It is the duty of employers to ensure the safety of their employees on a daily basis and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) plays a big part in this.
PPE workwear supplies come in different forms and guises, from facemasks and nitrile gloves to other safety clothing such as coveralls, and should only be procured from reputable sources. Certain garments are suitable for some tasks but not others and it is vital to understand the risks your workforce will encounter in doing their jobs.
The purpose of PPE is to protect your workforce from exposure to hazards that can cause all manner of injuries, some fatal. Depending on their role and the industry sectors they are operating in, some workers will need to be properly protected against extreme heat or cold, others from chemical spillages, the danger of electrical currents and certain machinery … the list goes on.
Having the right PPE to do that takes careful consideration. It must adhere to industry regulations and guidelines, otherwise PPE safety is compromised.
Taking construction PPE as an example, hard hats are essential. OSHA Standard 1926.100(a) states that employees working in areas where there is a possible danger of head injury from impact, or from falling or flying objects, or from electrical shock and burns, shall be protected by protective helmets. Eye and face protectors are other commons forms of construction PPE as drilling and metal and woodwork in general can lead to risk of injury from flying debris.
Construction sites and other workplaces may have less obvious dangers not necessarily visible to the naked eye. Without ear defenders, exposure to loud noises could lead to hearing loss or debilitating conditions such as Tinnitus. Ear plugs may be sufficient or earmuffs that cover the whole of the era may be more appropriate. Either way, decisions over what type of PPE safety gear is needed should be made on the back of a comprehensive risk assessment carried out by a qualified person.
Food and beverage PPE plays a key role in helping to avoid the spread of invisible but harmful bacteria, which could not only make your workforce unwell but also consumers, leading to significant reputational damage as well as possible legal action.
Protective gloves are essential to avoiding cross-contamination and are made up of different materials, from nitrile to latex, Some can be powder-coated and others not, and they may even come in different colours for very good reasons. Bright orange gloves are normally found in stockpiles of Manufacturing PPE as they can offer increased visibility and safety, especially when working with machinery, or in low level lighting.
Following the global COVID-19 pandemic, hospital health workers have become all too familiar with respirators, which fit tightly creating a facial seal and therefore offering two-way protection between the wearer and those in close proximity to them.
Again, there is a wide variety of NHS PPE of this nature available on the market, but one characteristic all surgical face coverings have is that they are fluid-resistant and form a barrier against potentially infected droplets.
With PPE clothing and PPE workwear, it is important to remember that not one size fits all. Workwear and protective clothing comes in all shapes, sizes, materials and weights to ensure a person involved in a specific task or environment is adequately protected and comfortable.
As such, PPE should be allocated specific to the wearer. PPE clothing and PPE workwear that is too big or small will not do the job they are intended to do – protect the wearer – and will also make the person overly uncomfortable, and possibly distracted, in doing their job.
Face fit testing and training is provided by reputable PPE suppliers such as Stronghold Global and can prevent this happening. Meanwhile, Stronghold Global’s workwear procurement portal provides a single-point access to thousands of different PPE items and garments, with a wide range of of sizes to suit everyone.