Workwear

Personal Protective Equipment: How to Choose the Quality PPE in 2021

The phenomenon of human resource evolution is an ever-developing concern of professional employers towards the employee. The social and physical security of your workforce in every sector provides the guarantee that you care for your employee and hence you are interested in the collective development of your business and organisation. Having PPE, personal protective equipment has become an essential standard to follow in every sector of work. Whether it is an industry business, construction or mining site, safety and security service provider or medical sector, each has a specialised need and solutions to cover the matter. We are deciphering the process for you to know about PPE and what you must consider before ordering your staff Kit.

First of all, you need to understand when we say PPE what exactly are we referring to in terms of a complete package.

What is PPE?

PPE stands for Personal Protective Equipment which provides safety and protection against any possible foreseeable hazard that can occur during the fulfilment of duty or job. It is a very specialised and particular combination of tools and clothing type which provides protection to the worker and addresses various challenges that a work scenario can bring forth.

Every field and work process define their need for PPE in a very peculiar way. For an overview let’s take a look at what type of hazards any sector inherits which shows you the way to identify your own need to design and procure the PPE.

The design of PPE is directly connected with the type of hazard we will face. When we ask the experts who evaluate the risk management and hazards for companies and corporations they define it as follows.

The six main categories of hazards are:

  • Biological. These types of hazards are created by biological infiltration, imbalance or accidental exposure. Covid-19 is a prime example of such a hazard. The contamination of any bacteria, insect or animal encounter which can harm someone, the infections caused by blood or body fluids are the various situations that explain the biological hazards.
  • Chemical. Chemical hazards refer to the interaction with a harmful substance that can cause irritation, corrosion or even explosion. These hazards can show impact immediately or in some cases after a period of time. For example, acid splash instantly can be seen on the skin but if people work in an ammonia product factory for a longer period, it can damage their eyesight, respiratory tract or lungs in a long run.
  • Physical. The physical hazard ranges from the natural disaster, unfavourable environmental conditions, accidental situations which include but not limited to fire, radiation or pressure exposure etc. 
  • Safety. The safety hazard is the outcome of unsafe workplace conditions or overlooking the probable danger attached to it. It ranges from stumbling on the road to get an electric shock on a rainy day.
  • Ergonomic. This hazard is a consequence of repetitive body postures and actions which give rise to muscular/physical pain or deformation or injury. Bad sitting posture, long-standing job practise respectively show slouch in a body and knee aches as a result.
  • Psychosocial. This is an invisible type of hazard which is an implication of social oppression effect on the worker’s psychology negatively. Bullying, sexual harassment, non-physical violence and victimisation.

Hazard Assessment Chart for PPE:

Hazard TypeThreat AspectExample
BiologicalVirus/pandemicCOVID-19
ChemicalChemical spill, heat exposure, Acid splash etcAcid burn/ heat exposure/eye injury/ life lose
PhysicalBody injury,  Noise, radiation, height, physical contactElectric shock/ falling from height/
Safety Ranges from stumbling on the road to accident and nature disasters All the safety services which manage the safety hazards 
ErgonomicUnfriendly space and items to execute a job. I.e. Long working hours in a singular position, bad posture etcCOVID-19, makes Nurses feet hurt
PsychosocialSexual harassment, victimisation, stress and workplace violence
Bullying/child labour/ noise pollution/ human rights violations

Once you understand the relationship between possible hazards you will be able to know which toolkit of PPE is your workforce requirement.

The PPE consists of a number of items and that is why we can call it a PPE kit.  Let’s explore what is included in that kit generally.

PPE Tool Kit Items

PPE can be divided into two sets of item categories.

Gear Items

Boots

Safety Boots and shoes provide protection from electric shocks, avoid punctures, slipping and crash on slopes etc. Safety toes are also combined with the footwear and the materials used are mostly steel, metal, latex or composite to fulfil the particular functionality and safety.

Ear plugs

The earplugs came in various types and design which serves a particular purpose. A few of the types are mentioned here are most commonly used and are as follows, expandable foam plugs, reusable plugs, canal caps and earmuffs.

Face masks or respirators

By usage, the face masks can fall into two categories of disposable and reusable masks. The later classification can be done on the material use quality, colour and cut options and protection from hazard.

Gloves

The safety gloves come in four sections of material type as per their utility and quality to reduce the risk of hazard. Canvas, leather, rubber and metal mesh are the most common and effective materials that become the raw material for gloves.

Goggles

Safety spectacles, photo-chromic, warden, forensic, medical and general safety glasses as a part of PPE tool kit.

Hard hats

There are mainly two types of hard hats which are known by type and class. Type 1 refers to the coverage area of the head which have a risk of something falling on, type two is to cover persons from all angles. Then there are A, B and C categories rated on the electrical insulation they provide.

Safety harnesses 

Safety harness system is a mechanism is to prevent a user from falling from a height. The workers attached the kit to their body and create an anchor point on a stationary place, this ensures that even when one free-fall they won’t hit the ground.

Garment Items

Garment suits material, quality and design depend on work conditions, environmental aspects and contact challenges of possible hazards. The PPE garment item mostly comes as a bodysuit, two pieces and three-piece articles as per the work requirement, safety and security of a worker, comfort and visibility.

The garment item can be further classified into the following sub-category as follows;

Protective clothing

The protective clothing are essential suits and uniforms designed to protect the worker from harm associated with the type of job they are doing. It is a mandatory uniform which is worn by the people on regular basis. For examples, the ballistic Vests worn by security officials, lab coats and visors worn by chemical laboratory staff.

Reflective Clothing or High Visibility Clothing

High-vis is a short form of High Visibility Clothing, which refers to the quality of colour and visibility in a dark or low visible environment. The common use of fluorescent colours for the base cloth and the light reflective luminescent stripes are printed around arms or torso. The function of the uniform is to enhance visibility at night or cloudy environment from a distance. The regulatory bodies recommend it to the security service rescuers, traffic wardens, miners, construction staff and several other sectors to ensure the safety of people.

Read More: Hi-Vis Clothing & its Benefits at Work

Safety and quality assurance

The safety of human life is the prime concern behind the development of PPE. It is so important for employers to not only make sure that PPE is an essential part of the procurement projection of your company but also following the standards of quality given by the following guide.

You can find the detailed codes, set of standards and guidelines to follow in Australia. View

PPE selection criteria brief

As a conclusive takeaway from the selection point of view of PPE for your industry or work sector will be the awareness of protection standards, hazard identification, safety with the comfort of the worker. This need to be understood that without the compliance of the set standards of PPE the regulatory bodies can seize your workflow on the basis of unsatisfied quality measures.

So the most important aspect is the quality assurance of PPE in terms of material, signage, colour vibrancy, durability and visibility for the garment item and for gears go for the authentic retailers which offers warranty of the gear. As much as it sounds intricate, it is equally crucial not only for the safety of human life but also for the reputation of your business.