(Toolbox Talk) COSHH, Respiratory Protective Equipment Storage

Table of Contents
COSHH respiratory protective equipment storage


The aim of this toolbox talk is to increase staff awareness of the correct storage of respiratory protective equipment.

The use of regular toolbox talks, if done effectively, will significantly improve the safety culture within your organisation. This will increase the safety awareness of the workers, and as a result reduce the likelihood of accidents and unsafe occurrences.

Legislation references

  • Health & Safety at Work Act 1974
  • Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) 2002

Storage basics

The law determines that RPE must be stored in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions. RPE that is stored incorrectly may not be effective as a defence against the hazards it is provided to control.

Correct storage is essential to ensure that RPE remains effective. Conditions such as sunlight can adversely affect PPE and employees are required to have due regard to these risks.

All information provided with the equipment is to be retained by the individual for reference purposes.

Duties of employers

Employers must ensure that, where respiratory protective equipment is provided, appropriate storage is also provided. Adequate storage is required to prevent:

  • Damage from chemicals, sunlight, high humidity, heat and accidental knocks.
  • Contamination from dirt and harmful substances.
  • The possibility of losing the RPE

Storage areas must be kept clean and must be sited away from possible contaminants.

Duties of employees

  • Every employee is required to co-operate on matters affecting health and safety.
  • You must take reasonable care of the equipment.
  • All used equipment should be treated as contaminated and cleaned before storage.
  • Manufacturer’s guidance is to be followed for cleaning activities.
  • RPE must be returned to the provided storage facilities after use.
  • Employees may take RPE away from the workplace, where required, but it should be stored with care. Prohibitions apply where there is a risk of exposure to hazardous agents, i.e. asbestos.
  • Items should not be stored in direct sunlight, i.e. on the parcel shelf of a vehicle.
  • Mobile storage will be provided where appropriate and must be used.
  • Equipment used or worn intermittently should not be exposed to contaminants when not in use.