Many know about PPE, or Personal Protective Equipment but don’t know why it’s so important in the workplace. This gear, including respiratory protective equipment among others shouldn’t be optional. According to recent studies PPE is the number one defense against safety and health risks at work.
Types of PPE
There are many types of PPE that can lend to workplace safety. They include:
- Safety boots and other footwear
- Goggles and eye protection
- High-visibility clothing
- Safety harnesses
- RPE – Respiratory Protective Equipment
Industries in Need
PPE is used in a wide range of industries and specific jobs. Building, healthcare, catering, agricultural and even lifeguards use PPE often. Which types are used depends wholly on the work environment and the various regulations set forth. Industries such as building, agricultural, medical, catering and even lifeguarding use respiratory protective equipment on a daily basis in some cases. The type of PPE changes according to the user’s working conditions and regulations, including those put in place by organizations like OSHA.
Why is PPE important?
Wearing PPE encourages workers to stay safe. However, even when applied measures exist, hazards still happen in work settings. The main function of PPE is to reduce injuries to lungs by using respiratory protective equipment, to the head and feet with helmets and proper footwear, to the skin via proper clothing, and the eyes by providing goggles or protective eyewear.
For more information on Personal Protection Equipment, check that the EHS Center has for members here
Information on the Types of PPE
Being educated more deeply on the types of PPE and how they work for the individual is proven to make them more appealing and encourage workers to actually put them on.
Protect the eyes from metal and chemical splashes, gas, dust, radiation and vapors. The choice of protection for the eyes should be in accordance with the requirements of the task at hand. They should also fit perfectly in order to keep the eyes safe. Some common types of eyewear for safety are:
- Face shields and screens
Many don’t even think of the ears when it comes to protection, but loud noises can do irreversible damage to the ear drums. Therefore earmuffs, plugs and other “caps” are important for certain work environments.
Head and Neck Protection
The human neck and head need PPE in order to shield them from falling or flying objects, as well as keeping them safe from dangerous machinery that could easily kill them if they get tangled up in or fall into it. It also works with the eyewear to protect from chemical splashes. The following items should all be handy and checked regularly for damage, then replaced or repaired as necessary.
- Bump caps
Hand and Arm PPE
Extremely high and low temperatures, abrasions, impact, lengthy water exposure, chemicals and electricity are all things that arms, and hands need to be protected from. There are various types of gloves and sleeves that can be worn to keep them safe in risky conditions.
Feet and legs
There’s no substitute for strong work boots or shoes that have metal toecaps for protection. They easily resist penetration. Wellies, or rain boots are another type of foot gear that are used for safety in very wet environments. Once risk is assessed in a workplace, the proper footwear can be determined.
Respiratory protective equipment is necessary to protect the lungs. Any work environment that has airborne particles of any kind can be a risk to the lungs.
These items along with those that protect the entire body head to toe like hazmat suits or clothing with high visibility, and flame-resistant wear are all part of the PPE that should be considered in the workplace.
The below training is for safety professionals, to learn how to select the best PPE for their workplace.