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Should You Be Wearing PPE?

Should You Be Wearing PPE?

There are many work environments where it’s highly advisable that you (and your employees) wear personal protective equipment (PPE). Wearing PPE can prevent workplace injuries and sickness. For employers, it can be a way of showing that you care for your team, as well as reducing potential lawsuits and complaints. 

But just when should you be wearing PPE? There are a few different instances where it could be beneficial to wear some form of PPE. This post lists a few questions to help you determine whether you should be wearing PPE.

How noisy is your workplace?

Regularly being exposed to noises above 85dB can start to cause hearing loss. In such environments, it is recommended that you and your team wear earplugs or ear defenders. Airport ground staff, construction workers, music venue workers, musicians, nightclub workers, factory workers and people who work in motorsports are most at risk – consider ordering some ear protection if you work in any of these industries.

What’s the air quality like?

Poor air quality can often be a danger to the lungs. There are many things that can make the air quality poor including high levels of dust, chemical fumes, mold, smoke and bacteria/viruses (from sick people coughing or sneezing). Masks or respirators should be worn to protect the lungs against these dangers. Jobs where such PPE could be necessary include firefighters, carpenters, painters, farmers, extreme cleaners, flour mill workers, certain factory workers and certain laboratory workers. Hospital workers, dentists and food industry workers are also sometimes advised to wear a mask to prevent infection/contamination. 

What kind of objects are you handling?

Handling certain objects every day could start to cause damage to your hands. This includes hot objects, cold objects, sharp objects and chemicals. Gloves are recommended in jobs such as gardening, construction, carpentry, farming, mechanics, laboratory work and cleaning to prevent damage to the hands. Contamination is also another risk factor that can be a good reason to wear gloves – if you are touching food or parts of people’s bodies, you could potentially spread germs through your fingers. Doctors, nurses, dentists, tattoo artists and food preparation workers are advised to wear vinyl gloves for this reason. Specialist gloves may be required in specialist industries.

Are there any overhead dangers?

In some industries, there can be an increased risk of hitting one’s head or being struck by falling objects. A hard hat is necessary to prevent these injuries. The most obvious environment where you should wear a hard hat is a construction site. However, other professionals may also face similar dangers including loggers, warehouse workers, freight handlers and miners.

Should you be protecting your eyes?

Finally, you need to consider your eyes. Protective eyewear can protect the eyes against damage from dust, chemical splashes, sparks or bright light. Goggles, safety glasses and face shields are some of the different forms of protective eyewear. Professionals that should wear some form of protective eyewear include carpenters, welders, lab workers and laser machine workers. 

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