Put On Your PPE!
Personal Protective Equipment is sometimes the last barrier protecting you from a hazard. A safely-designed workplace and safe work practices will go far toward keeping you safe, but PPE is still needed to protect you in case other measures fail. Your PPE cannot protect you if you don’t wear it. This point seems obvious, but consider these statistics from the US federal Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- Among workers who received head injuries, hardhats were worn by only 16 per cent of them, even though 40 per cent were required to wear head protection.
- Only one per cent of 750 workers receiving facial injuries were wearing the correct protective gear.
- Just 23 per cent of the workers suffering foot injuries were wearing safety-toed footwear.
- Less than half the workers with eye injuries had been wearing eye protective equipment.
- Most of these injuries occurred when the workers were performing their usual jobs.
Depending on the kind of work you do and the hazards involved, you may be required to wear safety glasses, goggles and face shields to protect your face and eyes. Head protection may include hardhats and bump caps. To protect your feet, you may need to wear safety-toed footwear, rubber or synthetic boots. Gloves to protect against chemical exposure, cuts and scrapes may also be needed. You may need to protect your hearing in your workplace.
These are just the main categories of personal protective gear. There are countless varieties and designs, made to protect against specific hazards.