Personal Protective Equipments: Only option for safety

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) means any device or appliance designed to be worn or held by an individual for protection against one or more health and safety hazards.
PPE also includes:
• a unit constituted by several devices or appliances which have been integrally combined by the manufacturer for the protection of an individual against one or more potentially simultaneous risks;
• a protective device or appliance combined, separably or inseparably, with personal non-protective equipment worn or held by an individual for the execution of a specific activity;
• interchangeable components which are essential to its satisfactory functioning and used exclusively for such equipment.


Personal Protection implies the provisions and use of various types of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as safety boots, ear protectors, aprons, gloves. As such it may be considered as either last resort, when all other methods of protection have failed or purely as an interim form of protection until the hazard can be eliminated at source or controlled by some form of ‘safe place’ strategy, such as machinery guarding or the installation and use of local exhaust ventilation system. Personal Protective Equipment includes a wide range of equipment worn and used by people at work to protect them from both general and specific hazards. As such, it includes:

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  • Head Protection: Safety Helmets, Bump caps, Caps and Hair nets.
  • Eye Protection: Goggles, Safety Spectacles, hand held or freestanding screens.
  • Face Protection: Face shields, which can be hand held, fixed to helmet or strapped to head.
  • Respiratory Protection: General-Purpose Dust Respirators, Positive Pressure Powered Respirators, Helmet Contained Positive Pressure Respirators, Gas Respirators, Emergency Escape Respirators, Airline Breathing Apparatus, Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus
  • Hearing Protection: Ear Plugs, Ear Defenders, Muffs and Pads, Ear Valves, Acoustic Wool.
  • Skin Protection: Barrier Creams
  • Body Protection: One Piece and Two Piece Overalls, Donkey Jackets, Aprons, Warehouse Coats, Body Warmer, Oilskin Over Clothing, Chemical Clothing.
  • Hand and Arm Protection: General Purpose Fibre Gloves, PVC Fabric Gauntlets, Gloves, Sleeves, Chain Mail Hand and Arm Protectors.
  • Leg and Foot Protection: Safety Boots, Shoes, Wellingtons, Gaiters and Anklets.

As an employer, you must assess your workplace to determine if hazards are present that require the use of personal protective equipment. If such hazards are present, you must select protective equipment and required workers to use it, communicate your protective equipment selection decisions to your workers, and select personal protective equipment that properly fits your workers. You must also train workers who are required to wear personal protective equipment on how to do the following:

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  • Use protective equipment properly,
  • Be aware of when personal protective equipment is necessary, Know what kind of protective equipment is necessary,
  • Understand the limitations of personal protective equipment in protecting workers from injury,
  • Put on, adjust, wear, and take off personal protective equipment, and maintain protective equipment properly.

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Head Protection

Safety signage should be displayed in those areas where the hard hat is required.

There are four widely used types of head protection:

  • Crash Helmets; protect against impact with moving objects
  • Industrial Safety Helmets; protect against falling objects or impact with fixed objects
  • Bump Caps; protect against scalping or entanglement
  • Caps and Hair nets; protect scalping or entanglement

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Much will depend upon type and form of the risk an individual is exposed to in terms of head protection required. For head protection to be suitable, it must fit the wearer properly, be of an appropriate size and have an easily adjustable headband, nape and chin strap. An ideal head protection does not hinder the work being done, and has compatibility with other PPE, such as ear and eye protectors, being worn at the same time. The sizes in which industrial helmets are available in the market:

Type of Head Band Size
Small 500 – 540 mm
Medium 540 – 590 mm
Large 590 -640 mm

Caps have adjustable lace arrangement.

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