Different Types of PPE & Why They Are Important

various types of ppe personal protective equipment: gloves, shoes, ear protection

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is an essential component of any safe workplace.

Without PPE, you and your employees are exposed to a variety of safety hazards. It also can’t just be any gear or protective equipment that seems right or comes in under budget.

You need to ensure that the proper PPE is being used by all employees in their respective roles.

To ensure that the highest standards of safety practices are being followed at your workplace and all offsite projects, let’s take a look at the different types of PPE that is available, why they are important and which personal protective equipment is best for certain scenarios.

A Variety of PPE for All Needs & Conditions

There is a wide range of PPE available. Depending on the nature of your workplace, more gear may be required than others.

PPE for a construction worker

For instance, if you are working on a construction site you are required to wear a hard hat. If you work in an office, a hard hat is not necessary.

Common types of PPE include:

  • Hard hats
  • Gloves
  • Safety glasses/eye goggles
  • Earmuffs / earplugs
  • Work boots or protective footwear
  • Respirators
  • Hazmat suits

The reason you may require some pieces of PPE over others is due to the type of risk you are exposed to at work. These risks include:

  • Electrical shock
  • Mechanical hazards (to limbs, digits, head, etc.)
  • Chemical burn or poison
  • Fire
  • Radiation exposure
  • Flooding/drowning

Before selecting gear, it’s important to know the different types and variations of PPE that were designed to protect against specific risks & hazards.

medical professional PPE

Why Is PPE Important For Workplace Safety

PPE is worn to minimize and mitigate the risks and hazards associated with a wide variety of working conditions.

Without proper PPE, workers are left exposed to significant risks of injury or illness. These injuries or illnesses may not present themselves immediately either. PPE protects you and your employees from the long-term effects of the nature of your work.

PPE Protects Against 5 Basic Elements

PPE is designed for the protection of five basic elements:

  1. Head & Feet (e.g. hard hats to protect vs falling items; work boots/shoes for ground hazards)
  2. Eyes (e.g. safety glasses/goggles from particles, corrosive liquids, etc.)
  3. Lungs (e.g. respirators employed to prevent breathing in contaminated air)
  4. Body (e.g. clothing to keep warm in cold conditions)
  5. Skin (e.g. gloves to wear when the risk of burns or corrosion exists)

construction worker wearing PPE

There are some forms of PPE that we take for granted and others that may not be employed or used properly or effectively under certain conditions.

Hard hats are an iconic type of PPE for workplaces of many sizes and scope. Safety glasses that are worn by a welder – or goggles in the lab – seem like common sense. However, other risks might not be as obvious.

That’s why it’s important to perform a Safety & PPE assessment and training in the workplace. This will help to determine what kinds of PPE should be deployed in which spaces & circumstances.

PPE Safety Assessment & Training – Count on Advanced Consulting & Training

Employers are responsible for ensuring that proper PPE is available and used properly in the workplace.

That means it is up to you to select and provide the appropriate PPE, make sure that it fits employees and ensure they understand how to use it. An employer also must train employees on using PPE, as well as how to maintain and store it.

To put together a basic training program, you can find information on PPE from a variety of sources, including the manufacturer, government & industry websites, and other searches.

For maximum results and full compliance when it comes to meeting PPE standards, training, use, maintenance & storage, contact Advanced Consulting & Training today! We’ve got years of experience in consulting a wide range of organizations on PPE, and we can provide training for you and your team.

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