By RWLS Safety, Jul 31 2018 02:00PM
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is the easiest way to keep yourself and your workers as safe as possible in dangerous working environments. It is important to know not only when to use it, but also the types of protection available.
When to Use PPE
PPE is necessary for any working environment that has a possibility of specific injuries. This includes any environment with the risk of:
Impact: Places where objects may drop or where there is a risk of personnel falling require gear to keep workers safe. Also, there is a risk of impact when there is machine motion or other movement that may come in contact with personnel.
Penetration: This takes place when objects that can cut, puncture, or poke are present.
Chemical: Chemical risks include a wide variety of chemical elements and personnel must be protected from these chemicals as well.
Heat or Cold: Both extreme hots and colds may result in a burn. These temperatures may also end in fire or eye injuries.
Harmful Dust: Breathing in harmful dust could cause issues for workers. Also, this dust entering eyes or sticking to skin and clothing raise the possibility of injury.
Radiation: Radiation may be present in your working environment. If so, your workers and personnel must be correctly protected.
Light Radiation: Light radiation includes dangers from welding, furnaces, lights with high intensity, brazing, treating heat, or cutting with laser-like technology.
Biologic: Biologic hazards involve infected materials such as blood.
Shock from Electricity: Working with electrical materials pose the risk of electrical shock.
Types of Personal Protective Equipment
Protective gear comes in all shapes and sizes, each with different and specific purposes.
Eye and face protection: This type of personal protective equipment includes gear such as goggles, welding shields, and other face coverings such as masks.
Foot and leg protection: Leggings are a common way to protect workers’ legs. They are often made of thicker materials to provide optimal protection. Toe guards, metatarsal guards, and safety shoes keep feet from harm in most situations.
Hand and arm protection: Thick, canvas-like or leather gloves aid in saving the fingers and hands of your personnel. Depending on the work being performed, chemical-resistant gloves, insulated rubber gloves, or liquid-resistant gloves may be necessary. Metal meshes and fabric coated protection keep arms and hands safe as well.
Head protection: Keeping workers’ heads protected is incredibly important. The best hard hats or helmets provide resistance to impacts, penetration, and voltage. This level of protection may not be required for the work performed, but there are a variety of hard hat protection levels that may better fit your line of work.
Hearing protection: Environments ripe with loud sounds require gear to protect personnel from hearing damage.
For training on the differing types of personal protective equipment, contact RWLS Safety at 570.404.8420.