Wellbeing of employees within the premises of an industrial workplace is the responsibility of the management. In order to ensure the well-being of employees, the management must provide them basic personal protective equipment. These safety equipment offer additional protection to the employees in the workplace.
What Is Personal Protective Equipment?
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) means any equipment that protects the wearer or the user and keeps him/her safe from any external safety and health risks. Disposable gloves, hard hat type helmets, face protection, aprons, shoe covers, earplugs are some examples of PPE that are used in the day-to-day line of work in an industrial workplace. However, it is a common misconception that PPE is only worn or used by employees involved in construction, mining, energy, or industries similar to these.
PPE can be worn by anyone; for example, by the housekeeping department of the hospitality industry or the cleaning department of offices to keep the staff safe from the onslaught of harsh chemicals used for sanitation. Once the cleaners are safely tucked away behind the protective gear, they can give undivided attention to the work at hand. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the United States Department of Labor states that the workers can sustain injuries and suffer from illnesses, a result of contact with physical, radiological, chemical, or electrical hazards in an industrial workplace.
Personal Protective Equipment: Types and Uses
There are a number of PPE available in the market, assigned to the protection of a particular body part or the whole body.
PPE for Eyes:
According to OSHA, each year thousands of employees are blinded due to fatal injuries sustained at work, which could have been prevented if the management provided the workers with proper eye protection. Treatment of eye injuries is an expensive affair for the company, costing over $300 million dollars annually, including medical expenses, lost production time, and employee compensation. OSHA has therefore made it mandatory for employers to provide all employees PPE in line with their work environment during their shift hours.
Our eyes can be exposed to chemicals, dust, gas, vapor, radiation, electrical or fire sparks, and metal splashes. Therefore it is important for an employee to wear the correct protective gear for eyes according to the requirements based on his/her work environment. Additionally, the equipment must be of good quality to ensure protection against chemical splashes, dust, and electrical sparks. Depending on the work conditions and requirements, the management can choose from the below-mentioned protective gears for eyes:
Face Screens, etc.
PPE for Ears:
Each year approximately 22 million workers are exposed to workplace noise which is damaging to our ear and its internal systems. Due to the absence of right PPE for ears, in 2017 the industrial sector of the United States had to shell out $1.5 million as damage cover for failing to protect the workers from workplace noise. It has been estimated that around $242 million is spent each year as compensation for an employee with hearing loss.
An industrial workplace is very noisy and this is the biggest hazard to the well being of our ear canals and the inner sensitive parts of this essential organ. PPE like semi-insert canal caps, earmuffs, earplugs are widely available to provide the necessary protection against loud noise.
PPE for Head and Neck
Head and neck can sustain a number of injuries that can result from head bumps, impact with flying or falling objects, hair getting tangled in machinery, heat, chemical splashes, and many more risks. PPE for head and neck ensures protection from all the above risks and more. Industrial safety helmets, hard hats, bumps caps, scarves offer head as well as neck protection. Additionally, these PPEs can also be customized to be fitted with face and eye protection.
PPE for Respiratory Protection
Respiratory Protective Equipment or RPE such as respirators protect the lungs of workers from harmful dust, smoke, fog, mist, gases, sprays, & vapors, and also help them to breath in an environment with insufficient oxygen content. Apart from respirators, dust masks also help avert lung impairment and lung disease of an individual.
PPE for Hands and Arms
A range of gloves, including disposable gloves, industrial gloves, latex disposable gloves, nylon disposable gloves, are available in the market for the protection of hands from industrial, chemical, thermal, or mechanical hazards. Along with hand protection, it is also necessary to protect the arms by wearing protective arm sleeves.
Each and every industry comes with its own set of industrial rules and regulations to protect its workers and employees from harm within the premises of the workplace. However, there is always a safety risk to the employees, no matter how many rules are applied to negate it. Personal Protective Equipment such as disposable gloves, dust masks, disposable wears is provided to the workers to offer additional protection and also to minimize these risks that plague an industrial workplace.