SPOTLIGHT ON SAFETY: PPE

2/5/2020

Welcome back to our monthly Spotlight on Safety!

This month, we’re shining the spotlight on Personal Protective Equipment!

In any manufacturing facility, safety needs to be the number one priority. Supervisors should do weekly if not daily safety walks, appropriate signage should be posted to warn of potential hazards, proper guarding should be installed to block moving parts and dangerous machinery, and – perhaps most importantly – personal protective equipment (or PPE) should be worn to ensure the individual safety of each and every employee. While signage and perimeter guarding protect individuals from wandering into hazardous areas, personal protective equipment protects hazards from coming into contact with individuals.

PPE is something most people become familiar with at a young age: when you first learn to ride a bike, you wear a helmet. When you learn to rollerblade, you wear kneepads and elbow pads. PPE in the workplace is just as important, if not more so, because your personal safety affects the safety of those around you, as well.

Personal Protective Equipment in a manufacturing facility can come in many different varieties. For instance, anyone working on the manufacturing floor would presumably need to wear steel-toed boots at all times to protect against moving machines, heavy equipment, and potential drop hazards. Anyone welding or working with possible projectiles would need to wear protective eyewear, and anyone working with sharp objects (for instance someone who cuts metal) would need to wear specialized gloves. Perhaps most obviously, you should always protect your head. Just like we were taught to always wear a bike helmet as kids, when working on a manufacturing floor, one should always wear a hard hat to protect against any drop hazards, moving machinery, or low-hanging equipment. While most PPE is used to prevent immediate physical injuries, it’s also important to use PPE to protect against long-term damage, such as hearing loss. Work areas with high noise levels should require hearing protection to safeguard workers from potential loss of hearing. PPE is also important for any position that deals with chemicals. Anyone working with harsh chemicals or painting systems should always wear a respirator.

Many warehouses and manufacturing facilities like Folding Guard use signage to indicate what PPE should be worn in a specific work location. This is especially helpful if your facility is multi-lingual. Simple, universal logos can indicate the proper PPE for each location so that everyone who enters that work area is aware of what to wear upon entering, and no one is at risk! Supervisors should check on the condition of the PPE in their area daily to ensure that their employees are being given the safest possible work conditions.

PPE is the first line of defense in the fight for operational facility safety. If you keep yourself safe, you can watch out for the safety of others and keep your facility running smoothly!

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