PPE (or Personal Protective Equipment) is of fundamental importance in the workplace to keep workers safe and to enable workers to do their job properly. PPE can include boots, overalls, high visibility vests, gloves, hearing protection, hard hats etc. Without PPE the chances of injury are undoubtedly increased. The purpose of PPE is to ensure workers are kept as safe as possible. The PPE relevant to you would depend on your role and the environment that you work in.
If you think of a building site, the typical PPE is usually hard hats, high visibility vests and boots. On a building site there may be loose bricks overhead so you can see why hard hats are required. High visibility vests are also useful as there may be vehicles coming in and out of the building site. Boots are also necessary and would help prevent injury if anything was dropped onto the workers foot.
If you think of an alternative environment, such as a train depot or power station, PPE should include hearing protection as noise levels may reach levels that could potentially be harmful. On a train depot you would also expect high visibility vests so people can be seen. If a person uses vibratory tools as part of their job, such as jack hammers, gloves may be necessary to help prevent hand arm vibration syndrome (also known as vibration white finger).
With the few examples above, you can see the importance of PPE in the workplace.
Companies are required to carry out so called “risk assessments” to identify potential risks and provide solutions or equipment to reduce or minimise the risks. One such solution would of course be to provide PPE to workers. Risk assessments may include checking the noise levels emitted by certain machinery. If that machinery emits noise levels in excess of certain specified levels, then the company should take action to reduce the noise levels first and foremost. Perhaps if the machinery was serviced this would reduced the noise levels. Or perhaps there is some attachment you could get which helps reduce the noise levels emitted by the machine. In addition to reducing the noise levels at source, employees should be protected from the harm such as by being provided with PPE. In terms of noise the PPE would be ear plugs, ear muffs and ear defenders. This equipment is not designed to mask the noise completely. With hearing protection it is designed to reduce the noise experienced by the individual to a level which is not harmful.
The importance of PPE in the workplace cannot be underestimated. PPE is required in many working environments to avoid injury and to keep workers safe.
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