Why It’s Important to Ensure that Personal Protective Equipment Fits Comfortably

ppe personal protective equipment

Personal protective equipment, also known as “PPE”, is equipment worn to keep workers safe while on the job. Job sites where exposure to a number of potential hazard risks may be present, requires the right protective gear and training in the proper use of the equipment.

PPE clothing and related equipment are important components in mitigating safety risks. With PPE, the proper fit is essential for comfort.

Proper Function Requires Proper Fit

It’s vital that everyone is wearing & using PPE. An important step in ensuring this takes place is making certain that PPE fits comfortably, so that employees don’t get discouraged from using it.

What you don’t want to hear is, “well I wasn’t wearing that because it’s too tight / it hurts / it’s too heavy,” etc.

Comfort allows for smooth work process that also ensures proper function of the equipment while working. For any essential equipment to operate as designed, adherence to the correct size and fit must be maintained, and this certainly applies to PPE.

Personal Protective Equipment Examples

employee at job site wearing ppeCommon types of PPE most often include eye protection (goggles), and protective hearing devices. Hearing devices include earplugs and ear coverings (ear muffs), and these items can be very uncomfortable, if the fit is improper. In certain conditions respirators and full body suits are necessary to avoid hazardous risks that often include dangerous chemicals. The suits and respirators must fit correctly and to exact specifications to allow comfortable movement and hazard protection.

Comfort Requires the Right Size

A very common, well known form of PPE is a hard hat. Basic items such as durable gloves and steel toed boots are also typical examples of protective gear for workers. A hard hat is a simple example of the importance of fit and comfort that can be easily understood. If the hard hat was too small or oversized to stay on the worker’s head, or so uncomfortable that the worker needs to remove often, the hat will not provide the needed protection.

Size aligns with comfort, and if workers make comfort adjustments for improper size, there is a risk of ineffective protection.

An Overall Program for Effective PPE Use

employees and visitors at facility wearing ppeThe effective use of Personal Protective Equipment requires leadership and training. Leadership on a job site is essential to ensure all safety procedures are followed to include the proper selection, and fit of PPE. A training program includes a review of the potential hazards, the PPE items required to stay safe and the importance of size, fit and comfort. The need to find PPE that comfortably fits should not add to the many challenges of working at or managing a job site.

An overall plan for PPE to include training and the maintenance and reliability of PPE is an important objective for employers.

Fit and Comfort Improves Safety – Talk with ACT About Safety Programs

Protective equipment that does not fit properly can create a safety hazards instead of mitigating risks. Poor fit or discomfort can limit the effective value of PPE and potentially leave a worker exposed to dangerous exposure. It is also very important to have workers test new PPE clothing and equipment designs to make sure the job can be done in a comfortable manner. Safety requires compliance to all essential procedures and the comfort and fit of PPE is an essential requirement.

Contact us today to learn more about safety training and safety plans for your organization.