The Importance of Regular Maintenance and Replacement of Industrial PPE
What is the Importance of Regular Maintenance and Replacement of Industrial PPE?
Industrial PPE or Personal Protective Equipment plays a vital role in ensuring the safety of the workers from potential hazards & risks at the workplace. It is important to note that the PPE is only effective if selected appropriately after the hazard analysis. But is this really enough? Not really! Just providing the appropriate PPE is not the end. Ensuring that the PPE is maintained in the best shape is necessary. It requires regular maintenance, and when the time has come, replacing it with new ones becomes vital to ensure workplace safety.
Regular maintenance & replacement of PPE helps ensure the safety of the employees. The practice is vital, and many industries make necessary arrangements like reviews, assessments, and regulations to keep PPE maintenance & replacement in check. The article briefs about the importance of PPE maintenance & replacement and the ill effects if the PPE is not maintained & replaced on time.
How does one decide whether the PPE has to be replaced or not?
Once a hazard analysis is completed, PPE is selected based on the hazard. The PPE ensures that one can sustain the hazard, in case of a mishap. But, the consideration assumed is that the PPE is intact & maintained well. PPE maintenance ensures that it doesn’t succumb to wear & tear. But, with time, PPE eventually loses its effectiveness. So, replacing the PPE is the only option, but identifying whether the PPE should be reused (with appropriate maintenance) or replaced can only be done after the PPE inspection.
It is periodic PPE inspection by a trained individual that helps in the identification of whether the PPE requires maintenance or replacement. While PPE maintenance can be a periodic activity & independent of PPE inspection, PPE replacement does require PPE inspection by a trained individual. Only appropriate PPE training can help in identifying the condition of PPE. In severe cases of PPE wear & tear, even untrained individuals can replace the PPE.
Why is regular maintenance & replacement of PPE necessary?
Ensures Adequate Protection:
Workers wear PPE as the last line of defense in case of any mishap happens. This last-line defense should guarantee that the individual wearing it escapes with no or minimal injuries. A newly bought PPE approved by US standards will ensure safety, but can a PPE used for a couple of years ensure the same? It can only be dictated by the PPE condition that is influenced by how the PPE has been maintained.
For example, safety goggles are commonly used in industries for eye protection where there is a chance of chemical splashing and exposure to dust, dirt & other debris. With regular use and handling in an improper way, there can be scratches on the glass of the safety goggles. It may cause difficulty in viewing and may cause hindrance during work. It may cause either discomfort or the worst cases, can cause an injury too. To avoid it, regular cleaning of the glasses is recommended. Eventually, when the scratches cause disturbance in the vision, they should be replaced by new ones.
Upholds the Equipment Functionality, Performance & Integrity:
When regular maintenance is undertaken, identification of PPE’s functionality under the hazard conditions can also be checked. It ensures that there are any defects or malfunctions in the PPE. Sometimes, just mere close observation can help to recognize the issues. One must ensure that in case of any accident, PPEs protect the individual. PPE maintenance helps to ensure that there is minimal wear & tear and that the structural integrity is retained. It reduces the risk of any weak points, thus minimizing failure chances & ensuring complete protection. One can be assured that the PPE’s performance after regular maintenance will be satisfactory and may even match the newly bought one.
PPEs stay Comfortable:
The example of safety goggles clearly explains how the negligence of PPE maintenance can cause discomfort to the user. PPE maintenance is taking utmost care of PPE, thus ensuring that it remains comfortable to wear & use. Periodic maintenance & proper PPE storage will allow the user to wear PPE for an extended time.
Extension of PPE lifespan:
Every PPE has an end date, but the end can be postponed for a finite time. It is possible by proper PPE maintenance. You can also check out how to extend the PPE lifespan.
PPE maintenance may seem time-consuming, but it does delay the PPE replacement by extending the PPE lifespan, which overall reduces the industry’s financial burden. Moreover, in case of any mishap where the worker gets injured at the workplace due to faulty PPE can cause the company’s wealth to be drained in the form of workers’ compensation. Moreover, the agony caused to the worker(s) may spread a wrong message tarnishing the company’s image, thus causing heavy losses.
In today’s age, saving the environment is the highest priority. Extending PPE’s lifespan by a day or two directly contributes to delaying the PPE replacement, thus delaying waste generation. Industrial workplaces can set sustainable PPE goals and try to reduce PPE waste generated. It can be achieved only by regular PPE maintenance.
Legal Obligations & Regulatory Compliances:
Regular PPE maintenance & replacement help in adhering to the safety regulations & legal obligations of using standard PPE in a healthy condition. Reducing the risk of a faulty operation or failure helps in avoiding legal repercussions & penalties that can cause monetary loss and tarnish the industry’s image. PPE inspection will also help in identifying any outdated equipment (based on date or increase in the risk rating).
The most vital aspect of PPE maintenance & replacement is the well-being of the employees. Prioritizing PPE maintenance & appropriate replacement demonstrates the commitment of the industry to the safety of the employees. Further, it fosters a positive culture in the company, which helps in improving productivity.
Did you know? There can be psychological effects on your employees due to PPEs! You can check out our detailed blog on the psychological effects of wearing PPE.
The eight points stamp the importance of regular PPE maintenance & replacement. Industrial PPE is donned by the employees to protect themselves. But, they must maintain the PPE that they wear. It must be set up as a part of organizational culture. Companies can ensure employee well-being, a productive & positive work environment, adhere to safety regulations, and save monetarily by avoiding paying hefty fines & workers’ compensation.