Personal Protective EquipmentRead why PPE is so important for your safety at work
Why is PPE So Important?
Personal protective equipment (PPE) refers to protective clothing, helmets, goggles, or other garments or equipment designed to protect the wearer’s body from injury or infection. The hazards addressed by protective equipment include physical, electrical, heat, chemicals, biohazards, and airborne particulate matter.
Who should use PPE
Anyone whose job involves any kind of hazard that can be avoided by use of the correct equipment: For example any one who uses noisy tools, or works in a noisy environment should have suitable protection for their ears. Anyone who uses chemicals which could be harmful to the skin should be provided with gloves that are sufficiently strong to protect the skin from any contact and subsequent damage.
Different Types of PPE
Respirators protect the wearer from breathing in contaminants in the air – these are usually either particulate respirators (similar to a traditional gas-mask), or a self-contained breathing apparatus that works as part of a protective suit.
Occupational skin diseases such as contact dermatitis and skin cancers are some of the most common types of occupational disease. These can be caused by many different factors and suitable protection depends on the nature of the risk present; whether the risk comes from airborne particles, liquid, solid or gaseous hazards, or even ultra-violet or solar radiation. Examples include gloves for handling dangerous products, a lab-coat to protect against splashes of hazardous material, up to a full body-suit to protect against radiation.
The eyes are very sensitive to many dangers, the most common industrial incidents usually involve a solid particle of wood, metal or any other solid or hazardous liquid coming into contact with the eye. Other dangers come from very bright light such as when welding, and from overexposure to UV light. In many cases the most popular PPE for the eyes involve glasses, or goggles, although in some cases whole-face shields may be necessary to reduce risk of injury.
Working in a noisy environment can be very hazardous to your health, particularly your hearing. The ear is a very sensitive organ and repeated or constant exposure to loud noise can be very damaging. PPE for hearing protection involves earplugs (foam plugs which are worn within the ear) and earmuffs (which cover the whole ear, providing greater protection.)
Protecting your body from danger when at work is crucial to minimise risk of injury. Any clothing that protects you during your work can be considered to be PPE. For example a beekeeper wears a helmet that keeps bees away from his face, he may also wear strong gloves, or even a fully protective suit to avoid getting stung by the bees. Similarly, a diver will wear a wetsuit or dry-suit to protect him from the cold water. In addition he will have a facemask so that he can see, and gloves to keep his hands warm and protected. All of these, and many more, are examples of protective clothing.
PPE is crucial in the workplace; both for the employer to provide, and the employee to use.
For employers, failure to provide the correct PPE to suit the working environment and to protect from any dangers there in, can leave them open to compensation claims arising from any injury sustained while at work.
For employees, failure to use the provided protection equipment can lead to injury, or even death, and in some cases you may not be covered if you have not used the equipment provided.
Not provided with PPE?
If you’ve suffered after an accident because you were not provided with adequate or suitable PPE, or not given training on how to use your PPE effectively then speak to Mercury Legal online
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