Wear the right PPE the right way
A worker may put on a pair of gloves that are too big for him. Later, one of the gloves catches on a machine and cuts the worker’s hand. Another worker may grab the nearest available hard hat to wear, unaware that it doesn’t fit properly. The same helmet can fall off during a task, leaving its head unprotected. These are just a few of the ways personal protective equipment is used incorrectly in the workplace. Safety+Health posed a question to PPE industry experts:
Here’s what they had to say.
“There are two important aspects to getting workers to wear PPE correctly: training and comfort. First, make sure they actually understand how to wear it and why it’s important. No gap between sleeves and gloves, hard hats tight, safety goggles over eyes (not over head), protective clothing properly zipped and tucked in. You can save a lot of time by simply explaining the points of vulnerability that your employees may not realize. »
– Brittany Cohen, Product Marketing Manager, Magid
“Over the past few years, we have seen a trend in the construction industry for companies to implement more advanced head protection solutions. One of the main reasons is due to the increase in head injuries resulting from angled impacts to the head from falling objects and slips, trips and falls. Since traditional ANSI Type 1 hard hats are only tested for protection against impact to the top of the head, they do not effectively protect workers. Additionally, companies are looking for better compatibility with other PPE and accessories, including eye and face protection and earmuffs. ANSI Type 2 hard hats, with additional internal protective liners and universal accessory slots, often meet these needs by providing advanced, versatile and comfortable protection that workers are comfortable wearing all day.
– Jim Huebner, marketing channel manager – construction, industrial protective products
“To ensure that safety professionals and their workers understand how to safely and effectively use the appropriate PPE products, it is essential that they learn from trained and qualified safety equipment experts. Those who manufacture, test and sell PPE know this better than anyone. Not only have they helped write performance standards for safety products, but they also understand exactly how the equipment protects a wearer or user, and they know first-hand whether and how it complies to ensure its effectiveness.
“Safety equipment professionals, including those who are QSSP certified, can become trusted partners for safety managers and employers, working with them to ensure they have confidence in the PPE provided to workers. They will demonstrate how the equipment works and how it should fit and feel, and they will offer solutions to potential challenges as well as hazards that may not have been considered or identified before.
– Cam Mackey, President and CEO, International Safety Equipment Association
“When the use of PPE is required, be sure to choose the right solution not only for the hazard, but also considering the application/task. For example, is it a wet or dry hazard? How long are you exposed to danger? Could the bones act as sharp objects? Is there dust in the air that can get into the eyes? These are all key considerations. And to ensure that the PPE provides the protection intended, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using the PPE. Finally, here’s a pro tip: to increase your facility’s compliance, look for products with more human-centric design features. These will be more comfortable and durable than their basic counterparts, making it easier to wear all day to get the job done.
– Stacy Turner, Category Manager, Safety, Kimberly-Clark Professional
“Protecting workers from injury is the top priority, and there is no substitute for high quality personal protective equipment. From head to eye, body, hands and feet, each piece of PPE should be unique for your jobsite and your workers. Properly fitted PPE is personal – one size or style will not work for everyone. For example, the feet of men and women have very different shapes. Therefore, when choosing work boots, people should look for gender-specific models to ensure the best possible fit. Additionally, hands come in all shapes and sizes, and not all gloves are created equal. Reinforced gloves should fit snugly – not tight – and the ideal pair should have an adjustable fit. The best fitting gloves help relieve fatigue and can be worn for long periods of time. Hard hats, performance work clothes, and safety glasses are additional pieces of PPE that should be tailored to each worker. Head-to-toe coverage is crucial. Staying current with the latest PPE innovations and materials will help you find the right fit for your workers, which in turn will drive adoption and compliance for safer jobsites.
– Tito Warren, President of Worldwide Industrial Sales and Operations, Red Wing Shoe Co.
“To help keep workers safe, it’s essential to remember that a good fit is key. If the PPE does not fit well, it cannot do its job of providing the necessary level of protection. Regardless of the type of protective gear, this remains true. For respiratory protection, a properly worn respirator should be completely sealed around the nose, cheeks and chin to ensure contaminants cannot enter through gaps or seal breaks. For hearing protection, an eighth of an inch can mean the difference between receiving the level of protection listed by the noise reduction rating on a hearing protection device and not getting any protection at all. And for hand protection, baggy gloves can lead to excess material snagging on industrial equipment and impairing dexterity. As PPE designers and manufacturers continue to innovate their personal protective equipment, attention to small innovations, such as ensuring a proper fit is easy, can have a big impact on the design of the product. PPE for correct and consistent use. It makes a real difference to keeping workers safe.
– Thiago Zambotti, vice president and general manager, general safety, Honeywell Personal Protective Equipment