Minimize Exposure To Hazards With Personal Protective Equipment
NO MATTER WHAT YOUR JOB: engineering controls are the first line of defense against occupational injury and fatalities. However, these methods do not always offer the maximum protection for workers, so personal protective equipment (PPE) is crucial. Become familiar with the types of PPE you may be required to use and why it is essential to your health and safety. Often times employees don’t wear their safety equipment because it’s a nuisance to put on or because it’s bulky and uncomfortable. A poorly fitted piece of PPE can cause headache or pain, and if it does, see your supervisor immediately to have it adjusted or refitted. But most of the time it’s just a matter of getting used to wearing these items.
FOOT PROTECTION: also known as steel toe boots, safety toe boots, steel capped boots or safety shoes, is a must for all workers exposed to falling objects and puncture wounds from below. Most shoes will have symbols on the outside to illustrate the type of protection the footwear offers. Select shoes with the proper type of sole to prevent slips, trips or falls.
HAND AND ARM PROTECTION: protects against amputation hazards and harmful materials, depending on the job, you may need leather, canvas, metal mesh, fabric, coated fabric , or chemical and liquid resistant gloves.
HEAD PROTECTION : is required in areas with the danger of impact, falling or flying objects and electrical shock or burn. Be sure to select the proper size, and take good care of the equipment so it doesn’t fail in the event of an accident. In some cases full body protection may be necessary to fully protect against harmful agents in the workplace when required.
HEARING PROTECTION: is crucial in preventing permanent damage. Remember that plain cotton is not an acceptable form of ear protection.
EYES AND FACE PROTECTION: when there is a chance of physical, chemical or radiation damage to the eyes or face you must wear appropriate PPE. Everyday glasses do not qualify and are no excuse for lack of proper protection. Also, request eye and face PPE that fits over Rx eyewear.
RESPIRATORY PROTECTION: is essential because without it , toxins may enter straight into the body. It is important for you to understand how to use this PPE properly and what its limitations are.
Always remember that the use of a PPE does not eliminate potential hazards so always be mindful of your environment.
Loss Control Associate, CEOHR