Personal Protective Equipment and Work wear are among the most essential and effective safety protocol that is required to be followed by workers and organizations that deal with high-risk environments. High-risk tasks include any workplace from where workers and/or employees can get injured or can contract diseases. Especially in tasks like fire-fighting contact with chemical or radiological pathogens can cause illnesses or can cause injuries and burns. In such scenarios, among many other safety protocols, Personal Protective Equipment and Work wear is an essential tool to ensure safety the employee or worker engaged in it. Some common safety equipment associated with Personal Protective Equipment and Work wear includes helmets, goggles, gloves, respirators.
Every Personal Protective Equipment and Work wear should be designed and constructed with the utmost care. They are also required to be cleaned and maintained periodically. Along with safety, the other major requirement is that it should not affect the worker’s ability to work smoothly.
5 Essential Types Equipment and Work Wear:
Though different fields of work require different Personal Protective Equipment and Work wear, they can be broadly classified into five types. This classification is on the basis of the body part or area to which protection is provided. The classifications have been discussed below.
Respirators– The major purpose of this category of protective equipment is to safeguard one’s respiratory tract. Based on its principle of working respirators can be further divided into two types. The first type of respirator works as a filter. It filters out chemical pathogens in the surrounding air. This filtering can be passive, which does not require any external power source to drive the filtration, or active, which is power driven. Examples of these types of respirators include gas masks and particulate respirators.
The second type of respirators provides protection by using another source to provide clean air to its user. Airline respirators and SCBA, which stands for Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus, are examples of this type of respirators. Respirators are mainly used in the absence of proper and adequate ventilation.
Skin Protectors– As the name suggests, any type of Personal Protective Equipment and Work wear that functions as a layer in-between both skin and the potential hazardous work material can be categorized as skin protectors. Gloves are one of the primary examples of skin protector. Some types of gloves, like rubber gloves, chain-saw gloves, and cut resistant gloves act as PPE. Other examples of skin protectors include lab coats and face shields.
Eye Protectors– Eyes are amid the delicate part of the body and often in hazardous jobs injury to the eye is one of the most common work-related injury. Hence protecting the eyes with the right equipment is essential and eye protector helps in this regard. Different types of eye protection include goggles, face shields, and full-facepiece respirator. In some jobs like welding, it is mandatory to have eye protection.
Hearing Protection– Industrial noise, though often overlooked, is as dangerous as some of the other hazards mentioned in this article. Serious ear damage and suffering of hearing loss is a major occupational hazard even now. Hence, it is imperative to have the proper equipment and precaution to tackle this problem. Earplugs and earmuffs are the most effective PPE to tackle potentially harmful noise.
Ensembles– Ensembles are a group of equipment which is worn together to provide all-round protection from harm. The most popular ensemble is the chainsaw protection that includes anti-vibration gloves, face-guarded helmet, chainsaw-safety boots, and Kevlar chaps.
Personal Protective Equipment and Work wear are important in the present-day work scenario and they rightfully place a lot of importance to the safety of its workers. But these set of tools cannot eliminate the hazard. They can only protect the user from the hazard. So, they must be provided while maintaining other safety protocols. Protocols which significantly reduce the threat from a hazardous source should also be implemented.