Each year, there are far too many work-related fatalities. Most of these could be prevented with the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Besides face shields, safety glasses, hard hats, and safety shoes, PPE includes a variety of devices and garments such as goggles, coveralls, gloves, vests, earplugs, and respirators. Below is a list of 5 important safety products that could save your life:
1. Fall Arrest System – The US Department of Labor (DOL) lists falls as one of the leading causes of traumatic occupational death, accounting for 8% of all occupational fatalities from trauma. A personal fall protection system is comprised of an anchorage connector, body wear (i.e. a full body harness), and a connecting device. The connecting device – a lanyard or lifeline – bears the greatest force during a fall and is the most critical life-saving component of the system.
2. Gas Detectors – At high levels, exposure to many toxic gases is fatal within minutes. Gas detectors are life-saving devices. They are precision instruments that are built exclusively to assess and monitor potentially lethal gases on the job site.
3. Respirators – An estimated 5 million workers are required to wear respirators in 1.3 million workplaces throughout the United States. Respirators are designed to protect you from toxic airborne substances that could bring about long-term or permanent impairment or in some cases, death. Compliance with the OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard could avert hundreds of deaths and thousands of illnesses annually.
4. Hard Hats – Protective helmets are often the most obvious form of personal protection that workers wear. Hard hats are designed to protect against impact and penetration of flying and falling objects, and in many cases, save lives. Many hard hats can even be equipped with accessories such as face shields and earmuffs, for added protection.
5. Safety Signs – In the workplace, safety signs serve as a visual reminder that employees need to use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and/or avoid certain areas. Although signs are typically not something you’d think of seeing on this list, they can certainly save the lives of otherwise unaware individuals in hazardous situations.
All categories of PPE are important and are designed to protect employees from serious workplace injuries or illnesses. As an employer, you must assess your workplace to determine if hazards are present that require the use of PPE. If such hazards are present, you must select PPE and require employees to use it, communicate your PPE selection decisions to your employees, and select PPE that properly fits your workers.