GUEST BLOG: Hannah Spruce looks at what you need to know about PPE, including selecting the right equipment and knowing how to use it. Hannah writes for High Speed Training, an online training provider that offers a wide range of health and safety eLearning courses.
If your work poses a hazard to you, your employer should have done a risk assessment to reduce those hazards. You might need PPE; you might not.
Think of risk reduction as a scale, with group measures coming first, and PPE as the last measure on that scale.
Group risk reduction comes first because they’re in place to reduce risks for everyone and have the greatest potential to reduce risks.
PPE? That’s the extra cushioning to protect you – the individual – if the worst does happen, or when hazards are unavoidable. But, it only comes out when all other bases are covered; when the scaffolding is up, when the airbags are in place, then that’s when the hard hats come out.
This guide is a brief breakdown of what you need to know about PPE, selecting it and using it.
Over Christmas, my brother and I came back to my parents home (hang on, this is relevant). One evening, he used heat resistant gloves to open the stove and add more logs.
But, thinking the gloves were fire-retardant, he decided to rearrange the burning logs.
He came away with the tips of the gloves lightly on fire, and after a moment of flapping he was left with the tips charred.
So, my parent’s got what they always wanted, a pair of DIY fingerless heat protective gloves. Very useful.
But, there’s a valuable lesson to be learnt here: know the limitations of the PPE you use.
That, and, PPE will not make you fireproof, especially if it doesn’t claim to be fireproof on the tin. Note: read the tin. And, get proper training and instruction on how to use your PPE.
Whenever your work poses a hazard to you, PPE will reduce those risks.
PPE minimises potential risks to your lungs, head, eyes, skin, and body from external harm.
To help you decide what PPE you need to use, imagine the work you’ll be doing and ask yourself:
Answering these questions helps you think through what you’ll need to complete your work safely, protecting your body, face and lungs from harm.
And that’s it, you’re good to go.
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