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Gear Up: 7 Types of Personal Protective Equipment

Safety at work should be a priority for both employees and employers. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states, “Under federal law, you are entitled to a safe workplace. Your employer must provide a workplace free of known health and safety hazards.” Therefore, it is every worker’s right to be ensured of safety in the workplace.

One way to be safe is by the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). These are equipment that reduces one’s exposure to dangerous materials and chemicals on-site. They protect every part of the body from contaminants, debris, corrosive liquids and materials, and extreme temperatures. These types of equipment should be provided for workers to guarantee their safety and minimise injuries.

Protection for the head

The primary head protection equipment is a helmet or a hard hat. The protects the head from any falling debris or impact caused by trips and falls. In 2017, 40% of construction accidents were from slips, trips, and falls, and injuries caused by these accidents cause 50% more sick leaves than other fatalities. Helmets and hard hats prevent severe head injuries such as Traumatic Brain Injuries, Concussions, head wounds, etc.

Protection for the eyes

The eyes are one of the most fragile parts of the body, and it is also vulnerable to chemicals and dirt. A lot of chemical reactions often take place in the construction industry.  Safety glasses protect the eyes from foreign objects floating in the air, radiation, and UV light. These cause irritation, eye strains, burns, and scratches. Wearing safety glasses will avoid the long-term effects of irritants.

Protection for the ears

Being surrounded by machines causes a ruckus of loud sounds. High levels of noise can burst the eardrums and cause long-term effects on one’s hearing. Wearing earplugs or earmuffs protects the ears from harsh sounds by blocking or drowning them out.

Protection for the lungs

Airborne chemicals and particles can get in the nose and affect the lungs. Dust, for example, can cause airway irritation, asthma exacerbation, inflammatory reactions, and fibrosis as they enter the respiratory system. Exposure to harmful particles can be reduced by wearing a mask as it filters the air before entering the nose.

Protection for the hands

carpenter holds wooden planks

The hands have the most contact with any material or equipment used at work. This is also a very functional part of the body, especially for labour-intensive work, so make sure to always protect the hands by wearing a pair of gloves. They eliminate risks from sharp objects, bacteria, chemicals, burns, and a lot more.

Protection for the feet

There could be sharp and abrasive objects on the floor, and the feet need sturdy protection from safety shoes and boots to avoid penetration. They should also prevent slips and trips by having an antiskid sole or shoe claws, especially if the workplace is slippery and wet.

Protection for the body

Workers should be visible to each other on-site to prevent accidents such as traps and collisions. A first-aid hi-vis vest is fluorescent and reflective. It stands out even from a distance and in low-light areas. Heavy machinery operators and other workers who handle dangerous equipment can avoid people when they see them.

Simply gearing up properly at work saves lives and exponentially eliminates potential dangers in the workplace. One should not neglect the importance of PPEs on-site because it can avoid injuries from the smallest degree to the most dangerous ones.

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