If you're considering selecting PPE for your business—or even for personal use—but you don't know what equipment to invest in or what materials work for your specific needs, read on. We discuss what you need to know about selecting PPE so you can go forward with confidence in how you and those around you stay as safe and healthy as possible.
Keep your safety—and others'—at the forefront
Whether you're on the job, travelling or simply interacting with people on a daily basis, keep your personal health and safety, in addition to the well-being of those in your community, top of mind.
Without properly using PPE, you could expose yourself (and potentially could expose others) to various hazards that greatly impact your overall health. So before selecting PPE, consider the kind of work you do or the situations you're in (which we discuss in the next section) and how that will impact your safety and others'. And if you work in a particularly high-risk environment, such as the medical field, you and those you work with may even be required to wear PPE on a daily basis.
Likewise, you must also keep your PPE in good repair so it works as effectively as possible to keep you and those you interact with safe. For example, a damaged hard hat won't fully protect your head from injury, and dirty or recycled PPE can increase your exposure risk to health hazards.
Note the task at hand
Next, think about what you do on a daily basis that requires PPE. For example, do you work in the healthcare industry? Do you routinely work with hazardous materials? Or perhaps you might work with heavy-duty equipment? Once you've determined what the task at hand is, then analyse the risks associated with that specific duty.
For example, if you spend significant time treating or interacting with individuals living with communicable diseases, wearing well-fitting and adequate types of PPE protects you while providing quality care to these patients. On the other hand, working in the construction field, where loud noises and large equipment inhibit hearing and vision, increases your risk of physical harm. By wearing the correct PPE, you reduce the likelihood of sustaining injury on the job.
Choose PPE based on your needs
Now that you know who you'll keep safe and what you're doing, you can choose the right protective equipment to suit those needs. Working in a laboratory exposes you to various bodily fluids or medical samples. In this scenario, lab coats woven from cotton work adequately for body protection, while nitrile gloves protect your hands from direct contact with blood, stool or urine.
Whatever industry you work in, make sure the PPE you choose fits your needs well—after all, support belts and kneepads work perfectly for those in the construction industry, but they don't benefit those who work in a medical laboratory.
Invest in training
Simply wearing PPE isn't sufficient to protect you from injury or illness. You must use your PPE properly to reap the most benefits, so training on correct PPE use can ensure your efforts aren't wasted. These informational courses should clearly teach the following:
- What PPE protects against in any given industry or situation. This aspect of training should relate specifically to your job, situation, routine, etc., and it should also address situations when PPE may be ineffective.
- How and when you should wear PPE, providing clear instructions on how to care for and maintain this equipment for continued use—or if continued use is even recommended.
- How to correctly discard PPE, which depends on whether you can use PPE repeatedly or for single use.
Have more questions about PPE? Give the team at Ace Workwear a call. Whatever your queries, we're happy to address them so you feel comfortable with the PPE you order.