Monday, September 28, 2015

PPE: The POWER of Personal Protective Equipment


In the hierarchy of safety precautions in the workplace, personal protective equipment is your last line of defense to protect against potential injury.  Although there are four other more effective guidelines to follow, elimination, substitution, engineer controls, and administrative controls, personal protective equipment is still very important after all those other precautions are taken as well as possible.

Personal protective equipment or PPE for short is anything that you add or wear on your person to provide a last line of defense to prevent injury.  Depending on your work environment personal protective equipment may be used to protect against physical hazards, heat, cold, electrical arcs, airborne toxins, light, radiation, or others.  No matter the application PPE is very important to wear to keep you safe.

The most common types of personal protective equipment are items such as safety glasses, ear plugs, steel toed boots, gloves, hard hats, and masks.  It is necessary for employers to provide their employees with these items or anything other PPE items.  Not only is it important to provide these items, it is also important to stress and require everyone to wear them when interacting with potentially dangerous equipment or dangerous environments.

While working my summer internship my employer has strict guidelines in place about personal protective equipment.  Anyone on the shop floor had to be wearing steel toes, long pants, and safety glasses.  Everyone held everyone else responsible too, meaning if you saw someone not using their PPE you confronted them nicely and reminded them to put it back on if they happened to forget.  With this combination of employer and employee responsibility to wear your PPE lead to everyone staying safe and uninjured.  

Personal protective equipment may be something that is slightly annoying or not as comfortable as not wearing it, but if you are ever in a situation where you avoided injury because of your PPE, you will be very thankful you had it on.  These situations can come out of nowhere, something falling on your head or foot, shrapnel hitting your eye, or a loud noise, that is why it is always important to have your PPE on and be ready if anything were 
to happen.

Thank you for your time and attention.  Let’s make it safe this Monday!

Dale Bromenshenkel
Demand Generation Specialist, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company