Personal protective equipment, PPE, is equipment designed to protect workers against potentially harmful pathogens or substances. There are many types of PPE, all intended for protection against specific materials.
ICU Production provides PPE products that are CDC and FDA certified to protect against liquid, droplets, and airborne viruses. PPE is defined as any wearable gear that protects workers from hazardous materials.
Types of PPE
There are many kinds of PPE designed to provide either partial or full body protection. Some are better suited to low-risk environments, while others are fabricated for scenarios with a high risk of exposure to hazards or harmful pathogens. Types of PPE include:
This can include full or half respirators, face masks, face shields, hoods, helmets, and visors. Workers in high-risk situations need to be trained to swiftly put on a breathing apparatus when hazardous material has already spread.
Eye and Face Protection
Eye protection can encompass safety glasses, goggles, face shields, and visors. These are primarily to protect from impact injuries or to prevent droplets from entering the body through the eyes.
Hearing protection can include headphones, earplugs, or earmuffs and should be provided to workers exposed to noise levels exceeding 85 dB. Employers should conduct regular noise assessments to determine the decibel level in a workplace to assess the necessary type of hearing protection.
Safety gloves are the primary form of hand protection. There are different glove materials available from PPE providers like ICU Productions, and each material offers unique protective qualities. For healthcare workers dealing with pathogens or bacteria, latex gloves offer the most secure protection.
Construction workers, manufacturing employees, or those in a lab can benefit from nitrile gloves’ chemical resistance. Workers in the food industry may find vinyl gloves to be sufficient and more affordable.
Foot protection can include special boots or boots with a steel toe, depending on the work environment. It can also include disposable foot coverings to prevent cross-contamination.
What is Not PPE?
Some clothing or gear provided to workers does not qualify as PPE. These include items like:
- Clothing provided to maintain food hygiene
- Self-defense weapons
- Equipment for travel on public roads (like bicycle or motorcycle helmets)
- Work uniforms that do not contribute to worker health and safety
Why Is PPE Important?
PPE is considered the last line of defense for risk control in a workplace. It is used when other health and safety measures in place may prove insufficient to protect the workers and plays a critical role in preventing and reducing workplace illnesses, injuries, and fatalities.
Safety is a significant issue for labor boards. To reduce the number of workplace accidents due to hazards, PPE must be worn according to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) standards.
PPE In Healthcare
In a healthcare setting, PPE creates a protective barrier between workers and potentially infectious agents or materials. Law requires employers to provide employees with the appropriate PPE to protect against the level of risk associated with their role. Employees should also receive proper training on using the PPE provided, including how to put it on and remove it safely.
It’s also essential that employers and employees understand which kinds of PPE are appropriate for specific situations. Different materials provide better protection against certain pathogens or hazardous materials than others.
For example, in healthcare, the type of gloves and gowns provided to employees must reflect the nature of the work they’re completing. Gowns are rated level 1-4 according to the type of fluid or particulate exposure related to the healthcare job.
OSHA mandates that wherever PPE is being used, training should be implemented. Topics addressed in training should include:
- When PPE is necessary?
- The appropriate PPE for the position and situation
- Putting it on, adjusting it correctly, and safe removal
- Proper disposal methods
OSHA issues certifications for successful completion of Personal Protective Equipment training courses. Course lengths vary from one hour to ten or thirty hours. The requirements for training depend on your occupation and position. Most training courses can be completed online.
PPE is a critical part of workplace safety and keeps workers safe when hazards cannot be eliminated from the environment.
Providing proper PPE and training on how to use it is essential for all occupations and industries. For high-quality PPE, choose ICU Productions. We stock a vast range of personal protective equipment products for healthcare professionals and other businesses to ensure your company is OHSA compliant and your employees are safe.