Chemical hazards in the workplace pose a number of threats, such as irritation, sensitisation, carcinogenicity, flammability and corrosion. (OSHA, Hazardous Toxic Substances) As an employer, you have a legal responsibility to provide a safe and healthy workplace for both yourself and colleagues.

While other measures must be in place to protect individuals in the work environment, hazards may still remain. Chemical protective clothing is designed to protect the whole body from chemical hazards in the workplace, such as contaminated air, falling materials, flying particles and splashes of corrosive liquids.

Alongside personal protective equipment, employers should provide proper training and supervision to ensure a safe working environment.

What does the law say about personal protective equipment? 

European Directive 89/656/EEC of 30 November 1989, introduced ‘minimum health and safety requirements for the use by workers of personal protective equipment at the workplace.’ It states that all personal protective equipment must:

  • Be appropriate for the risks involved, without itself leading to any increased risk
  • Correspond to existing conditions at the workplace
  • Take account of ergonomic requirements and the worker’s state of health
  • Fit the wearer correctly after any necessary adjustment

Knowing the types of personal protective equipment available and the level of protection provided will help you to supply your team with adequate protection.

The EEC PPE Directive has identified six levels of protection to facilitate the choice of chemical protective clothing:

  • Gas-tight
  • Air-fed non-gas-tight suits
  • Suits against pressurised liquids
  • Suits against sprayed liquids
  • Suits against solid particles
  • Suits offering limited protected performance against liquid chemicals

Under health and safety law, it is the role of the employer to assess risks in the workplace and provide employees with protective equipment where necessary.

As well as issuing PPE free of charge, employers should also provide proper training to prevent injury (such as contamination when removing gloves, read more here) and identify faulty equipment.

All products should be CE marked in accordance with the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002. To carry CE marking, chemical protective equipment (category III) must pass one or more of the garment  ‘Type’ tests, meet or exceed the minimum requirements for the materials’ physical and chemical properties, and be correctly identified and labelled.

Alongside this, proportions between men and women differ greatly, so where possible, choose a supplier who specifically caters for both genders.

Choose the right manufacturer

In order to ensure your workforce is adequately protected, choose a manufacturer who provides a wide range of PPE clothing, with every type that you may need, while also offering comfort and value. In addition, PPE products must be manufactured to a consistent quality, and the manufacturer must either hold a quality certificate such as ISO 9000 or be subject to regular inspections by the notified laboratory.

The team at Greenham are NEBOSH (National Examination Board in Occupational Safety & Health) trained to ensure that the advice given to our customers is qualified. When provided with details of specific jobs, Greenham team are able to make the correct recommendations for safety, advising on the appropriate use of protective equipment in order for you to meet legislative obligations.

Explore the full range of personal protective equipment for yourself – there’s an extensive selection that includes eye and face protection, special hazard clothing, women’s workwear and more. Visit

Further information regarding PPE’s use and implementation is available on the HSE website.

Disclaimer: The information provided through Greenham Pulse is for general guidance only and is not legal advice. Greenham Pulse is not a substitute for Health and Safety consultancy. You should seek independent advice about any legal matter.