It's Friday the 13th! Don't take any chances, is your PPE correct?
You may have felt like hiding under the duvet this morning, avoided stepping on the cracks in the pavement or taken an extra long diversion to avoid pulling out at 'that' junction. Did you know that many hospitals do not have a ward 13? Or that Apollo 13 suffered it's catastrophic failure on November 13, at 13 minutes past 1pm, or 13.13. It seems we are obsessed with the stigma attached to the number 13, and Friday the 13th sums up all our fears. But how many of us are still taking needless risks at work by using incorrect or insufficient PPE?
The range of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is as diverse as the industries it covers, but on a basic level PPE should; protect the head and feet from falling materials; the lungs from dust, pollutants and chemical gases; the eyes and skin from from heat and corrosive substances and the body, as a whole, from extremes of hot and cold.
Your employer has a responsibility to ensure you are provided with the full, correct PPE required for your duties, but it is important for you to maintain the condition of your kit and watch for signs of wear and tear which could result in a loss of function. When not in use it should be stored in a clean, dry locker or cupboard and replacement parts should be sought in good time. Of course, if you are self employed it is your responsibility to ensure you are using the right PPE for your requirements, with research and careful sourcing.
Consider your working environment. You may choose a pair of steel capped safety boots to protect your feet from falling items; but if you work outside, or on slippery surfaces, a safety boot which includes an anti-slip sole would be a sensible choice. If you're protecting your feet from falling items, is your head suitably protected from the risk?
Respirators are a highly important piece of equipment for many lines of work. Whether you're sawing wood, welding metal or working around chemicals and gases, your lungs will be exposed to tiny particles or pollutants which can have an immediate or long lasting effects. You will need to carefully research the hazards you will be dealing with and the protection offered by the variety of respirators on the market.
High visibility clothing is probably the most widely used PPE, it's function is simple but invaluable; to ensure your co-workers and members of the public are aware of you and can take care when working or moving around you. This is especially important when working outside, in poor light or in a factory or warehouse where others are operating heavy machinery near to you.
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For those working in 'safer' environments, such as catering or healthcare, non-slip safety shoes are a must for when you are busy running around! Protection from cuts and infection is also an important consideration and a wide range of disposable and anti-cut gloves are available.
Whatever your requirement, we stock an impressive range of workwear and PPE online, at www.bestworkwear.co.uk and you can find more information about PPE requirements on the HSE website: http://www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/ppe.htm