All workers face a certain level of risk in their jobs. While some professions are inherently more dangerous than others, there is no guarantee that you won’t become injured or ill due to unforeseen circumstances at work. Contact with chemicals, physical objects, electrical components, medical equipment, and other hazards can result in serious illnesses.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is a term used to describe materials that people wear to protect themselves from potential workplace hazards. The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has guidelines and requirements for employers to adhere to when it comes to protective equipment.
The FDA regulates much of this equipment and recognizes standards set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Employers are responsible for providing adequate PPE for their workers.
PPE has been in the spotlight recently due to the COVID-19 pandemic because it played a pivotal role in virus control strategies worldwide. However, it is extremely important for workplace safety to continue using PPE whether or not there is a pandemic. From surgical gowns to N95 face masks, PPE reduces the risk of disease transmission and unnecessary injuries in the medical, automotive, chemical, and construction industries.
How PPE Keeps You Safe
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) directory of PPE. It details numerous forms of PPE, with specialist equipment designed for specific uses, including:
Face masks, such as N95 respirators, are critical to protect workers on sites where there is a possibility of toxic airborne pathogens. These masks filter dust, debris, and harmful substances, reducing the risk of respiratory illness.
Face and Eye Protection
People’s faces and eyes are particularly vulnerable to damage on construction sites or in surgery rooms. On construction sites, face shields and goggles protect workers’ eyes from loose debris. In hospitals, face shields and surgical masks prevent air and bloodborne pathogens and harmful substances from being transmitted between medical professionals and patients.
Hand and Skin Protection
Hand injuries are very common in construction and manufacturing. Gloves and other forms of hand protection are worn to minimize the risk of severe illness or injury. Exposure to chemicals and other occupational hazards may not cause immediate injury but can contribute to severe long-term diseases like skin cancer or dermatitis. Professionals in laboratories, hospitals, warehouses, and other dangerous workplaces wear chemical-resistant gloves to protect their hands and skin.
Head and Hearing Protection
Earplugs and earmuffs are used routinely on construction sites and in noisy work environments to prevent hearing loss. Hard hats are essential in warehouses, construction sites, and some manufacturing industries to help workers avoid devastating head trauma.
How to Ensure Employees Are Kept Safe
Ensuring the safety of your employees isn’t easy. Organizations must determine what and how much PPE they need, where to source it, and how to comply with regulations. The best way to do this is to implement a PPE plan. This involves six key steps.
Survey the Workplace
Inspect the work environment and perform a safety audit. Factors to consider include exposed wiring, obstructions, emergency exit access, and employee behavior.
Implement Pre-Contact Control Measures
Take action to reduce any risks discovered in the safety audit.
Choose the Right PPE
Select appropriate PPE that will protect workers against potential injuries or hazards. For example, if the worksite doesn’t have adequate ventilation for particular tasks, ensure to purchase respirators and face masks for employees.
Ensure a Good Fit
Ill-fitting PPE can become a safety hazard. Apart from one-size-fits-all or adjustable equipment like surgical masks, all items should be fitted to the individual employee.
Employees must be trained to use PPE correctly. This includes putting on and taking it off safely. Medical PPE, like surgical gowns, can become contaminated as someone dons it. Workers should also be taught how to identify PPE problems and dispose of used PPE properly.
To ensure safety standards are maintained, employers should carry out regular audits to ensure PPE is adequate and that the program is being implemented effectively.
Purchase Quality PPE
After creating a PPE program for your business, ensure that your employees experience maximum protection by purchasing quality PPE from a reliable source. ICU Productions Inc. provides premium PPE for various industries, including medical, retail, and chemical. Some of the equipment we stock include masks, gloves, face shields, gowns, and hand sanitizer.
For more information about our full product range, explore our website.