Definition – What does Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) mean?
Personal protective equipment (PPE) refers to the kind of devices worn by the worker to protect against hazards in the environment. PPE prevents the worker to contact with a hazardous agent or equipment by creating a barrier between the potential hazardous material and the healthcare worker and substantially protects them from risks of injury or illness. Several types of PPE is being used in the workplace depending on their specification and application, for example, respirators, gloves, and hearing protectors.
HSS WORLD explains Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
The preliminary occupational techniques for preventing worker exposure to hazardous resources are engineering and administrative controls. In addition, OSHA recommends the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce worker exposure to occupational hazards when engineering and administrative controls are not feasible or efficient to reduce these exposures to satisfactory levels. In an organization, employers are responsible to decide if PPE should be used to protect their workers.
Some common hazards with the corresponding PPE are enlisted below:
1) Head hazards- A variety of helmets, hard hats, and bump caps are suitable PPE to avoid head hazards.
2) Eyes hazards- PPE ranges with safety eyeglasses, goggles, face-shields, and visors.
3) Breathing hazards- Respiratory systems/apparatus, air-fed helmets are some PPE options for breathing hazards.
4) Body hazards- Typical coveralls, boiler suits, and specifically designed protective clothing can be chosen as effective PPE.
5) Feet and legs hazards- Preventive action can be taken by using safety boots/shoes, and penetration-resistant mid-sole, gaiters, leggings, spats etc.
6) Hands and arms hazards- Potential PPE includes hand gloves, gauntlets, mitts, wrist-cuffs, armlets etc.
In an organization, a workplace assessment is necessary to find out the potential hazards and select the appropriate PPE for adequate protection of the workers. Therefore, the workers should be trained with potential topics of knowledge which comprises the proper PPE for their work, when this PPE should be used, how to wear, adjust, maintain, and discard this equipment, and the shortcomings of the PPE. All training must be documented by the corresponding Healthy and Safety Department in the organization.