Keeping your workers safe is one of your top priorities. One of the ways you can ensure they’re protected on the job is by requiring them to wear personal protection equipment (PPE). There are dozens of different forms of PPE, each with their own purposes. Some will be suitable for your workplace environment; others won’t. It’s important to understand the different types of PPE so you can ensure your employees are always safe on the job.
Here are the most common PPE for workers, and some additional ways you can keep your workforce safe while on the job.
Your eyes are vulnerable to a wide array of injuries on the job. Chemicals can splash in them, laser radiation can enter them, and flying debris can scratch them. Depending on what your company does, you might need one, two, or all of these types of eye and face PPE. The most basic level of eye protection is general safety glasses. These are the minimum level of protection lab workers must wear, but they aren’t effective for protecting your eyes from splashes. They only cover the eyes from splashes coming from directly in front of the eyes, not from the peripherals.
For stronger protection, look for heavy-duty protective eyewear. Laser safety glasses are sold with different wavelength protection levels; laser safety goggles filter all levels of light that enter them. Chemical splash goggles prevent any chemicals from entering the eyes by sealing the goggles around your eye area. They usually have an elastic strap that goes around the head to keep the seal tight. Plus, they can also protect the eyes from some types of flying debris.
Impact goggles protect the eyes from all sorts of flying debris, from sawdust to glass. However, they come with ventilation holes on the sides, which makes them unsuitable for protecting you from chemical splashes. The last eye and face protection option is face shields. These are often worn in conjunction with other eye PPE and are crucial when working with chemicals that damage the skin upon contact.
If your workers handle various chemicals, animals, or objects with extreme temperatures, hand protection is a must. The minimal level of hand protection is latex and vinyl gloves that provide a thin barrier between the hands and the substance. They’re often used by companies that work with biological hazards like body fluids, specimens, and bloodborne pathogens. You can also get different levels of chemical resistant gloves that are designed to protect you from corrosive liquids and flammable compounds. They’re also useful when working with air- or water-reactive chemicals and objects under pressure. Heavy chemical resistant gloves protect your hands from large volumes of dangerous liquids and solvents, as well as hazardous material spills.
If your employees work with chemicals or objects with extreme temperatures, it’s important to have insulated gloves. Perhaps they work with hot liquids, open flames, hot oil, or cryogenic liquids. Lastly, if your field of work includes working with animals, your employees should have wire mesh gloves. These protect their hands from small-medium sized animal bites and scratches.
There are different types of body coats and jumpsuits that protect workers from different substances and materials. The traditional cotton or polyester white coats work best for protecting workers from dirt, ink, and light chemicals. The next level of body protection would be flame resistant suits that do as the name says: protect works from catching fire. If your employees work with explosive chemicals, flame resistant suits are crucial. There are also suits called barrier coats that aren’t flame-resistant but do protect the body from infectious materials and chemical splashes.
Another form of body protection is designed to protect the skull: helmets. There are tons of different types of helmets for different needs. Perhaps your employees work in construction, with hoists, in blasting, or where objects can fall from above. These are all cases that suggest employees should wear protective headgear. There are crash helmets, safety helmets, bump caps, and hairnets to protect the head from various hazards.
Do your employees work with oil misters or other air-borne chemicals? Protecting their lungs is just as important as protecting their skin. To do this, you need adequate respiratory PPE. It’s important to note that respiratory PPE is considered the last line of defence. Your workplace should already be doing everything possible to keep the air clean and safe to breathe.
Respiratory PPE includes surgical masks, respirators, and the cartridges that go in the respirators. Surgical masks are only useful for protecting you from large droplets of chemicals or substances. If your workers are using fumes, dust, and mites, they need some level of respirator. You can choose between half-face, full-face, and N-95 respirators. The full-face option provides the most protection and requires the right cartridge for the materials they’re working with.
Over 360,000 Canadians suffer from tinnitus and hearing loss today. For many of those people, it’s due to not wearing proper hearing PPE on the job. The level of noise exposure your workers spend time in determines the level of PPE they need. You might only need to provide disposable earplugs to your employees. If the sound exposure is constant and intense, it’s safer to use reusable earplugs. You can also get bands that hold the earplugs around your neck when not in use for easy access. If you’re not sure what level of noise exposure exists in your workplace, get a noise survey done. A technician will bring in a sound level meter to measure the decibels above 85. At 85 decibels, it’s required for workplaces in Ontario to provide hearing PPE.
Besides requiring your employees to wear PPE, there are things you can do to make your workplace safer in the short and long term. In the short term, keep your work environment clean and clutter-free. Remove tripping and slipping hazards and implement systems that prevent injuries. For example, if the noise exposure is loud, train your employees to use hand signals to let each other know of hazards.
In the long term, use the right protective equipment in your workplace. For companies that work with oil mist, you need an oil mist collector. When your employees are exposed to oil mist on the job, they can develop severe diseases and illnesses. Some of which are bronchitis, dermatitis, and damage to their respiratory system. Using oil mist collectors keep the air clean and your employees safer than just using PPE.
Are you interested in getting an oil mist collector for your workplace? AMT Machine & Tools has been selling high-quality oil mist collectors to Canadian businesses since 1964. Our inventory of Filtermist mist collectors is state-of-the-art and reliable. Keep your workers safe by protecting them from the dangers of oil mist inhalation.
To inquire about getting your oil mist collector, send us a message or call us today: (416) 675-7760.