Personal Protection Equipment

Personal Protection Equipment is a must for a safe working environment. Here are some guidelines on what are considered to be essential items for your protection and that of others in your workshop.

Hand in hand with the workshop safety guidelines, are those for your personal protection. PPE comes in different guises and of course at different qualities and costs. Mostly though, it is quite simple – look after your face and lungs!

Faceshield – Protecting that Gorgeous Face of Yours

This is a Honeywell Bionic Polycarbonate Faceshield. The frame is strong and will go further to protect your face in the event of an impact.
If you’re buying one of these, ensure you buy the version with the polycarbonate visor as there is an acetate variation which isn’t as strong.
They cost about twice as much as one of the ‘standard’ shields, but are worth the extra pennies.

The less expensive, more flexible shields (usually with a yellow head piece) are not very impact resistant but will go some way to stop skin abrasion in the event of an impact, but that’s about all.

Keeping you Breathing – Dust Masks

Dust is a nuisance in the workshop, and prolonged or regular exposure to it can have serious effects on your respiratory system. Protect it with a dust mask.
Shown here is a JSP Force 8 ‘halfmask’ with PFF3 filters. It is a super piece of kit and forms a good seal around your mouth and nose when in use. Breathing is easy through it, too.

Other styles of masks are available, too, including the disposable single use paper ones. The main thing to remember when buying masks is the magic FFP3 classification as these filter out the dust from hardwoods as well as other harmful dust particles.

Dust masks and respiratory protection (ideally) should be used in conjunction with a dust extraction and/or air filtration system suitable for your workshop.

Used under the under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

“Pardon?” – Hearing Protection

Rarely worn when using a lathe, hearing protection is a good idea if you have hearing problems or perhaps hearing-aids. This kind of protection is also useful if using the lathe for a long period of time.
Hearing protection should also be used when using other, louder machines in the workshop.

Other Options

For perhaps the best in PPE, there are several options available that combine quality impact resistant head and face protection as well as built-in airfiltration.

Full face shields like this Trend Airshield Pro, the 3M Versaflo range or the JSP Powercap all have these features including a ‘seal’ that wraps under the chin and round the face allowing filtered air to be gently blown into the mask to prevent it from misting.

The products shown here are illustrations of some of the products available. There are variations of each of them available and the quality may vary between manufacturers, too. Please check the manufacturers websites if you are interested in any of these items and to find stockists near you.

Budget is of course, a factor in deciding what PPE to buy, but for the sake of your safety, perhaps it would be good advice to suggest buying the best you can afford.

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12 responses to “Personal Protection Equipment”

  1. Nigel Oram avatar
    Nigel Oram

    Hi Martin, I’ve been trying to get a Honeywell bionic polycarbonate face shield but everywhere has been sold out for ages. The cheapest I’ve seen it is just over forty quid for the anti mist and anti-scratch screen. It’s a bit cheaper for bog standard screen. I’ve emailed the company to see if they are going to be releasing any out to retailers but I’ve had no response from them as yet. Cheers, Nigel

    1. Martin Saban-Smith avatar
      Martin Saban-Smith

      Hi Nigel. Avoid the acetate visor!

      1. Nigel Oram avatar
        Nigel Oram

        Will do Martin…I’ve seen Tom’s post in FB so have bought the polycarbonate version with the non coated screen. I’ll see how I go on with this and decide to get a anti-scratch/anti-fog poly screen if I think I need it.
        I actually have the AP 10 evolution but it’s handy to have a quick flick up visor too and the one I have at the moment is a cheap version.

  2. Brian West avatar
    Brian West

    I already have the trend airshield pro and cannot praise it enough, its not heavy or noisy and keeps my glasses nice and clear and the gentle breeze across the face is qite pleasant.. Sadly in the current climate JSP Force 8 ‘halfmask’ with PFF3 filters. are not available as being sent to frontline staff.. Unless of course you want t spend £100++++++ on ebay. But will pick one up at the normal price eventually I am sure

  3. Tom Dullage avatar
    Tom Dullage

    Try The Safety Supply company, they currently have 21 shown in stock at around £35 including delivery

    1. Nigel Oram avatar
      Nigel Oram

      Thanks for the heads-up Tom. Been trying to get one for a long while!

  4. Dave Bradford avatar
    Dave Bradford

    Hi Martin, what’s your thoughts on storing the dust mask in a sealed container when not in use. Storing this way would stop dust accumulating on the inside of the dust mask if left lying on the bench. This was the advise from 3M when I bought my dusk mask.

    1. Martin Saban-Smith avatar
      Martin Saban-Smith

      Hi Dave, It is a good idea to keep a mask back in it’s box, or a cloth bag (to allow moisture to evaporate) after use. My own don’t go back into their packaging and I’ll often give them a blow out with the air line before use. And to cover my back…remember to read and follow the manufacturers guidelines!

  5. Collin French avatar
    Collin French

    For ease of searching, at this time (June 2020) the Safety Supply Company UK ( has no stock of the Force 8 (as mentioned in the article) respiratory mask ( but does have the Honeywell Bionic shield (—conforms-to-en166-1-b-39—hw-1011623.html)

    I am not endorsing this company, just following up on a comment that someone made in the WT360 FB Group.

  6. John Foster avatar
    John Foster

    I have ordered a bionic face shield from Setons, costs about £35, however you might have to wait for supplies to come in.

  7. Pete Ravenscroft avatar
    Pete Ravenscroft

    Beyond the wearable PPE, is Extraction and Filtration. Both are dependant on the size of your workshop but the filter is often under rated because it does it’s best work in the hour after you leave the workshop. I would always recommend you go for one with a timer, or rig up some timer method that will keep it working for an hour after you leave. That way the air is clean when you next come into the workshop before you put your PPE on.

    1. Martin Saban-Smith avatar
      Martin Saban-Smith

      Thanks, Pete. Both extraction and filtration are mentioned in the article and are a large enough subject for a separate discussion. As such, they are Workshop equipment and not strictly personal.

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