Mitigating Workplace Hazards With PPE

On the Birmingham High Speed 2 (HS2) rail link site, for instance, a contractor had a fatal accident. Although emergency services, such as Midlands Air Ambulance, were called, it was discovered that the contractor might not have been wearing enough personal protective equipment, which probably made the situation worse. The possible results of ignoring safety equipment in dangerous work situations are brought home by this incident.

Data from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) that indicates that around 2.3 million people die annually from diseases or accidents connected to their jobs highlights the significance of Personal Protective Equipment statistically even more. With almost 6,000 deaths per day, this emphasizes how urgently thorough safety precautions and equipment are needed.

This blog will discuss the many kinds of PPE available, outlining their particular applications and the laws that control their use. We’ll also discuss the role employers play in providing workers with the right Personal Protective Equipment to reduce risks at work and guarantee their safety. Business owners and safety officials will gain insightful knowledge on how to implement and maintain efficient safety protocols for employees.

Head Protection

Hard hats are the most often worn head protection. They shield against electrical hazards, impacts, and falling objects. They are available as Type II (top and lateral impact protection) and Type I (top-of-head impact protection). Safety standards, including OSHA and ANSI Z89.1, control the impact resistance and electrical insulating properties of hard hats.

Bump caps are lightweight head protection suitable for areas with low overhead hazards. They offer protection against minor bumps, scrapes, and lacerations. Bump caps are not designed to replace hard hats where significant impact hazards exist and may not meet all the same formal safety standards.

There are also specialized helmets for diverse tasks. These include:

  • Welding helmets
  • Firefighting helmets
  • Electrical helmets

Key considerations

Always use head PPE that meets industry and workplace safety standards. ANSI and OSHA specifications require rigorous testing and performance to ensure Personal Protective Equipment provides adequate protection. Proper fit and regular inspections are key to keeping head PPE working properly.

Also Read: Things to Consider While Choosing Safety Helmets

Importance of Respiratory Protective Equipment in Industrial Settings

When a study was conducted way back in 2020 by Global Action Plan and Zehnder Clean Air Solutions in the UK, they found out that 440,000 workers are exposed to harmful air conditions. It is a matter of time before a similar kind of study is witnessed in the USA too. However, the solution lies in the Respiratory protective equipment (RPE). The reason is simple, it can be worn by anyone, it protects the user against all harmful gasses and particulate matter and it is cost effective. Whenever you consider RPE for your work, you can look for:

Air-Purifying Respirators (APRs)

When you look for APRs you will find two common types. Both of them consist of filters or cartridges but their utilities are different. Let’s understand:

  • Disposable filtering facepieces (N95, etc.): We witnessed their importance during the pandemic. They block particulate matter (dust and some airborne pathogens) from entering the air.
  • Half-mask or full-face respirators: This kind of RPE provides higher protection levels and uses replaceable cartridges for filtering glasses, vapours, or particulates.

Atmosphere-Supplying Respirators (ASRs)

ASRs supply clean air from an independent source. Types include:

  • Supplied Air Respirators (SARs): Workers who enter into Confined spaces (tanks or tunnels) with dangerously low oxygen levels or highly toxic contaminants need it. There is a hose which supplies the clean air to the user via a hose.
  • Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA): This equipment is essential for reducing the inhalation of toxins.It enables breathable air in unbreathable environments, such as smoke in a building or toxic gas outbreaks.

Also Read: 5 Trends Driving the Safety Equipment Industry

Compliance and Standards

As a safety officer, selecting Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) requires adherence to key compliances. First, accurately identify workplace hazards to ensure the chosen RPE provides adequate protection. Second, select RPE that suits the wearer, task, and environment, taking into account fit and comfort. Third, ensure all RPE meets legal standards, such as CE marking and specific regulations set by OSHA or local authorities. Finally, consult with employees and safety representatives to ensure the RPE meets their needs and job demands, fostering a collaborative approach to safety.

Face and Eye Protection

Thousands of workers sustain serious eye injuries annually; some even lose their sight. These injuries can be avoided, claims the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), with appropriately chosen and worn eye and face protection.

Understanding Workplace Hazards

  • Impact Hazards: Most eye injuries result from tiny particles like metal slivers or wood chips hitting or scraping the eye. Serious injury can result from these being blown by the wind or thrown from tools.
  • Chemical and thermal burns are common in settings using industrial chemicals or cleaning products. One hospital study conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), for example, reported that workers had eye burns from a cleaning solution containing acetic acid, peracetic acid, and hydrogen peroxide.

Also Read: How India is Tackling Workplace Hazards Head-On?

Selecting the Right Protective Gear

  • Impact and Particle Protection: To guard against flying particles, wear goggles or side shields on ANSI-approved safety glasses.
  • Chemical Burns: When handling hazardous chemicals or cleaning products, wear goggles or face shields to avoid splashes that can damage your eyes.
  • Thermal burns in welding: OSHA mandates that welders wear helmets with properly shaded lenses to guard against sparks and high heat (OSHA Standard §1910.252(b)(2)).
  • Laser Exposure: For jobs involving lasers, it is imperative to wear laser safety goggles that block the particular wavelength, following safety regulations such as §1926.102(c)(2)(i), which outlines the optical density required for protection.

Employers are responsible for ensuring that all employees can access and use the proper kind and quality of protective eyewear. This includes providing equipment to employees at no cost and covering prescription glasses when required.

Prospective Insights

As a Business owner or safety officer,, you face daily challenges in protecting workers from preventable injuries. The recent HS2 site incident and International Labour Organisation data underscore the vital role of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in safeguarding employees. Compliance with safety regulations and proper Personal Protective Equipment use are crucial in mitigating risks. Each workplace has unique hazards that demand tailored safety measures. To enhance your safety protocols effectively, consider hiring a consultant such as Moglix who can help you learn more by providing specialized insights and strategies tailored to your specific needs.

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