PPE - What Is It & Why Do We Need It?
Wednesday 9th February 2022
Direct Training (GB) Ltd.
PPE refers to Personal Protective Equipment. It refers to protective, wearable items such as goggles, helmets and specifically designed items of clothing. PPE has the sole purpose of protecting the wearer's body from injury and/or infection.
PPE addresses hazards such as physical, electrical, chemicals, heat, biohazards and airborne particulate matter.
One of the most common uses of PPE is job-related purposes, both in occupation & health. PPE is also used for sport and recreation related activities. Protective clothing is when PPE is applied is to traditional clothing such as boots. Protective gear refers to dedicated items such as shields, masks, pads and guards. PPE can also appear similar to a cleanroom suit.
The whole purpose of PPE is to reduce a person's exposure to hazards when engineering control and administrative controls are not effective or feasible in reducing risks to an acceptable level. When there are hazards present, PPE is required. A serious limitation of PPE is that it does not eliminate the hazard at the source and may therefore result in a person(s) being exposed to the hazard if the equipment is to fail. Instead, PPE imposes a barrier between the user/wearer and the working environment. The problem with this is that PPE can create additional strains on the wearer and therefore impair their ability to carry out their work and in some occasions create significant levels of discomfort.
The problem with this Is that any of the above things can discourage a wearer from wearing PPE correctly. This can place them at risk of ill-health, injury or even death in some extreme circumstances. One way that discomfort can be reduced is good ergonomic design as this can help to minimise these barriers.