Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Personal Protective Equipment Basics - Part 2

Many of you may remember a few years ago when a young female employee lost her fingers due to exposure to HF (Hydrofluoric Acid). In this particular instance the accident occurred because the acid was already inside the glove via transfer spillage. The point is, having the right protection is only part of the preventive measures necessary for safety. Keep this in mind as you review the items listed below.

Hand Protection: The one thing to remember with gloves is there is no one glove that provides protection for every type of hazard. Knowing both the hazard you are guarding against, and the type of protection required ensures you will properly protect your hands in all circumstances. Most gloves are designed for a specific hazard or task.

Gloves used for chemical protection are not good for general tasks or with every type of chemical. Just because a glove is right for one type of chemical doesn’t mean it is good with every chemical. It is important to match the right glove to the right chemical.

General work gloves, such as leather gloves, are good for protection against cuts, slivers and blisters, but won’t protect against electrical shock or chemical exposure. Leather gloves are good when handling rough work or material.

Cut-resistant gloves are designed to improve the employee’s grip when holding oily metal parts and to protect hands against metal burrs or other cut hazards. They won’t provide protection against corrosive chemicals.

The important thing to remember about gloves is there is no one glove that will guard against every hazard. Depending on your job, you may need more than one pair of gloves to guard against different types of hazards.

Eye and Face Protection: Eye and face protective equipment provides the user with good protection when worn properly. When equipment doesn’t fit well, it will not provide proper protection and may cause a greater hazard. Adjust all safety equipment to your size so it fits properly and will protect you. Safety glasses must have side shields that are mounted to the frame. The glasses themselves should be adjusted so they fit properly around your ears and on your nose so they don’t keep sliding down. Face shields provide protection for the whole face where glasses only protect the eyes. They have adjustment ratchets on the headband that must be adjusted to the individual user’s head. Goggles provide good protection for eyes against dusts and mists. They should be adjusted properly so they fit snug on your face and there are no gaps between the goggle and your face. Vented goggles help to prevent goggles from fogging up in warm locations.

Foot Protection: Obviously the slip and fall hazard around carwashes is substantial. Be sure that all employees footwear is designed for best traction in a wet environment. Keep in mind that shoes can loose their traction value with wear and even though they look acceptable they may not be.

There are many different types of personal protective equipment that will help keep you safe. Make sure you are always wearing the right equipment for the right job. Make sure all the equipment is adjusted properly and that you keep all the protective equipment clean. Never use any equipment that is broken or is not working properly. Damaged protective equipment provides no protection at all.