PPE Management for Contractors: What you need to know

Climbing at height

What is PPE and when should it be used?

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is equipment designed to protect the user against health and safety risks at work. There is a vast range of PPE that provides different types of protection for the user. PPE can be used to protect the eyes, head, body, hands and arms, feet and legs and in high-risk places, the lungs. It can incorporate items such as safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear and safety harnesses.

Wearing and using PPE is required when employees or contractors are undertaking high-risk work. So, if you or your team are working at height, that’s classed as high-risk work. It is essential for everyone in the workplace to understand the importance of identifying and wearing the appropriate equipment. Carrying out a risk assessment identifies the hazard(s) that may occur and help to determine what equipment is needed. PPE must be regularly inspected for safety and compliance purposes.

PPE inspections on paper

How to manage work at height PPE

Whenever PPE is used, a detailed record must be created inclusive of the employee’s name, the equipment item, and the date. Many equipment managers create a simple spreadsheet – which indeed will suffice and introduce accountability amongst staff members. However, the more equipment you use results in an expansion of data that must be recorded, this can increase the risk of errors and the amount of time spent documenting inspections.

Volume of equipment graph

The management is often overlooked even though it is necessary when using any equipment, using a PPE Management System can boost the confidence in inspections and management of critical safety equipment.

Who is responsible for PPE?

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations (1992) clearly states, according to Regulation 4, “Every employer shall ensure that suitable personal protective equipment is provided to his employees who may be exposed to a risk to their health or safety while at work except where and to the extent that such risk has been adequately controlled by other means which are equally or more effective.” Therefore, according to the law, it is the employer’s responsibility to protect the employee by providing the correct PPE. The regulations also require that the equipment is fit for its objective by correctly assessing it, maintaining and storing the equipment following the manufacturer’s instructions, and utilising it accurately.

It is crucial for equipment owners to look after PPE and to provide suitable storage facilities when it is not in use to keep it clean and in proper condition. Contractors must ensure equipment is kept clean and in excellent repair, following the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule to discover shelf life and replacement periods. Intricate repairs and maintenance should only be completed by specialists, however, simple maintenance of PPE can be carried out by a trained user. Suitable replacement parts for PPE should always be readily available; it is also worth keeping a disposable supply of equipment for any potential visitors and third-party contractors that may be required to wear protective equipment.

Who is responsible for training and compliance?

Employers hold responsibilities concerning the provision and use of PPE supplied for employees. Wherever there is a risk to health and safety, employers are accountable to provide appropriate PPE alongside training to their staff members.

When selecting and using PPE, contractors should use equipment that is CE marked to prove it complies with the regulations. Employers should take the size, fit, and weight of the equipment into consideration when choosing equipment that suits the user; employers are expected to provide appropriate training in its usage. Employees should be informed as to why PPE is required, when to use it, how it can be replaced, and who/how to report any damaged equipment.

Complying with regulations is effectively a joint effort between the contractor and the employee. The contractor is accountable for training, ongoing development and supplying the appropriate equipment, whereas the employee ensures that training is working in practice, the equipment is stored safely and maintained, and that any incidents or faults are reported and fixed properly.

Papertrail User Management for PPE

How Papertrail can help you manage PPE

Papertrail is designed to reduce your workload, increase your productivity and manage health and safety inspections globally. Easily create and manage hundreds of items of equipment records in minutes, our PPE management system allows you to add: your entire equipment inventory – regardless of size, inspection evidence, manufacturer checklists, set reminders and notifications and manage your team’s user permissions. Read more about the features to make your management system work for you!

Are you effectively managing your PPE?

You can review and improve your inspection management system today for FREE! Download our 5 Step Management system review Workbook, created for equipment Managers to ensure your PPE management system is effective.

5 Steps to review your PPE Management System

Papertrail and Palm Equipment announce product data partnership

Papertrail and  Palm Equipment  announce product  data partnership.

Today, Papertrail and Palm Equipment announce their intention to make managing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) product data easier for their customers.

The partnership, launched today, sees all of Palm Equipment’s manufacturer product data, such as product codes, photography, weight, dimensions and user guides, added to Papertrail’s PPE Directory. From there, the product records can be quickly and easily imported to a customer’s Papertrail account, saving time and ensuring that all of their records are accurate and fully updated.

It’s now even easier to import your Palm products to Papertrail.

It is a great resource for existing Papertrail customers and additionally the PPE directory is availably publicly, meaning it can be used by businesses and individuals who need product data for their PPE, without necessarily being a Papertrail user.

Palm equipment products used in whitewater rafting
Palm Equipment products in action

Ben Scholes, CEO of Papertrail, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Palm Equipment to make our PPE Directory even better. Now our existing and new customers can seamlessly access full product data for all their Palm equipment, all in one place, and add it to their Papertrail account in a couple of seconds. They’ll not only have a full inspection history for every piece of kit, but they’ll also have full product information in their account from day one.”

Craig Jones, Professional and Commercial Sales Manager at Palm Equipment International Ltd, said: “At Palm we are dedicated to having the best products and providing excellent aftercare, so working with the number one platform for logging and tracking PPE is an ideal partnership for us. With such a broad and comprehensive range, using Papertrail not only takes the sting out of logging Palm PPE, but it goes well beyond by providing full product and aftercare information in one easy to use location.”

Papertrail’s PPE Directory has been updated with Palm Equipment data and is available to access today.

About Papertrail

Papertrail is a cloud-based digital safety inspection management platform. Initially designed for the work at height and rope access community to help make record keeping for statutory safety inspections simpler, quicker and more straightforward, Papertrail has grown exponentially and is used in inspection management processes in many different market sectors. Today, in over 40 countries worldwide, hundreds of customers use Papertrail to manage millions of records every day. www.papertrail.io  

About Palm Equipment International Ltd.

Gear For Paddlers

Palm Equipment International Ltd is based in Somerset, England. From here we supply Palm apparel and accessories, kayaks from Dagger, Islander and Wilderness Systems, and canoes from Mad River Canoe – everything you need to take to the water. https://palmequipmenteurope.com/

Since 1979


Papertrail commits to new arboricultural safety alliance

NATS safety alliance infographic

Here at Papertrail, we believe that creating a culture of safety is only possible when we work together. That’s why we’re excited to announce that we’re working with North American Training Solutions (NATS), Treemagineers,  Teufelberger and DMM in a strategic safety alliance. The alliance’s goal is to develop knowledge, evolve competency training programmes, and produce innovative new solutions and equipment to improve safety and efficiency in the arboricultural industries and beyond.

We’re completely behind the alliance’s founding principles, and the “5 C’s” that you can see in the graphic at the beginning of this article. Compliance and confidence are at the heart of what we do. Our CEO, Ben Scholes said: “The teams, both here at Papertrail and in our partners’ organisations have worked extremely hard to bring this partnership to life. Our ambition and vision is to support this alliance by delivering outstanding software for our customers’ and end users. Overall, we want to improve safety and collaboration throughout the industry, enable easier access to product data and develop innovative new software applications. Together we’re united for safety, and I couldn’t be more proud.”

If you’d like to explore how Papertrail can help keep your business organised, and your people safe, why not book a free demo to find out more?

Teufelberger and Papertrail unveil strategic partnership

Teufelberger, the world-leading rope manufacturer, today announced a strategic partnership with the world’s top provider of personal protective equipment (PPE) management platforms, Papertrail.

The partnership will see Papertrail’s inspection management platform being offered to customers alongside selected Teufelberger product lines from 2019.

This will give Teufelberger customers the option of storing and updating product details and inspection results simply and easily at any time, using Papertrail’s cloud-based mobile applications.

“At Teufelberger we provide ropes and equipment for some of the most demanding customers and applications on the planet” said Angela Lloyd, business unit manager for Teufelberger’s Tree Care Division.

“Maintaining this product in top condition is of critical importance to our customers and will be a lot easier to keep digital records thanks to partnership between Teufelberger and Papertrail.”

Ben Scholes, Papertrail’s CEO, said: “Papertrail is the industry standard for inspection, certification and audit management in the PPE Sector. We believe this partnership will bring significant benefits to Teufelberger’s customers, improving safety and quality.”

Teufelberger Products will soon be available to search and add to Papertrail accounts using the PPE Product Directory.

About Teufelberger

Family-owned Teufelberger is a diversified, international group specialising in fibre ropes, steel wire ropes and strapping. Innovation, steady growth and geographic expansion are firmly defined goals in the group strategy. www.teufelberger.com

About Papertrail

Papertrail offers the world’s leading Inspection and compliance management software platform. We make inspection management and safety compliance faster and more efficient, creating operational efficiencies for organisations of all sizes. www.papertrail.io

For more information,

New functionality in Papertrail: Checklists

Since 2013, Papertrail has been developing Inspection management systems for clients; to date over 5 million inspections have been carried out by our users using Papertrail, an achievement that we are proud of and a number that is growing ever larger each day!

We are not resting on our laurels and letting this grow ‘organically’, in fact, we are even more motivated to continue the development of the right features, in conjunction with our users and safety managers and inspectors, to use in their workplace.

Continue Reading…

What do you understand by ‘safety’?

What do you understand by ‘health and safety’? For many business leaders, health and safety is a compliance issue. For the good of society, we have legal checks and balances in place to minimise the chances of accident and infection in the workplace.

Some businesses treat these checks and balances in the same way as some motorists treat speed limits: it’s OK to bend the rules so long as you don’t get caught. In practice, this may mean ticking just enough boxes to give an impression of compliance.

But a growing number of organisations, in my view, are taking a different approach. They recognise that compliance is just a small part of what workplace health and safety is about. What is really important is risk reduction.

Think about it: if someone gets injured in your workplace then you face an increased risk of legal action. You risk operational downtime. Financial loss. Reputational damage. Staff discontent. Recruitment challenges.

On the flip side, having a good health and safety record can pay off with higher staff satisfaction, lower absenteeism and reduced legal, financial and reputational risk.

Seen this way, it makes sense to look at workplace health and safety as something worth investing in. And this investment need not stop with obvious measures, such as staff training and safety equipment procurement.

It could, and should, also cover all the systems and processes needed to maintain a high safety profile, including regular inspection schedules and a smart inspection-tracking platform. Anything else would be taking a risk.

  • Contact us about how to make your organisation safer and more efficient.

Tragedy highlights need for PPE management

An investigation into a tragic accident has once again put the spotlight on the need for
better personal protective equipment (PPE) management.

Zachary Cox’s fatal fall attracted press attention because it happened on an emblematic
site: the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, which will be used in the Qatar 2022 World
Cup.

The incident, in January 2017, could clearly have been avoided if PPE safety standards had
been up to scratch. An inquest heard Cox was using potentially lethal equipment,
according to a report by the BBC.

Cox was doubly unlucky, the report says. He fell when a faulty hoist broke, but the safety
harness that could have saved his life also snapped. The 40-year- old worker, born in South
Africa but living in the UK, died from multiple injuries after dropping 130 feet.
It is unclear whether Cox’s equipment had undergone regular inspections, but the findings
of the inquest make this seem unlikely.

The coroner for the case said working practices on the site were “inherently unsafe” and
that site managers “knew or should have known that they were effectively requiring a
group of their workers to rely on potentially lethal equipment.”

Following the inquest, Cox’s family called for lessons to be learnt.

One of these must surely be that any major building site should not only have appropriate
working-at- height safety procedures in place, but that these procedures should be
transparent and regularly audited.

As we can attest at Papertrail, putting the systems in place to achieve this is not hard or
costly. And if it helps to preserve lives, surely no expense should be spared.

Contact us now for more information about how to make your organisation safer and
more efficient.

A nightmare on spreadsheet

Running away from spreadsheet monster

Our latest customer case study has all the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster. There’s a faraway location (Sweden, to be precise). A bunch of plucky young adventurers, in the staff of top working-at-height training, products and consultancy firm C2 Vertical Safety.

And then there’s an evil antagonist: the spreadsheet. For inspection recordkeeping, “we tried different systems, but we always ended up coming back to the same spreadsheet nightmare,” says Martin Malmberg, C2’s direct business marketing director.

Like Grendel in the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf, the spreadsheet would come stalking during C2’s darkest moments: when the company carried out its annual midwinter stock-taking exercise.

Then, C2 had to practically shut down for a fortnight so staff could carry out equipment inspections and bring records up to date. But help came from the hand of a stranger from afar.

C2 happened to know a UK company called Lyon, which was using Papertrail to track its Industrial Rope Access Trade Association certifications. C2 was intrigued by the platform’s potential, and that’s how the story came to a happy ending.

“We tried it and fell in love instantly,” says Malmberg. “It’s very easy to learn and easy to use.”

The annual inspection is more efficient thanks to Papertrail. And Papertrail’s ease of deployment and use of the platform is important because C2 now sells the platform to its customers.

Over time, says Malmberg, C2 hopes to use Papertrail’s powerful reporting and analytics capabilities to remind clients when they should be scheduling training and equipment inspections or replacements. Needless to say, we’re looking forward to the sequel.

Read the full case study And contact us for more information about how to make your organisation safer and more efficient.

Get ready to change your view of PPE

If you know Papertrail then you’ll know we’re passionate about modernising the way personal protective equipment (PPE) is managed, to improve safety and efficiency while cutting costs.

It’s a message we try to spread in all our communications, including this blog. And it’s not just us who are banging the drum for more advanced PPE management.

DMM, for example, has been leading developments in PPE for more than 30 years, and is a big advocate for smarter management systems.

That’s why this month I’m delighted to welcome DMM’s product manager, Rob Partridge, on Papertrail’s first-ever webinar: ‘unlocking the secret to smart PPE management.’ This webinar is aimed at novice and experienced PPE managers alike and will help you:

  • See why PPE manufacturers such as DMM now recommend all their customers adopt smart management systems.
  • Understand how you can immediately save money and improve efficiency with smart PPE management.
  • Experience how quick and easy it is to implement smart PPA management systems.

The 45-minute webinar is completely free and will kick off at 4pm GMT on Thursday April 19th. Besides hearing from myself and Rob, you can get to ask us all those niggling questions you’ve been wanting to get answers to.

To make sure you don’t miss you place on this unique webinar, take a minute to sign up now and block out your diary at 4pm on the 19th. I look forward to you joining us for what will undoubtedly be a really valuable interactive session.

FREE WEBINAR – SIGN UP NOW!!

Making sure your white-knuckle experience is safe

How do you make sure your customers are perfectly safe while giving them the thrill of their lives? That’s the dilemma facing UK-based Zip World, which has built a business on pushing the boundaries of what is possible with a pulley suspended on a cable.

In 2013, for example, it established the record for the longest zip line in Europe, spanning a mile and sending riders along at more than 100 miles per hour. The following year, it opened Zip World Velocity, the first four-person zip line in Europe.

And in 2015 it inaugurated Zip World Caverns, the world’s largest fully underground zip line course. Other Zip World attractions, including Bounce Below, Zip World Fforest and Zip World London, all vie to offer thrill seekers the very best in white-knuckle rides.

Naturally, though, Zip World takes care to make sure its customers are perfectly safe all the time. Items such as carabiners and harnesses are inspected every month, while the cables and other zip line components are checked daily.

Carrying out the checks is only part of the story, though. As its business has grown, Zip World has needed to professionalise the way it recorded and stored inspection reports. So in 2014 the company introduced Papertrail to manage all of its inspection activity.

Today, the system handles more than 7,500 records on behalf of 46 members of staff, who deal with critical business functions ranging from employee qualifications and certification to the management of equipment across five venues.

The company is now enjoying a host of benefits too long to go through in a short blog post. But if you want to find out more, take a look at our new Zip World case study. And then get in touch to find out how your white-knuckle experience could be just as safe.

Contact us now for more information about how to make your business safer and more efficient.

Could ‘small data’ help cut offshore wind costs?

Talk of ‘big data’ is all the rage in the wind industry. The ability to crunch massive amounts of turbine data in near-real time is seen as a key way to help cut costs, particularly in operations and maintenance.

Offshore Wind Magazine, for instance, says “big data has a large role to play in areas such as turbine design, monitoring and maintenance.”

This is undoubtedly true. The problem for wind farm operators is that big data systems are complex and expensive. And sometimes it can be hard to see if the financial benefits they will yield are worth the investment.

Not all wind farm data requires a big number-crunching approach, though. Take equipment inspection records, for instance.

The mere act of using a platform such as Papertrail to track this data can yield significant benefits in terms of operational efficiency, cost reduction and worker safety.

And since it is delivered from the cloud in a software-as-a-service package, it couldn’t be easier to set up and use. It’s big data in terms of its capabilities and advantages, but decidedly ‘small data’ in terms of its drain on the business.

Papertrail is already being used to great advantage across the offshore wind industry, by major project developers such as Innogy Renewables UK and specialist contractors such as Offshore Painting Services.

Why not use this small data gem to help your renewables business run more safely, smoothly and cost-effectively, too?

Contact us now for more information about how to make your organisation safer and more efficient.