April 28th is the official Day of Mourning in Alberta, for those who have lost their lives in workplace accidents. Following along that thought, let’s all take the time to do everything we can to prevent workplace incidents from happening. Today’s posts highlights some PPE (personal protective equipment) options to be aware of. The following post was provided to me by Dennis Kaminski, the founder of SafetyMart.
Personal protective equipment isn’t something that most people get too excited about. But when you work in a field where there is a high risk for potential injury, PPE can mean the difference between feeling comfortable in a potentially dangerous work environment and feeling afraid of possible injuries. That being said, certain fields require the use of safety clothing to protect the skin from burns or exposure to harmful chemicals. Careers like welding or fabrication often require the use of FR safety clothing in addition to respirators to avoid exposure to toxic gases and fumes. Without the right safety clothing and gear, these workers could sustain life threatening injuries and exposures.
Selecting the Right Safety Clothing and Equipment for the Job
Careers which expose employees to loud noises should provide ear protection at the very least to employees–that’s a no-brainer. But deciding the right ear protection and maintaining that ear protection can sometimes be tricky. People who work in the entertainment industry or industrial jobs may find that custom ear molds are optimal for the work they do because they protect the ears from noise above and below a certain decibel. Other industrial employees may find simply foam rubber earplugs provide the protection they need for their ears.
Safety clothing for specific fields is also incredibly important. Fire resistant safety clothing for those who deal with welding, fabrication, or other tools which can generate heat or flying metal or debris are essential for protecting the skin from serious burns. Fire resistant clothing is offered in a variety of different types. There are some that are treated with a FR chemical after manufacture, and others which are actually made of FR fibers weaved throughout the material. Whichever type of FR clothing is used, there are some important steps which must be taken to properly care for these garments to help maintain the FR rating. They may be washed, but often fabric softeners cannot be used on these clothing without compromising the fire resistance. Check with the manufacturer for specific care instructions of fire resistant clothing.
Respirators are another important piece of personal protective equipment. Many fields work with chemicals or metals which can give off toxic gases or fumes. Inhaling these gases can cause immediate injury and health consequences in some cases. In others, the cumulative effects can take a long time to begin to show symptoms, but are potentially life-threatening (i.e. mesothelioma as a result of breathing in asbestos). This is why respirators are crucial to have in some fields. Some respirators provide coverage to the entire face. Others simply cover the nose and mouth. A lot of respirators require users to be completely clean-shaven so there are no gaps between the surface of the respirator and the surface of the skin. Proper respirator training is something that should be performed regularly.
Personal Protective Equipment and safety clothing aren’t just a want for many careers–they are a necessity. The right PPE and clothing can not only keep employees feeling safe and secure in their desired careers, but they can also mean the difference between a healthy lifestyle and one that is riddled with health complications as a result of their jobs.