Is it really necessary to wear PPE? What is making us go for it? 

We have listed everything that you need to know about PPE! Let’s cash in!

We will give you an idea of the risk that you have to face if you start working without the necessary protections. We are going to talk about the jobs where it is mandatory to use the PPE.

Also, you will get the idea of what is the protective gear included under PPE and how it helps you to stay safe.

Now let’s focus our attention on the most important question, what is PPE?

PPE- A Brief You Should Know!

PPE is the abbreviated version of Personal Protective Equipment. These different pieces of equipment worn on different parts of the body help you to survive any harmful situation that might occur in your workplace. You might fall ill or get injured if you come in contact with electrical, chemical, radiological, mechanical or any kind of physical hazard occurring in your workplace.

Items like earplugs, safety glasses, gloves, shoes, respirators, full-body suits, hard hats, and vests are examples of the pieces of equipment that are important for workers to wear.

Discussing the Importance of PPE-

Staying safe is not just a choice but a necessity for workers and laborers in construction, maritime and general industries. The purpose of imposing the use of the equipment is to make sure that employees are not in any kind of danger.

It reduces the risk of getting injured in a way that is not possible to control with administrative and engineering controls. Wear the necessary equipment, and you will be able to stay safe from falling debris and not slip on wet floors.

Let us now discuss how the equipment can save you if you work in construction sites.

Protect the Eyes-

 When you want to save yourself from a falling object, you use your arms as your shield to protect your head. That is just your instinct. But when you are working in a hazardous situation, you need to protect your eyes as well. Full-face shield, safety goggles, and spectacles can give you the protection needed to protect your face or your eyes.

Wearing the equipment, you can work welding metals, cutting woods, or operate air tools as it will protect your face from any harm. Workers who do not get trained to work in the fields mentioned can also wear the goggles as debris is not that hard to find in a construction site.

Protecting Your Hand-

 If you believe the reports, skin disease is a common occurrence in construction work. Skin diseases like skin cancer and dermatitis are the second most recorded problem of construction workers along with minor cuts or injuries. Medical costs for curing major skin aliments are too much for any construction worker to bear. That is why you must rely on protective gloves to give you relief from these skin problems.

The types of gloves that are under PPE are cut resistant, heat resistant, rubber, and chainsaw gloves. If you are wearing specific gloves, you can work with electricity, chemical, slippery objects, glass, and other harmful materials without having to worry about your skin or hurting your hand.

Protect Your Head-

Head is perhaps the most important body part that you have to protect while working in the construction. If you stand directly under a falling object, you cannot do anything to save your head because you cannot see the danger approaching. If the object hits you, it will become a bloody affair as it will split open the top of your head.

The easiest way to save yourself from this nasty situation is by wearing a hat that fits your head properly. Sometimes hard hats are accompanied by earmuffs and face shields. If your work needs you to wear such hats, please do not hesitate to do so.

Protect Your Ears-

Ears exposed to harsh industrial noise also get considered as a hazard. In the US, about twenty-two million workers face the threat to lose their hearing ability from the noises at their workplace.

 Data released by NIOSH shows that about 82% of cases regarding hearing loss at the workplace happened to workers who work in manufacturing. NIOSH has recommended that the noise level at workplaces to get reduced below 85 decibels for employees working around eight hours.

Earmuffs and earplugs are some safety equipment that can protect your ears, but you have to know when to use them. Use earmuffs when you work around high-frequency sound and use earplugs when you need to save your ears from low-frequency sounds.

Security for Respiratory-

You will have to take measures for protecting your lung along with your head, hand, skin, ears, eyes, and face. Elements like pesticides, fumes dust, and paint sprays can mess with your respiratory organs and cause you a lifetime illness.

Safety gears like respirators can help you to stop inhaling such harmful elements present in the air. Do not risk the safety of your lungs; use the protective element when proper ventilation is not available.

Feet Needs Protection Too-

Feet run the risk of getting crushed in construction sites if you do not wear the proper boots for the job. Apart from protecting the feet from falling objects, it also gives you the grip and security that you need to walk around in slippery surfaces. Water-resistant boots keep your feet dry all day, and the superior quality rubber outsole protects your feet from electric hazards.

Feet injuries are very common in workplaces, and these safety boots alone can save your foot from getting pierced by sharp objects, and incurring an injury from bumping into concrete objects lying around the ground.

Properly Using the PPE-

If you are an employer, the burden of ensuring the proper design and construction of safety design falls on you. Not just that, the equipment needs to get cleaned and maintained properly. After wearing the essential equipment, the worker has to feel comfortable; otherwise, the use of the equipment gets completely wasted.

Necessary- Yes/ No

The PPE serves as a lifeline for the workers when matters are not in your hands to manipulate the circumstance in favor of your workers. Many hazardous situations threaten your workers’ safety, and you cannot give them any extra protection; so it becomes essential that your workers have access to PPE.

But giving your workers PPE does not end your job, you will have to introduce them properly to the equipment so that they know what and how to use them.

How to Teach Them?

If you want your employees to use PPE, you will have to include a training session to give them the knowledge. You will have to give your workers an idea about-

  • When to use the PPE
  • The type of equipment that is required by them
  • The proper ways to wear it, adjust it, and remove the equipment
  • How much the equipment will be able to protect
  • Caring for the equipment
  • Maintenance of the equipment
  • How to dispose of the equipment

In the sessions you hold for PPE, you will also have to teach your employees how they will access a possibly hazardous situation and how they can come up with the solution on their own. You will also have to test them to ensure that they have understood everything discussed in the training session.

Who Pays for the PPE?

OSHA requires employers to pay for the equipment that could be the only way of saving employees from dangerous and terrible work-related accidents. Equipment like goggles, safety shoes, hard hats, welding helmets, safety glasses, equipment that protects employees from falls and harmful chemicals, and face shields are all to be paid by the employers to make sure that the all the equipment are according to the standards set by OSHA.

Only safety-toe protective boots and safety glasses made using prescription are not to be paid by the employers as they get regarded as personal items of the wearer and get worn outside the job.

Why Is It Safe To Wear PPE?

PPE can be a lifesaver when you are facing a hazardous work situation. Remember, you will not get any compensation for getting injured from your employer if you get injured without wearing your PPE. It is not worth all the trouble; simply put on the protective equipment and stay safe from unpleasant injuries at the workplace.

You do not have super-human strength to save yourself from falling objects. You can not prevent your skin from reacting to harmful chemicals. Since these injuries can influence long-term illness, you are better at wearing PPE and getting to work. Using proper equipment will help you stay safe if you ever get exposed to asbestos fiber.

Since your head, eyes, ears, hand, feet remain well-protected, you will find it very hard to concentrate on anything else than work. Put your complete attention to work and let the safety equipment keep you safe.

Our Thoughts-

We know how much danger (some seen, some unseen) you have to face regularly when you step out to earn your living. We wanted to give you an idea of how harmful some situations are or can be in the future. Hopefully, our emphasis on the importance of protective equipment that fits you correctly will help you.

Cristina Macias
Cristina Macias is a 25-year-old writer who enjoys reading, writing, Rubix cube, and listening to the radio. She is inspiring and smart, but can also be a bit lazy.