Why personal protective equipment is so important

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Employee safety is of paramount importance across all industries. But it’s a particular issue in sectors where machinery and heavy materials are being used and moved around.

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This covers mining, quarrying, building and more. The construction industry alone suffered 30 fatalities in 2018/19. Often, accidents and injuries are caused by the absence of, or failure to properly use, personal protective equipment (PPE).

What is PPE?

PPE can cover a whole range of different protective equipment. The obvious ones are the hard hats you frequently see on building sites and the eye, face and ear protection that may be integrated into a hard hat or worn separately.

Where toxic substances or dust and fumes are present, PPE may include respiratory protection such as face masks and filters. This may be as a supplement to ventilation or extraction systems designed to protect the larger working environment.

Protection of exposed skin, particularly hands, is important too. Skin injuries and diseases like dermatitis can be contracted from working with hazardous materials. It’s common for employers to provide gloves to offer protection. These come in a variety of forms, rubber gloves to protect against chemicals, for example, or heat resistant gloves for those working with hot surfaces or materials. Gloves to provide protection for chainsaw users are available too.

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Hearing protection is vital too. Factories and sites are often noisy environments and hearing damage can build up slowly over time without the individual necessarily being aware of it. Depending on the frequency of the noise, earmuffs or earplugs are likely to be effective protection measures.

Visibility

As well as physically protecting the individual, making sure that others are aware of their presence is vital too. Personnel vehicles used in quarries or on site, for example, can deploy buggy whips from suppliers such as https://wisuk.co.uk/buggy-whip to ensure that they are clearly visible to drivers of larger plant.

Similarly, high-vis clothing can be used to ensure that workers on sites and in public spaces can be clearly seen. These protective items should incorporate a reflective element to ensure that they remain effective in low light conditions and can be picked up by vehicle headlights.

Of course, with any form of PPE, it’s important that rules enforcing its use are properly applied and that workers are aware of their own role in maintaining their personal safety.

 

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