Personal Protective Equipment – OSHA
Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) is a multidisciplinary field that concerns the safety, health, and welfare of the people at work. The occupational health and safety programs include fostering a safe and healthy work environment. It aims to protect the co-workers, family members, employers, customers, and other people who might be affected by the workplace environment.
There are legal duties and obligations that entails the employers to take full reasonable care of the safety of their employees. Occupational health promotes and maintains the highest degree of the physical, mental, and social well-being of workers in all occupations. It protects the workers in their employment from risks resulting from factors that are adverse to health.
Physical hazards affect many people in the workplace. In the hierarchy of hazard controls, elimination is the topmost priority, followed by substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls, the last resort of the hierarchy of hazard controls is the personal protective equipment (PPE).
Personal protective equipment can help protect against many of this hazard. These frequently asked questions (FAQs) will provide a background information on the purpose of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and the requirements of the program of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
You might wonder, what a personal protective equipment is—Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) refers to the protective clothing, helmets, goggles, and other garments or equipment designed to protect the body of the person from injury or infection. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is worn for job-related occupational health and safety purposes.
There is a purpose why Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) it is to reduce exposures of employees to hazards when the engineering controls that protect the workers from hazardous situations and administrative controls that lessens the threat of a hazard to an individual are not feasible or effective to reduce the said risks to an acceptable level.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that is used in a workplace should be selected to minimize the risk to work health and safety; it should be suitable for the nature of the work and any hazard that is associated with the work; and it should be a suitable size and fit and reasonably comfortable for the person who wears it.
When Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is properly selected and used, it can be effective in the elimination or minimization of individual exposures to hazardous materials and physical hazards being encountered in a different work environment.
Hazardous materials are not limited to chemical and biological materials or agents that pose a health or physical hazard and unsealed radioactive materials. Physical hazards are not limited to substances, equipment, or activities that can expose the person to a potential threat to their physical safety. Examples of a physical hazard include: extreme pressures, extreme temperatures, ionizing and non-ionizing radiation, noise, and flying hazards of machining equipment.
Managers and supervisors should be aware of the reasons for providing a personal protective equipment (PPE); they should be knowledgeable of the proper usage, and the level of protection of the personal protective equipment (PPE) provides.
There is not only one personal protective equipment, there are various types of it that considers to which area of the body it protects. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is categorized by the area of which the body is protected; by the types of hazard the person is exposed; and by the type of garment or accessory.
- Respirators serve to protect the user from inhaling poison or contaminants in the air, thus the respirator protects the respiratory tract of the wearer. There are two main types of a respirator: the first type of respirator has a function that filters out chemicals and gases, or airborne particles from the air breathed by the user. The filtration of the respirator might be passive or active. An example of this type of respirator is gas masks and particulate respirators. The second type of respirator can protect the wearer through providing clean, respirable air from another source.
- Respirators are being used in environments that do not have enough ventilation and the engineering control system is not feasible.
- Eye injuries can happen through a variety of situations. Most of the injuries that occur in the workplace environment when solid particles get into the eye. Chemical burns, biological agents, and thermal agents can contribute to an occupational eye injury. Safety glasses provide protection from external debris and should provide side protection through a wrap-around design or side shields. What are these equipment that can provide an adequate and needed protection for the eyes?
- Goggles, this equipment provides a better protection more than a safety glasses, it is effective in the prevention of eye injury from chemical splashes, impact, dusty environments and welding.
- Face shields, this equipment provides an additional protection and worn over the standard eyewear; face shields can provide protection from the impact, chemical, and blood borne hazards.
- Full-face piece respirators, this equipment is considered to be the best form of eye protection when respiratory protection is needed as well.
- Occupational skin diseases are the second most concern for occupational health and safety. Chemical agents, physical agents, biological agents and mechanical trauma are the contributors of occupational skin hazards. Any form of personal protective equipment (PPE) that can act as a barrier between the skin and the agent can be considered as skin protection. Gloves are an essential item for skin protection.
Gloves protect and provides comfort to the hands against cold or heat, damage by friction, abrasion or chemicals, and diseases.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) did not just came out of the blue to protect our fellow professionals. It is based and supported on legal duties and obligations. Now, what are the legal duties and obligations of wearing a personal protective equipment (PPE)?
Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 is a set of regulations that were imposed under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The regulations place a duty on every employer to ensure that a suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) is being provided to the employees who may be exposed to a risk to their health or safety while at work.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is defined in the regulations as ‘all equipment which is intended to be worn or held by a person at work which protects them against one or more risks to their health and safety'. Thus, the legal duties and obligations define the general duties of the employer, employee, contractors, suppliers of goods and substances for use at work, and the people in general.
The legal duties and obligations as set out the objectives that it should secure the health, safety, and welfare of the persons at work; it should protect the persons at work against risks to health or safety that arises out of or in connection with the activities at work; and it should be the duty of every employer to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of all of his or her employees.
The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 duly states that the employers are not allowed to charge for any personal protective equipment (PPE) that is used for work. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be provided by a PCBU. PCBU are persons conducting a business or undertaking, they must consult with their workers in selecting the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE); they must ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that the personal protective equipment (PPE) is used or worn by the worker; and they must provide the worker with information, training, and instructions in the proper use and wearing of the personal protective equipment (PPE) and how it is stored and duly maintained.
The legal requirements for businesses in relation to personal protective equipment (PPE) are set out in the regulations 36, 44, and 45 of the model Work Health and Safety Regulations. Workers have legal duties and obligations in relation to personal protective equipment under the regulation 46 of the model Work Health and Safety Regulations. Moreover, those who are not workers still have an obligation under the regulation 47 of the model Work Health and Safety Regulations.
The personal protective equipment must be worn in accordance with any information, training, or reasonable instruction provided. For further information, you can read through the guidelines at Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) and International Labour Organization (ILO).
We have already discussed much about personal protective equipment (PPE)—from its definition, to its types, and to the legal duties and obligation of a personal protective equipment (PPE)—we have not asked, when should personal protective equipment (PPE) should be used?
There is a fundamental principle that personal protective equipment (PPE) should only be used as a last resort. This is because of the hierarchy of hazard controls, elimination is the topmost priority, followed by substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls, and the last resort of the hierarchy of hazard controls is the personal protective equipment (PPE).
The safety and health of the employees must be first safeguarded by the elimination measures of the workplace with the source of the risks. It is eliminated through technical or organizational means or by providing protection on a collective basis. If these measures or methods are not sufficient, only then personal protective equipment (PPE) is used to protect the employers from unavoidable hazards.
Under the hierarchy, personal protective equipment is designated as the level 3 control measures. Level 3 control measures do not control the hazard at the source, it relies on the human behavior and supervision on their own to be at least effective in minimizing risks.
There are reasons why personal protective equipment (PPE) is used as a last resort because, personal protective equipment (PPE) only protects the person who wears it; personal protective equipment (PPE) are ineffective if not working or fitted properly; there are theoretical levels of protection that are seldom reached in practice; and there are uses of personal protective equipment (PPE) that restricts the wearer to some degree.
Each employers are expected to be more concern in the provision and use of personal protective equipment (PPE) of their employees at work. Personal protective equipment (PPE) are equipment that can protect the user from any situation that can risk the safety and health of a person at work. The equipment includes safety helmets, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear, safety harness, and nonetheless, safety work gloves.
Safety work gloves is a key component for occupational health safety. Occupational health promotes and maintains the highest degree of the physical, mental, and social well-being of workers in all occupations. It protects the workers in their employment from risks resulting from factors that are adverse to health.
The provided instructions, procedures, supervisions and trainings are ought to make the workplace safe, thus, it can motivate the employees to work safely and responsibly. However, some hazards might still remain even after these safety and control systems are abided. The said injuries include the following:
- - Lung injury (from inhaling contaminated air)
- - Head and feet injury (from falling debris or materials)
- - Eye injury (from flying particles or splash of erosive liquids)
- - Skin injury (from contact with erosive materials)
- - Body injury (from contact of extreme cold and hot temperatures)
Thus, to supervise the control and safety system, personal protective equipment (PPE) is needed to reduce the risks. The nature of the work determines the kind of safety gloves required.
Most of the common injuries that occurs in the workplace are traumatic injury, contact or permeation injury, repetitive motion injury, and thermal injury.
- Traumatic injury happens when the hands and fingers of the worker is caught, pinched or crushed by a machine and acquires cuts, skin punctures, abrasions, bone fracture and sprains.
- Contact or permeation injury happens when the hand of the worker gets in contact with corrosive liquids, solvents, acids, detergents, flammable liquid or other chemicals that has permeated through the worker’s skin.
- Repetitive motion injury happens when the task is repeated, and requires a rapid hand movements for a longer period of time. With this, musculoskeletal disorders are common.
- Thermal injury happens when the worker deals with high temperatures, it is commonly manifested in the form of burns, dermatitis, and blisters.
Safety gloves exist to fulfill the implementation of the Personal Protective Equipment requirements. There are three categories the personal protective equipment is placed into:
- - Minimal risk;
- - Complex design; and
- - Intermediate
Most safety gloves are complex design, it is used in situations that can cause a serious injury, or even death.
As the workplace is prone to occupational hazards and health risks for the hands of the worker, there is no single glove that can provide the appropriate protection of the occupational hazards. Thus, it is important to evaluate and assess the occupational risk of each task, to determine the glove that can provide the specialized protection.
When the workplace hazard assessment has discovered that the employees is in a greater potential for hand and arm injuries that cannot be diminished through the work practices and engineering control system, the employers should ensure that each of the employees should wear their appropriate hand and arm protection.
Potential hazards include skin absorption of harmful substances, electrical dangers, bruises, abrasions, punctures, cuts, fractures, chemical or thermal burns, and amputations. The equipment that can protect you against potential hazards include safety gloves, finger guards and arm coverings, or elbow-length gloves.
It is the employer’s duty and responsibility to determine and assess all of the possible engineering and work practice control to prevent hazardous situations and provide the employees additional protection (personal protective equipment) against the potential hazards that cannot be completely eliminated through other methods.
There are types of safety gloves that are manufactured today to protect the hands and arms. The nature of the hazard and the operation involved is a great factor in selecting the safety gloves that worker should use, it makes choosing the right pair of gloves challenging. It is essential to choose the right one because the gloves specifically designed for one function may not protect against a different function.The following are the factors that can affect the influence of the selection of the safety gloves:
- - Types of chemicals that will be handled
- - Nature of contact
- - Duration of contact
- - Area that requires protection
- - Grip requirements
- - Thermal protection
- - Size and comfort
- - Abrasion and resistance requirements
The safety gloves are designed from a wide variety of requirements, there are gloves that are made of:
- - Leather, canvas or metal mesh;
- - Fabric and coated fabric;
- - Chemical- and liquid- resistant gloves; and
- - Insulating rubber gloves
Leather gloves provide protection against sparks, moderate heat, blows, chips, and rough objects.
Aluminized gloves provide reflective and insulating protection against heat and require an insert made of synthetic materials to protect against heat and cold.
Aramid fiber gloves protect against heat and cold, are cut- and abrasive-resistant and wear well.
Synthetic gloves of various materials offer protection against heat and cold, are cut- and abrasive-resistant and may withstand some diluted acids. These materials do not stand up against alkalis and solvents.
Fabric gloves protect against dirt, slivers, chafing and abrasions. They do not provide sufficient protection for use with rough, sharp or heavy materials. Adding a plastic coating will strengthen some fabric gloves.
Coated fabric gloves are normally made from cotton flannel with napping on one side. By coating the unnapped side with plastic, fabric gloves are transformed into general-purpose hand protection offering slip-resistant qualities. These gloves are used for tasks ranging from handling bricks and wire to chemical laboratory containers. When selecting gloves to protect against chemical exposure hazards, always check with the manufacturer or review the manufacturer’s product literature to determine the gloves’ effectiveness against specific workplace chemicals and conditions.
Chemical-resistant gloves are made with different kinds of rubber: natural, butyl, neoprene, nitrile and fluorocarbon (viton); or various kinds of plastic: polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyvinyl alcohol and polyethylene. These materials can be blended or laminated for better performance. As a general rule, the thicker the glove material, the greater the chemical resistance but thick gloves may impair grip and dexterity, having a negative impact on safety.
Some examples of chemical-resistant gloves include:
- Made of a synthetic rubber and protect against a wide variety of chemicals, such as peroxide, rocket fuels, highly corrosive acids (nitric acid, sulfuric acid, hydrofluoric acid and red-fuming nitric acid), strong bases, alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, esters and nitrocompounds. Butyl gloves also resist oxidation, ozone corrosion and abrasion, and remain flexible at low temperatures. Butyl rubber does not perform well with aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons and halogenated solvents.
Natural (latex) rubber gloves
- Comfortable to wear, which makes them a popular general-purpose glove. They feature outstanding tensile strength, elasticity and temperature resistance. In addition to resisting abrasions caused by grinding and polishing, these gloves protect employees’ hands from most water solutions of acids, alkalis, salts and ketones. Latex gloves have caused allergic reactions in some individuals and may not be appropriate for all employees. Hypoallergenic gloves, glove liners and powder less gloves are possible alternatives for employees who are allergic to latex gloves.
- Made of synthetic rubber and offer good pliability, finger dexterity, and high density and tear resistance. They protect against hydraulic fluids, gasoline, alcohols, organic acids and alkalis. They generally have chemical and wear resistance properties superior to those made of natural rubber.
- Made of a copolymer and provide protection from chlorinated solvents such as trichloroethylene and perchloroethylene. Although intended for jobs requiring dexterity and sensitivity, nitrile gloves stand up to heavy use even after prolonged exposure to substances that cause other gloves to deteriorate. They offer protection when working with oils, greases, acids, caustics and alcohols but are generally not recommended for use with strong oxidizing agents, aromatic solvents, ketones and acetates.
However, to be sure in choosing the chemical-resistant gloves consult the manufacturer for recommendations when gloved hands will be immersed in the chemical.
Safety gloves should be inspected before it is used to ensure that the gloves are not torn, punctured or ineffective. Cuts and tears will be detected with visual inspection, pinhole leaks will be determined through filling the loves with water and tightly rolling the cough towards the finger. Gloves that are discolored or stiff can also indicate ineffectiveness due to excessive use or degradation from chemical exposure.
All gloves that are impaired from their ability to protect should be discarded and replaced. Reusing chemical resistant gloves should be carefully evaluated by the user, this is to take consideration of the absorptive qualities of the gloves. When the users decide to reuse, duration of exposure, storage and temperature should be evaluated.
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Take note of the typical palm measurements, sizes may vary from the specific glove type, you may find that a smaller or larger size may perfectly fit you.
To ensure that you have selected the proper glove size for your hand, please review the online size chart.
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Scan for the category that you want, select and click it. You will then see thousands of quality gloves for sale.
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Letter sizes will range from S (small) to L (large). To find your glove size quickly, refer to the online size chart provided by Scotty’s Gloves.
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