Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) refers to specialized equipment and clothing worn by individual workers to protect themselves from potential hazards, injuries or exposure to various risks in the workplace and work-related environments. PPE is designed to create a barrier between the wearer and potential sources of harm.
It is essential to select appropriate PPE based on the specific hazards that a worker faces. Doing so can better ensure that workers are not exposed to an unnecessary risk of harm while they’re on the job.
Types of personal protective equipment
Workers in various industries need different kinds of equipment. Someone who picks oranges doesn’t need the same equipment as someone who washes windows 50 stories up. With that being said, some of the most common kinds of PPE used by American workers include:
- Head Protection: This includes safety helmets or hard hats designed to protect the head from falling objects, impact and electrical hazards.
- Eye and Face Protection: Safety glasses, goggles, face shields, or full-face respirators are examples of PPE used to protect the eyes and face from potential hazards, such as flying particles, chemicals and radiation.
- Respiratory Protection: Respirators are worn to protect against airborne contaminants, such as dust, fumes, gases and biological agents.
- Hand and Arm Protection: Gloves, sleeves and gauntlets are examples of PPE used to safeguard hands and arms from cuts, punctures, chemical exposure, heat and electrical hazards.
Proper training, maintenance and regular inspections of PPE can help to ensure the integrity of any particular kind of protection.
PPE plays a critical role in helping to ensure the safety and well-being of individuals in various industries and environments. If an employer fails to provide its workforce with proper PPE, it could potentially be held accountable for this failure by government authorities. If you’ve been injured at work due to improper or inadequate PPE, find out more about your legal options.