred rays - compliance regulations EN171
Solar protection filters for industrial use - compliance regulations EN172
Damage due to radiation varies according to the type of light emitted:
blue light: penetration of the retina;
infrarred: deformation of the cornea;
ultraviolet: redness of the eyes;

To avoid these problems, auto-darkening masks are increasingly used for welders, with optical-eletronic filters which darken in 0.2 thousandths of a second following from the triggering of the electric arc.

protezione udito


Damage to hearing is a serious matter as it cannot be reversed: in fact, auditory cells once damaged cannot regenerate themselves. PPE to protect hearing is compulsory when it is not possible to reduce the noise using technical means and when the noise exceeds 90 instant decibels or a daily average of 85 decibels; 
Headphones - compliance regulations EN 352-1 combined with a helmet (EN 352-3) active, with in-built radio (EN 352-4). Ear plugs - compliance regulations EN 352-2 inserts (filters) plugs with chain. Headphone bands according to EN 352-2.
PPE for hearing protection carry an abbreviation according to the frequency they protect against. 

L from 65Hz to 250Hz
M from 250Hz to 2000Hz
H from 2000Hz to 8000Hzz

caschetto di protezione

Head Protection

The only equipment for protecting the head is the:
Helmet - compliance regulations EN397
The helmet is made up of the following parts:

Protective cap
and should have the following properties:
sufficient resistance to drilling
adequate degree of impact absorption
good ventilation

The helmet must be compatible with other PPE used (for example headphones or visors); additionally, it must be possible to adjust the height and width of the headband. On building sites, in the vicinity of scaffolding, the cap must be raised to the level of the headband in order to increase the level of absorption of any material falling from above.

scarpe rotezione gambe

Lower limb protection

Protecting the feet is important both for safety reasons and to guarantee the worker’s stability. In general, PPE for feet is as follows:

Shoes – compliance regulations EN345
Knee guards
Removable soles
Removable protection devices for the instep
Footware to be worn on a building site must possess the following characteristics: 
good stability
easy to undo
impact resistant toe
drill-proof insole
non-slip sole
adequate protection from cold and heat
heel guard
ankle pad
protection from fungal infections
protection from electrostatic charges
non-rusting metal parts
Safety footware is identified by means of the letter S following by the letter B (base) or by a number from 1 to 5:
SB shoe with toe resistant to forces up to 1500 N (newton) and impacts up to 200 J (joule)

S1 shoe with toe as above and anti-static heel guard
S2 shoe with toe as above, anti-static heel guard and dynamic impermeability.
S3 shoe with toe as above, anti-static heel guard and dynamic impermeability and drill-proof insole
S4 boot with toe as above and anti-static heel guard 
S5 boot with toe as above, anti-static heel guard and drill-proof insolee