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Control measures 5 - Pesonal protective equipment

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is the least effective occupational hazards and should be used only when other methods cannot control hazards sufficiently. PPE can be uncomfortable, can decrease work performance and can create new health and safety hazards. For example, ear protectors can prevent from hearing warning signals, respirators can make it harder to breathe, earplugs may cause infection, and leaky gloves can trap hazardous chemicals against the skin.

 

PPEs should be used in addition to other control hazards methods. However, if it is impossible to reduce hazards despite of the, elimination, substitution, engineering and administrative controls then PPEs should be used to save lives of workers and even community.

PPE puts a barrier between the worker and the hazard PPE may keep the hazard out, but it also keeps heat and water vapour in the protective clothing, which can cause hot and uncomfortable conditions. When wearing PPE, workers should drink plenty of water and take frequent breaks. In hot or humid working conditions, one should wear PPE for a short time (even as little as ten minutes in very hot conditions). Heat and humidity can also decrease the effectiveness of some protective equipment; for example, a respirator mask may not have a tight seal if your face is wet with perspiration or water.

 

How do you know what type of PPE to use?

The type of PPE you need to use depends on the hazard, how exposure can affect your protection against airborne particles, e.g. stone dust. This filter contain mess to filter out dust.

 

Protection against gases and fumes, e.g. when using paints containing solvents; this filter contains activated carbon.

 

With a combination filter containing both a dust and a gas filter. These masks are examples of the simplest effective respiratory protection.

 

The filter should be replaced when it gets harder to breathe or when it begins to smell. The filter should be replaced frequently.

Make sure that none of the protective gear is made of asbestos!

Protective clothing should fit well in order to give the best protection. Care should be taken while purchasing the PPE and it should be are per the body size of the workers for both men and women. All PPE should be checked for holes or air leakage. Look for signs of leaks, such as dust near the nose, or dust in the nose hairs. If a worker is having bear or large mustache then it is difficult to to get a good seal - if your mask does not have a good seal you cannot breathe in hazards.

Airway respirators, mask

Goggles, glasses, polarizers

Muffs, plugs

Helmets, hats

Special gloves, rubber finger-coats

Work shoes, boots

Chemical resistant clothing, aprons

Against radiation protection

PPEs should be used according to the chemical composition, for example the pesticides can cause serious poisoning, including nerve damage and skin and eye damage, so SCBA (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus) should be used. Use of the appropriate safety PPEs is essential to protect from chemical hazards. The following figures show the wrong and right PPEs during spray of pesticides respectively.


Wrong bearing of PPEs

Sometimes workers use barrier creams to prevent hazards from getting through the skin on their hands and arms. Barrier creams are not very effective and can even cause more exposure to hazards by trapping dusts next to the skin or causing chemicals to get through skin. Barrier creams can help to remove dirt when wash the skin, but they are not a substitute for hazard-specific gloves.
Sometimes workers use barrier creams to prevent hazards from getting through the skin on their hands and arms. Barrier creams are not very effective and can even cause more exposure to hazards by trapping dusts next to the skin or causing chemicals to get through skin. Barrier creams can help to remove dirt when wash the skin, but they are not a substitute for hazard-specific gloves.

In the photo the left side worker is using SCBA (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus) but is devoid of helmet, while right side worker is bearing helmet but is not bearing SCBA so both are having risk, on is having risk of falling object on the head the head and other is having the risk of getting toxic inhalation.

 

Use of PPEs during action of emergency management during toxic gas release which is highly soluble in water is demonstrated in next photos.

Both of the employees in this picture bears the SCBA to protect themselves for toxic gas inhalation, in addition to this the safety shoes are better here to the previous case.

 

Here the PPE includes the whole body cover; the yellow coloured full body cover is the best to work in toxic gases the adjacent employee don't have full body cover so he is not better protected in comparison to yellow one.

 

In the previous photo both workers are having SCBA and for victim they are taking care by providing compressed air. The response team members should have full body protection through comprehensive body cover by all PPEs the best example is shown above where whole team is better protected for any emergency action for toxic releases, because everyone has SCBA, full body cover, helmet, shoes, hand gloves.

 

If we compare the 5 photos with the PPEs, then the PPEs have following orders of betterment i.e.1<2<3<4<5 meaning to say preparedness of the response team is better in the last photo and poor in first.

 

Proper training is needed in the use, care, maintenance and to know limitations of PPE.

Points to remember about personal protective equipment

  • PPE is the least effective method for controlling hazards in the workplace and should be used only when hazards cannot be controlled sufficiently by other methods.
  • PPE can be uncomfortable, decrease work performance, and can create new health and safety hazards. Workers in PPE should take regular breaks.
  • Hot or humid working conditions decrease the effectiveness of PPE. Under these conditions, workers should take frequent breaks and drink plenty of fluids.
  • The type of PPE required depends on the hazard, the way exposure affects the body and the exposure time.
  • If PPE does not fit you well it may not protect you; this is particularly important with respirators. All PPE should be checked for leaks.
  • All workers using PPE should be trained in the proper use, maintenance and limitations of PPE.

 

 
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