PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT commonly referred to as PPE is a piece of wearable equipment used to avoid workplace injuries. PPE should be a must for employees working in mining, factories, and even hospitals. The kit varies as per the safety needs which mostly consists of gloves, safety glasses, shoes, and full bodysuits. These equipment kits are basic essential in workplaces involving contacts with chemicals, electricity, radiology, machines, etc., that may cause injuries. Employers should consider conducting a PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT program that would stress the importance of PPE along with guidance on its usage. The basic purpose of PPE is to prevent illness of employees caused due to the exposure of hazards in the workplace.
PPE is not modern equipment, its importance is being stressed since ancient times. The earlier PPE was so basic such as body armor, boots, and gloves protecting the person from injuries. With time, the protective measures grow high and the awareness of protection reached many people. Medical prevention methods took a bloom when contagious diseases started spreading. Body armor used by the soldiers was the very first PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT. Non-military protective equipment was used in the middle ages by the blacksmiths to protect their bodies from the melting metals they were working with. A new era in worker’s safety began with The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. That was when public efforts were made to protect workers.
Types of PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
PPE is designed to protect the workers from,
- Physical injury
- Environmental danger
- Electric hazards
- Chemical leakage
- Thermal danger
- Biological hazard
PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT is generally of 8 types that include a variety of products designed with an aim to protect users against hazards. PPE from home or work is categorized below.
- Head protection
- Hand protection
- Eye and face protection
- Respiratory protection
- Hearing protection
- Foot protection
- Body protection
- Height and access protection
PPE protecting the head is mainly for the purpose of saving the user from falling materials or swinging objects. Head protectors include Helmets, hats, caps, and guards. These protectors are used by workers involved in construction activities or renovation in caves, tunnels, or excavations. Helmets are also used when driving motorcycles to protect our heads from injuries.
Hands and fingers are the ones that are easily injured. Therefore proper protection is necessary to minimize exposure. Appropriate usage of gloves is essential as their usage of them varies from conditions. Gloves degrade over time, so it is good to know about the replacement intervals and disposal norms. Hand protection should be followed by workers involved in outdoor activities, machines releasing heat, chemical exposures, and also indoor activities like catering. There are different gloves available in the market which enables the users to choose accordingly. Manufacturers should provide compatibility charts to make the layman aware of the options.
Eye and Face Protection
Eye injury is the most common one among workers worldwide. These scary injuries can be avoided by just wearing proper PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT that will prevent your eyes from danger. Eye protective measures include glasses and goggles, eye and face shield, eyewear accessories, over specs, and visors. By following the protective measures, these fragile parts of our body can be saved from hazards. If you are the one who is involved in welding activities, then shields or welding goggles are the best protectors. It is necessary for people working in chemical emitting fields or welding areas to be aware of the eye protection they need to take.
Masks have become mandatory to prevent diseases. It is also necessary to protect our respiratory system while we are present in contact with vapor, gases, dust, or powders. Respiratory protection covers a wide area in the PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT. This protection also includes face shields with respiratory openings, breathing apparatus, powered respirators, detectors, monitors, and full-face respirators. Adequate training regarding the usage is mandatory for complete benefit.
Hearing protection is essential for employees working in an environment of high sound levels. The hearing protection should not only be protective but also comfortable and easy to use. Training on the usage of the equipment is always required. The employer is responsible to offer vide variety of impairments from which the employee can choose the most convenient one. Hearing protection equipment involves earplugs and defenders, noise meters, communication sets, and acoustic foam. In simple, hearing protection is essential to prevent the ear from hearing loss.
Foot protection is basically any equipment used to protect your legs or foot from injury while work or during any activity. Wearing appropriate foot protection whenever there is a risk of injury. Pay attention while walking, running as being careless is the most common mistake that causes injury. Feet support the whole body by carrying all the load, so it’s important to take care of your foot. Different kinds of shoes exist in the market that makes job safer without causing trouble to the foot. Foot protection is mandatory for employees involved in construction activities, working in hot or cold environments, dealing with chemicals, or handling heavy objects.
PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT is all about protecting our bodies. Generally, body protection is necessary when working outdoors. Extreme weather conditions demand complete protection. Body protection is a must for works including high-visibility of users like traffic controlling or some other mining jobs. Chemical contamination can be dealt with safely by using proper body protection. Body protection equipment includes life jackets, high-visibility jackets. Rubber, neoprene, and plastic body suits cover the employees from acids and chemical splashes.
Height and Access Protection
Height and Access protection require proper training in order to benefit from it. Typical PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT to work from heights prevent workers from reaching dangerous edges. Managing the risk of a fall is made easier with appropriate protective equipment. A fall-prevention device is the best one to save you from falling, being cautious of slippery surfaces is appreciated. Training is mandatory to work from heights and it’s the employer’s duty to make the protective equipment accessible to the employees.
Prevention is better than cure. That is why PERSONAL PROTECTIVE equipment is stressed its importance from ancient times. Let us be safe in our workplace as carelessness and lack of awareness can lead to dangerous happenings.