Why PPE Is Important In The Workplace.
Why Protective Workwear is Important in the Workplace
Protective workwear in the workplace refers to garments, helmets and goggles. They are designed to protect a worker from airborne matter, chemicals, electrical, heat and biohazards and providing instructions, procedures, training and supervision to encourage people to work safely and responsibly. They are worn for health purposes and job-related occupational safety.
Why protective workwear is important in the work place is that it provides for the safety and reduces a workers exposure to hazards, when administrative and engineering controls cannot reduce the risks to acceptable levels. The practice of using protective workwear has a hierarchy of control that provides a framework that ranks the type of hazard for risk reduction.
The type of hazard, area of body protected and type of accessory or garment categorize protective workwear.
Even where engineering controls and safe systems of work have been applied, some hazards might remain. These include injuries to:
• The lungs, e.g. from breathing in contaminated air
• The head and feet, e.g. from falling materials
• The eyes, e.g. from flying particles or splashes of corrosive liquids
• The skin, e.g. from contact with corrosive materials
• The body, e.g. from extremes of heat or cold
A respirator protects a worker from breathing contaminated air. Respirators are a requirement when a workplace has no adequate ventilation.
Chemical agents through contaminated surfaces, aerosols, splashes or immersion in the workplace cause skin diseases such as skin cancer or contact dermatitis. Ultra violet, high temperatures and solar radiation can damage skin. Mechanical caused trauma can occur as abrasions, contusions, friction, lacerations and pressure. Parasites, plants, animals and microorganisms can also affect the skin and that is why protective work wear is import in the workplace. Strong rubber gloves that are heat or cut resistant and work coats provide protection.
Eye injuries occur in a workplace when solid particles enter the eye. Blunt force injuries, chemical burns, thermal agents and biological agents also contribute to eye injury. Eye protection with high airflow combined with face shields provides protection from all forms of hazards. For both eye and respiratory protection, a full-face piece is recommended.
Noise levels can cause damage to the ears. Why protective work wear is important to the workplace in the manufacturing sector is to minimize industrial noise. Protective work wear for ears consists of earmuffs and earplugs. Protective headgear prevents head injuries to construction site workers.
Foot injuries occur from lacerations, punctures, sprains, crushing, trips, falls and slips. The type of floor in a workplace influences the comfort and safety of workers. A slippery floor can cause accidents resulting to broken foot bones and sprained ankles. Safety boots that are comfortable, with thick soles, steel mid-sole, and a steel toecap provide adequate protection for both men and women.
Chemical or metal splash, dust, projectiles, gas and vapor, radiation
Safety spectacles, goggles, face screens, face shields, visors
Make sure the eye protection chosen has the right combination of impact/dust/splash/molten metal eye protection for the task and fits the user properly
Noise – a combination of sound level and duration of exposure, very high-level sounds are a hazard even with short duration
Earplugs, earmuffs, semi-insert/canal caps
- Provide the right hearing protectors for the type of work, and make sure workers know how to fit them
- Choose protectors that reduce noise to an acceptable level, while allowing for safety and communication
HEAD & NECK
Impact from falling or flying objects, risk of head bumping, hair getting tangled in machinery, chemical drips or splash, climate or temperature
Industrial safety helmets, bump caps, hairnets and firefighters' helmets
- Some safety helmets incorporate or can be fitted with specially-designed eye or hearing protection
- Don't forget neck protection, e.g. scarves for use during welding
- Replace head protection if it is damaged
Oxygen-deficient atmospheres, dusts, gases and vapors
- Some respirators rely on filtering contaminants from workplace air. These include simple filtering face pieces and respirators and power-assisted respirators
- Make sure it fits properly, eg for tight-fitting respirators (filtering facepieces, half and full masks)
- There are also types of breathing apparatus which give an independent supply of breathable air, eg fresh-air hose, compressed airline and self-contained breathing apparatus
- The right type of respirator filter must be used as each is effective for only a limited range of substances
- Filters have only a limited life. Where there is a shortage of oxygen or any danger of losing consciousness due to exposure to high levels of harmful fumes, only use breathing apparatus – never use a filtering cartridge
- You will need to use breathing apparatus in a confined space or if there is a chance of an oxygen deficiency in the work area
HANDS & ARMS
Abrasion, temperature extremes, cuts and punctures, impact, chemicals, electric shock, radiation, vibration, biological agents and prolonged immersion in water
Gloves, gloves with a cuff, gauntlets and sleeving that covers part or all of the arm
- Avoid gloves when operating machines such as bench drills where the gloves might get caught
- Some materials are quickly penetrated by chemicals
- Barrier creams are unreliable and are no substitute for proper PPE
- Wearing gloves for long periods can make the skin hot and sweaty, leading to skin problems. Using separate cotton inner gloves can help prevent this.
FEET & LEGS
Wet, hot and cold conditions, electrostatic build-up, slipping, cuts and punctures, falling objects, heavy loads, metal and chemical splash, vehicles
Safety boots and shoes with protective toecaps and penetration-resistant, mid-sole wellington boots and specific footwear, eg foundry boots and chainsaw boots
- Footwear can have a variety of sole patterns and materials to help prevent slips in different conditions, including oil - or chemical-resistant soles. It can also be anti-static, electrically conductive or thermally insulating
- Appropriate footwear should be selected for the risks identified
Heat, chemical or metal splash, spray from pressure leaks or entanglement of own clothing
Conventional or disposable overalls, boiler suits, aprons, chemical suits
- The choice of materials includes flame-retardant, anti-static, chain mail, chemically impermeable, and high-visibility
- Don't forget other protection, like safety harnesses or life jackets
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