Fortunately, according to Osha statistics, the occupational injury rate had decreased from 10.9% in 1972 to 2.8% in 2019. The good news is that this number will significantly drop with more appropriate measurements in the coming years.
One of the most important measures that remarkably reduce occupational injuries is the appropriate personal protective equipment in the workplace.
For example, these days, due to the prevalence of COVID-19, many of us, especially healthcare personnel, have to wear the N-95 mask. The importance of the proper function of these masks is such that a test called Respirator Fit Test is defined for this purpose. Doing this test helps us to know if the mask is working properly or not.
In the following, we will define the personal protective equipment, how to choose, monitor, and its types. We also look at what employees and employers should do to enhance occupational safety.
There are still hazards, even when all the necessary protective measures are taken in the workplace, for example:
So, we always need to use the appropriate personal protective equipment based on the workplace’s needs.
Personal protective equipment, called PPE, minimizes the risk of exposure to hazards and occupational injuries and illnesses. You certainly know well-known examples of protective equipment such as gloves, goggles, shoes, and earplugs, but you should know that protective equipment is not limited to these items.
|An organ that must be protected||Hazards||The types of personal protective equipment|
|Ears||Noise and high-level sounds||Earplugs, earmuffs, semi-insert/canal caps|
|Eyes||Chemical or metal splash, dust, gas, vapor, radiation||Goggles, face screens, and face shields|
|Head and neck||The impact from falling or flying objects, hair getting tangled in machinery, and risk of head bumping||Bump caps, hairnets, and firefighters’ helmets|
|Feet and legs||Cutting, punctures, wet, cold, hot and metal and chemical splash||Safety boots and shoes with protective toecaps|
|Hands and arms||Severe temperature, cuts, electric shock, radiation, and prolonged immersion in water||Gloves and sleeving|
|Lungs||Dust, gases, and vapors||Filtering facepieces, respirators, and power-assisted respirators|
|Whole-body||Chemical or metal splash, impact or penetration, and heat||Conventional or disposable overalls, boiler suits, and chemical suits|
As you know, there are different types of personal protective equipment. So you, as an employer, need to know which equipment to choose and provide. To do this, you must first answer the following basic questions:
All protective equipment must be safely designed and be stored in a reliable fashion and a clean space. This equipment must be designed in such a way that it is easy to fit, and workers are encouraged to use it.
Keep the following in mind when choosing protective equipment:
Personal protective equipment should be properly maintained and stored when not in use:
You, as an employer, must:
As you know, employers not only have to provide the right protective equipment for their workers, but they also have to make sure that workers use it properly. Therefore, every worker must be trained to know:
According to Osha standards, employers must provide appropriate protective equipment for their employees to protect them from occupational injuries. In most cases, with a few exceptions, employers have to pay the payment for the equipment. This equipment includes the following:
As employers are required to comply with OSHA standards, employees should also consider the following:
The Southern Nevada Occupational Health Center in Las Vegas constantly strives to improve safety at the workplace. To learn more about the services of this center, you can refer to the list at the top of the page. In addition, you can fill out the form on the right to make an online appointment.