What Is PPE in Safety?
PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is protective clothing and equipment, such as helmets, goggles, gloves, and other items that protect against a variety of workplace hazards.
Every workplace should implement proper hazard protection measures to ensure the safety of all the workers, and PPE is one of the most important factors to consider.
This is because accidents happen, and even the strictest hazard protection measures may not be enough to prevent potential injuries on the worksite.
However, PPE should always be the last line of defense. The most critical steps that every employer must take are assessing the potential risks and hazards, and establishing proper safety measures to address those hazards and reduce, if not completely eliminate, all the safety risks.
8 Types of PPE for Physical Workers
Apart from regular risk assessments, you need to make sure your workers are safe at all times when on an industrial or construction site. The following are eight types of personal protective equipment that you should provide to all your physical workers.
1. Head Protection
To prevent potential head injuries, you need proper hard hats. Head protection equipment includes safety helmets and bump-caps that protect from falling or flying objects, as well as helmets that protect from temperature and dangerous chemicals.
This type of PPE also includes hairnets that prevent hair from getting tangled in particular machinery.
You should never keep head protection equipment in direct sunlight. Also, make sure there are no dents or breaks on the gear, and that you replace it even after the slightest kind of impact.
2. Eye Protection
To prevent vision or eye loss, and any other eye or face injury from potential burns, splashes, flying objects, and chemicals sprays, you need safety goggles, visors, face shields, and face screens.
Before every use, make sure the eye protection equipment has no dents or cracks, and that all the straps are working as they should, so that they can keep the gear firm in its place.
3. Hearing Protection
There are a lot of hearing hazards when operating loud machinery, which is why there is PPE explicitly designed for providing hearing protection.
You can use earmuffs and earplugs to prevent potential hearing problems, including any hearing impairment (partial or total hearing loss). When performing PPE safety checks, make sure the hearing protection equipment fits every worker’s ear canal perfectly.
To achieve this, you should use formable earplugs.
When it comes to ear muffs, make sure they reduce noise to a safe level, but still enable the workers to seamlessly communicate with one another, so that they can remain perfectly safe.
4. Hand and Arm Protection
PPE for hands and arms includes safety gloves, gauntlets, and sleeves that protect the hands and arms from potential burns, cuts, abrasions, chemical burns, fractures, impact, radiation, electric shock, and amputations.
Before each use, make sure that no piece of the hand and arm protection equipment is contaminated in any way. Ensure it has no burns, tears, or residue from harmful chemicals. Also, be sure that all the equipment fits so that they don’t tear or allow for any toxic substance to get in and damage the skin.
5. Foot and Leg Protection
To ensure proper foot and leg protection for your physical workers, you need to provide them with knee caps and the right footwear for different working conditions.
PPE for feet and legs includes safety boots and shoes with protective toecaps and various soles designed for slippery surfaces. It includes footwear that protects against dangerous chemicals, electric shock, penetration, hot and cold fluids, and falling or rolling objects.
Apart from making sure the safety boots fit correctly and are fully resistant to all the hazards, make sure they are not compromised in any way. Check them for potential burns, cuts, and chemical residue. Replace them immediately if you notice any contamination.
6. Body Protection
PPE also includes clothing and equipment for full-body protection. This includes safety vests and jackets, safety pants, aprons, overalls, boiler suits, and various chemical suits. They are designed to protect the body from extreme temperatures, cuts, burns, dangerous chemicals, radiation, and even insect bites.
When performing PPE safety checks for this type of equipment, make sure all the pieces fit every worker and have absolutely no tears, burns, and chemical residue. Make sure they also provide thermal comfort and no movement restrictions.
Again, immediately replace every compromised or contaminated item, ensuring you follow the methods for safe disposal of contaminated equipment.
7. Respiratory Protection
Respiratory protection equipment (RPE) is a type of PPE that is designed for protecting the lungs from various airborne hazards, such as gas, dust, powder, vapor, smoke, fumes, and other dangerous materials.
It includes respirators and disposable face masks that prevent airborne hazards from entering the body and causing respiratory problems. It also includes various types of breathing apparatus for providing oxygen.
Make sure you conduct face-fit tests before providing your workers with any kind of RPE so that the pieces fit them for both comfort and safety. If you plan on utilizing any breathing apparatus, be sure to train your employees to help them use it properly.
8. Fall Protection
PPE for fall protection is designed to prevent physical workers from falling from heights. It includes various safety harnesses, safety lanyards, fall-arrest devices, self-retracting lifelines, and energy absorbers. These all protect from serious injuries or death.
Always make sure the buckles and straps are secured, and that the equipment has no cuts, tears, burns, or any other deformities that could compromise the safety of your workers. Also, never reuse any piece of fall protection equipment after a potential falling incident.
To sum it up
PPE safety checks are vital for ensuring the safety of all your employees. If any piece of personal protective equipment is compromised in any way, you need to dispose of it and get brand new items.
Schedule regular inspections by a professional supervisor who knows how to check for any equipment deformities properly, and educate your employees on safely using all the types of PPE that you utilize.
Don’t forget to conduct regular risk assessments to address any new hazards that may arise and further ensure workplace safety.