The word PPE did its rounds across the globe during the pandemic because of key equipment used for protection against COVID-19. But personal protective equipment has always been used, not only in hospitals but also in mining, transportation and many others.
When in the manufacturing industry, knowledge of how to go about machines and various materials is vital in keeping yourself safe at all times, but using the right PPE goes a long way in not only ensuring safety but also in allowing workers like you to stay productive and engaged.
Why Are PPE Guidelines in Manufacturing Important?
PPE guidelines are extremely important in the manufacturing industry to ensure your safety as an employee. The manufacturing industry has many hazards such as moving machinery, sharp tools, chemicals, electrical hazards, and noise, which can cause serious injury or illness if not properly controlled. PPE guidelines are designed to provide a barrier of protection between you and the hazard.
The use of PPE can help prevent workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities in the manufacturing industry. For example, wearing hard hats can prevent head injuries from falling objects, wearing safety goggles can protect the eyes from flying debris, and wearing hearing protection can prevent hearing loss from exposure to loud noise.
PPE guidelines also play a key role in meeting occupational health and safety standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA requires employers by law to keep their workers protected from any harm by providing information, research, training, and education in the field of occupational safety and health. 1
With this in mind, it is worth noting that organizations are responsible for providing the appropriate gear and giving proper instructions on how to wear them.
What are the different kinds of personal protective equipment?
Here are examples of PPE mostly seen within the manufacturing industry:
Hard hats. There are three classifications of hard hats. Class A protects from penetration and impact and some protection from being electrocuted. Class B does the same but has elevated protection against high-voltage shock and burning. Class C can avoid injury from impact, but not as strong as Class A and cannot protect you from electrocution.2
Eyewear, facemasks, and face shields. Eye protection is needed in workspaces with flying debris, chemicals, gases, and radiation. Facemasks, on the other hand, provide respiratory protection from inhaling dangerous gases. Some eyewear covers the entire face, like the face shields used by welders.
On the other hand, respirators can be seen as more advanced facemasks. They provide better protection from inhaling stray liquids or fumes but have to work more tightly compared to regular facemasks.
Leggings and safety shoes: These PPE protect from cuts, falling objects, and slippery surfaces. Protective leggings made from aluminized rayon or leather cover both legs and feet. Safety shoes vary from one workplace to another, and some are electrically conductive to protect against static build-up.
Earplugs and earmuffs. Many work areas in the manufacturing industry are naturally noisy, so hearing protection is necessary. Constant exposure to loud noises may cause permanent hearing loss.
Skin and hand protection. Especially if the working environment can lead to exposure to corrosive or poisonous substances, gloves and hazmat are needed. Some gloves provide additional protection from heat or can be used to provide a better grip.
Body shields. These PPE are often made from fire-retardant material, they vary from jackets and aprons to full-body suits.
In recent developments, technology tools such as proximity sensors are also being used and are considered PPE. 3 These tools help automate safety by lessening human contact with machines
Knowing the different types of PPE and how to wear them is just the tip of the iceberg when promoting safety within your work area.
Manufacturing PPE considerations should start with your employer creating a safety and awareness culture. Your responsibility stems from enthusiastic participation and a heavy focus on using PPE before, during, and after work.
A Risk Assessment Is Important Before Understanding PPE Guidelines.
Before going into the specifics of using PPE properly, decisions on which types of PPE for your workplace have to be made, which is part of an overall evaluation of your workplace. We call this risk management.
Risk assessment is essential in any workplace, particularly in the manufacturing industry. Doing a regular risk assessment is great because it ensures maximum protection for all workers in the industry. 4
How Can Employees Like You Participate in Risk Assessment?
First, you can inform your supervisors of possible dangers within your work area before their risk assessment. You can assess your workplace hazards and share the findings with your managers.5
Also, as the cycle of conducting risk assessment goes back to doing another inspection, share your thoughts again. Comment if last year’s safety recommendations were adequate and if your use of PPE was enough to minimize accidents. There are many ways in which employees like you can help promote safety within the workplace, more than just the proper use of PPE. After all, safety is everyone’s duty.
Follow these PPE Guideline in Manufacturing.
Risk assessments allow you to participate in an organization-wide effort to maintain safety. However, in the end, it still depends on how you promote safety within your work area. Correctly using PPE is critical to not only keeping yourself safe but your coworkers as well.
Being strict in how you wear your PPE and taking care of them before and after use will build a habit in you that contributes to your company’s overall safety.
How to wear PPE correctly can be elaborated into four categories:6
Eye and face protection. Safety glasses should comply with the ANSI Z87.1 protection standard for the eyes. 7
Before wearing any eye or face PPE, make sure there are no cracks or deformities on the lenses, and the straps are firm to your cheek and forehead, and always remember to disinfect after use.
Respiratory protection. Any PPE that protects your breathing must be fit-tested depending on your manufacturing environment.
What’s essential with respiratory PPE is to make sure filters are changed frequently, not to touch while wearing them, and replace them immediately if damaged or soiled.
Skin and body protection. The headgear should not be stored in or exposed to prolonged heat as it can cause damage. Cleaning headgear like construction hats must also be done with an appropriate cleaning agent, as the wrong ones can cause them to deteriorate. Also, always replace your headgear if they were subjected to excessive impact, even if there is no evidence of wear and tear.
As for body protection like jackets and aprons, check for burns and tears before wearing them and make sure they fit correctly.
For gloves and other hand PPEs, ensure a perfect fit for a good grip on equipment, and check for signs of cuts and contamination before and after using. Footwear PPE must have anti-slide soles and must be able to protect feet from compression or impact.
Auditory protection. Earplugs or earmuffs must fit perfectly on your ears or ear canals. These PPE must only reduce noise exposure but not block noise entirely to impede communication, so be on the lookout for that.
An excellent way to always remember these guidelines is through these simple steps:
• Attend training and be familiar with instructions on properly wearing PPE.
• Wear PPE while on the job.
• Check if PPE restricts mobility or compromises your breathing, eyesight, hearing, and communication. Adjust the PPE if necessary.
• Clean and store PPE properly.
• Regularly inspect PPE for damage or wear and tear, and report to your supervisor if you feel your PPE needs to be replaced.
FIND YOUR NEXT JOB THROUGH DAVIS COMPANIES
What you’ve just read is a holistic yet comprehensive take on PPE guidelines in manufacturing. We at DAVIS Companies understand the commitment professionals like you have, which is why it is a job to share with you ideas that will help you perform well in your career, may it be in manufacturing or not.
The DAVIS Companies have led many individuals through success in engineering, IT, and manufacturing since 1985. We’ve helped them realize their potential and challenge themselves by going beyond industry norms and eliminating obstacles. This is the DAVIS Way, and we wish to share it with you.
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1. “Department of Labor Logo United Statesdepartment of Labor.” About OSHA | Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Https://www.osha.gov/aboutosha. Web. 21 Feb. 2023.
2. “10 Types of PPE That Should Be on Your Essential List for a Safe Industrial Workplace [checklist].” Thomasnet® – Product Sourcing and Supplier Discovery Platform – Find North American Manufacturers, Suppliers and Industrial Companies. Web. 21 Feb. 2023. https://www.thomasnet.com/insights/10-types-of-ppe-that-should-be-on-your-essential-list-for-a-safe-industrial-workplace-checklist/
3. “Proximity Sensors.” National Safety Council. Web. 21 Feb. 2023. https://www.nsc.org/workplace/safety-topics/work-to-zero/safety-technologies/proximity-sensors
4. “Healthy Working Lives – How to Carry out a Risk Assessment – Identify Hazards in Risk Assessment.” Identify Hazards in Risk Assessment – How to Carry out a Risk Assessment – Healthy Working Lives. Web. 21 Feb. 2023. https://www.healthyworkinglives.scot/workplace-guidance/risk-assessment/how-to/Pages/identify-hazards.aspx
5. Cavallaro, David. “Workplace Hazard Assessment (WHA).” Environmental Health and Safety. 14 Nov. 2017. Web. 21 Feb. 2023. https://ehs.uconn.edu/workplace-hazard-assessment-wha/
6. “Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Safety.” SafetyCulture. Https://safetyculture.com/topics/ppe-safety/#:~:text=While%20on%20duty%2C%20PPE%20must,sequence%20to%20prevent%20self%2Dcontamination.,31 Jan. 2023. Web. 21 Feb. 2023.
7. “ANSI Z87.1: Safety Glasses Standards.” My WordPress. Https://www.anbusafety.com/ansi-z87-1-safety-glasses-standards/amp/. Web. 21 Feb. 2023. https://www.anbusafety.com/ansi-z87-1-safety-glasses-standards/amp/