What are the Different Types of PPE that should be worn in Industry?
Different types of PPE that can be Worn in an Industrial Environment
If you have heard about PPE in the pandemic for the first time, then don’t worry, you aren’t the only one. There is a very common misunderstanding amongst the masses about the role of PPE kits before the pandemic. PPE stands for Personal Protective Equipment. Before the pandemic, PPE was widely used by various industries like construction, healthcare, manufacturing, and many more.
I am sure that you must have heard the idiom ‘Prevention is Better Cure’. PPE is the epitome of this idiom. In any situation, if there is even a slight possibility of a hazard, then industries ask their employees to don PPE. Different types of PPE are classified based upon the hazard level, type of industry, area of protection, and some other factors.
In this article, we will discuss different types of PPE that are used by different industries. So, let’s begin without any further ado!
What is considered as PPE?
PPE includes a wide bracket of equipment that can be used to protect individuals from threats & hazards. You must be wondering what can be considered as PPE? PPE kits contain equipment like safety boots, respirators, safety goggles, earplugs, safety helmets, protective suits & clothing, harnesses, safety gloves, and much such equipment that help in one’s protection.
There are two types of PPE, disposable & non-disposable. PPE kits in healthcare which became quite popular during the pandemic are usually single-use coveralls. Disposable PPE is a must in highly contagious & hazardous situations. In certain contagious conditions, non-disposable PPE requires constant hygiene to be maintained.
Some equipment like motorcycle helmets, weapons, and other similar equipment are not considered PPE. The employees of the industries are given proper training about the use, handling, and storage of PPE. When one considers the different types of PPE used in the industries, then they are classified based on the body part which they are protecting (We would be discussing this further ahead).
What is the importance of PPE training?
Whenever an industry detects a hazard, PPE is considered for the rescue. PPE kits are used by the industry personnel when the risks & the hazards cannot be eliminated completely. Thus, the PPE kits have become more or less a mandatory thing. PPE kits are used for the protection of the individual only. The protection provided by the PPE is highly dependent on the proper fitting, quality, wear & tear, maintenance & storage.
Proper training in these aspects makes the individual safer than usual. Apart from the level of protection provided by these different types of PPE, they may also reduce the movement, vision, hearing, and other senses of the individual. So, proper PPE training allows them to understand the limitations while they have donned them.
What are the Different Types of PPE and Their Uses?
Different types of PPE are available based on the industry they are used in. Many health regulatory authorities like OSHA provide guidelines, which are often mandatory. Irrespective of the industry they are used in, PPE can be classified into different types based on the body part they are protecting.
Different types of PPE are as follows:
- Protection of one’s skull (Head Protection)
- Protection of one’s face from pathogens, dust particles, toxic gases, and other such stuff (Respiratory Protection)
- Protection of our beloved eyesight (Eye Protection)
- Protection of our hearing capabilities (Ear Protection)
- Protection of our ability to move (Feet Protection)
- Protection of our ability to pass on the things (Hands Protection)
- Protection from heights, and
- Body Protection
Protection of one’s skull (Head Protection)
We are what we think. So, to protect our brain which is safely caged by the human skull, one needs to protect it. In industries like manufacturing & mining, there is a high possibility that one can get hurt by a falling object. Slippery surfaces can cause a bad fall that can potentially damage the skull. The best choice would be getting yourself a sturdy Class A helmet with an adjustable harness and a sweatband.
Some protection headgear also must be able to resist the electric current. Whenever an individual is working in the vicinity of electric transmission lines, generators, large machines, etc. they must be donning a sturdy Class B helmet that protects them from electric current.
Apart from protecting one’s skull, protection of the head from dust particles, ash, other such substances is also necessary for maintaining proper hygiene. In the healthcare industry, headgear is used for protecting an individual from any potential pathogen transmission.
Protection of one’s face from pathogens, dust particles, toxic gases, and other such stuff (Respiratory Protection)
They have been popular throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Respirators & face shields are widely used by industries to protect themselves from the risk of pathogens, dust particles, toxic gases, and other such stuff. Depending upon the industry, different types of respiratory protection are used. Respiratory protection PPE are available both as disposable and non-disposable.
Check out our article that throws light on different types of respirators.
For example, mining industries prefer using dust masks or respirators that are specially designed for protection from dust particles. There are special gas masks or respirators that are designed for protection against toxic gases. Face shields are commonly used when there is a risk of splashes of dangerous chemicals. As respirators are close-fitting, face fit testing is compulsory according to the guidelines.
Protection of our beloved eyesight (Eye Protection)
It is quite saddening that every day at least 600 workers get their eyes injured worldwide. This happens due to the negligence of the workers and lack of eye protection equipment. Different types of PPE for eye protection includes safety goggles, safety glasses, safety specs, etc. The personnel dealing with welding, brazing, lasers, intense light, gases, and other hazardous substances must surely use eye protection PPE.
Eye protection PPE are usually non-disposable, which means that regular maintenance of the PPE is required. The maintenance includes regular cleaning, checking for wear & tear, damages, scratches, and cracks.
Protection of our hearing capabilities (Ear Protection)
Many industries have heavy machinery, drilling, metal cutting, and more such operations that produce high decibels of sound & noise. Industry personnel of such industries should use ear protection PPE that protects their hearing capabilities. Based on the level of noise protection (based on decibels), there are different ear protection PPE.
Earbuds or earplugs are widely used by industry personnel. Depending upon the noise, ear defenders or earmuffs may also be used. When the individual needs to protect themselves from high noises, earplugs and ear defenders both can be used simultaneously. There are both disposable & non-disposable PPE available for ear protection.
Protection of our ability to move (Feet Protection)
In most industries, there is a high possibility that one can get hurt by a falling object. Also, there is always a danger of slippery surfaces that can cause a bad fall. Moreover, there is always a risk of cuts, chemicals, piercing, high temperature, electricity, and many more. For avoiding these dangers, industry personnel protect their feet by wearing safety boots usually along with slip-resistant soles.
Depending upon the most probable hazard, the type of safety boots may vary from industry to industry. For example, anti-static safety boots are used by industry personnel to protect themselves from static electricity. Feet protection PPE are mostly non-disposable.
Protection of our ability to pass on the things (Hands Protection)
In industries, the body part at the most risk is the hands. Hands are constantly used in industrial work. Due to this, hands are under a great deal of exposure to risks of scratches, cuts, temperature, pressure, electricity, chemicals, vibrations, pathogens, and other stuff.
The different types of PPE used for hand protection include different types of safety gloves (latex gloves, nitrile gloves, leather gloves, knitted Kevlar gloves, rubber gloves), armlets, gauntlets, wrist cuffs, etc. There are specially designed gloves & other hand-protective gear for some processes. For example, insulated gloves protect an individual from extreme temperatures.
Check out more on safety gloves.
Protection from heights
The PPE under this category protects an individual from falling. It includes different types of safety harnesses. They fall under the category of non-disposable PPE.
In certain high-risk industries, casual clothes or uniforms must be topped up with PPE for body protection. The protection of this PPE ranges from chemicals to weather. There are many such factors where the body must be properly protected.
Depending upon the danger the material of the PPE is decided. Different types of PPE for body protection are safety jackets, aprons, body coveralls, safety vests, etc. They are available both as disposable & non-disposable PPE. As this PPE adheres to the body, comfort is a big deciding factor.
PPE kits are widely used in industries as a safety measure against possible & unavoidable hazards. Lack of awareness, negligence of the industry personnel & employers, improper budgeting, and many other factors have resulted in an improper use of PPE, or even worse not using them at all.
Human lives are precious. This means the protection of humans from occupational hazards must be a compulsory practice. Thanks to regulatory bodies, and growing awareness amongst the employer, PPE kits are properly used. This article has tried to throw light on the different types of PPE that have been widely used in the industries. You can check out the guidelines & standards for PPE for more details.
Do not forget to wear the PPE kit whenever necessary. Stay Safe! Stay Healthy! Stay True!