HSE Respiratory Protective Equipment eBulletin: November 2021

Having trouble viewing this email? View the content as a web page.

HSE Header image

HSE Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) eBulletin

Issued: 8 November 2021

This eBulletin provides guidance and information for those who wear Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) in the workplace.

HSE’s Construction Sector Respiratory Health Initiative

HSE visited construction sites across Great Britain throughout October 2021.

Construction workers die every week from lung diseases caused by exposure to dust and many more suffer from severe chronic long-term lung conditions.

HSE is delivering an awareness campaign to highlight the risks posed by inhaling hazardous substances at work, such as dust, and inspectors are also carrying out health-related site inspections.

Control measures to prevent or limit exposure to hazardous substances should be put in place to prevent ill health. Find out more about Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH).

You can protect your workers and yourself - make sure you are aware of the risks, know how to choose the right RPE and know what to do to stay safe. More information can be found in our downloadable publication HSG53 'Respiratory protective equipment at work: A practical guide'.

HSE enforcement action on RPE face fit testing

As part of a recent investigation HSE has found that Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust breached health regulations on RPE worn by staff during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The investigation was conducted after the tragic death of FGH radiographer Simon Guest from the virus in April 2020. Morecambe Bay Trust was given formal written advice after it was found that not all persons had received adequate face fit testing to ensure that tight fitting respirators, worn as personal protective equipment for certain procedures, seal adequately to the wearer’s face.

The Approved Code of Practice for COSHH 2002 requires that tight fitting RPE should be fit tested as part of the selection process, to ensure there is an adequate seal between the selected RPE and the wearer’s face. Inadequate fit will significantly reduce the protection provided to the wearer.  

It is the duty holder’s responsibility to ensure that any tight fitting RPE used by an employee is correctly fit tested by a competent individual.

Competency can be demonstrated by accreditation under the Fit2Fit RPE Fit Test Providers Accreditation Scheme. This scheme has been developed by the BSIF, together with industry stakeholders, and is supported by HSE. The scheme is not compulsory, and employers are free to take other action to comply with the law.

HSE will take enforcement action where it finds a duty holder has not taken the necessary steps to ensure proper fit testing is conducted. 

See HSE's guidance on respiratory protective equipment (RPE) fit testing.

Lung Cancer Awareness month

Lung Cancer Awareness month runs from November 1 - November 29. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness and encourage people displaying the common symptoms of lung cancer to visit their GP.

Lung cancer is the most common cause of death from cancer for both men and women. Early detection of lung cancer makes it more treatable, so encouraging people to recognise symptoms such as a persistent cough and see their doctor sooner could save lives. 

Agents that can cause cancer occur in many forms, they can be solids, liquids, vapours, gases, or dusts and can be breathed in, absorbed through the skin or swallowed. Workers need to be aware that certain work activities, such as exposure to dust, mild steel welding fume and heavy and prolonged exposure to silica, can cause lung cancer and other serious respiratory diseases

If you, or someone you know, work in a trade or industry where the health of your lungs may be affectedspread the word, share this information and look after your lungs.

Get more information on our website on:



* GovUK footer logo

Subscriber services:

Manage Preferences | Unsubscribe | Disclaimer
Email was sent to Email Address