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Personal protective equipment; stay protected at work

personal protective equipmentMany people are engaged in jobs that include hazardous materials or processes that can cause damage to the human body either short-term or long-term. Those working with heat, electrical current, biological pathogens or other substances should utilize personal protective equipment to minimize risk and protect eyes, ears, skin, lungs and other organs.

Head Protection

Head injuries can be caused by falling objects, flying debris or from hitting fixed objects. The hard hat is the best-known type of protective headgear. Head protection is often combined with a face shield that protects against splashes from liquids or flying splinters or shards. A good head protection device should protect against the shock from a blow to the head. It should be substantial enough to prevent penetration. The device should also protect the wearer against shock in case of contact with electrical materials. Protective helmets generally are composed of a shell, a suspension system that holds it to the head. Hard hats should be water resistant and burn resistant.

Eye Protection

A wide range of eye protection is available for workers, suitable for every kind of work environment, from simple eyeglass-styles to full wraparound goggles for full protection against chemical splashes or flying particles. Some types of goggles fit over existing eyeglasses. Prescription safety glasses are also available for those who wear eyeglasses. All eye protection equipment should have side shields. Those who do welding or glassblowing operations need special lenses to prevent burns of the cornea from the welding arc flash. These coloured lenses are available at welding supply stores.


Workers can choose from a wide variety of hand protection equipment that ranges from thin, latex or nitrile groups used in chemical and biological industries to heavy gloves suitable for work in the metal industry. The employer is required to provide suitable types of protective gloves for the industry. Some types of gloves allow for greater flexibility while still providing superior protective capability.

Ear Protection

Work environments with loud or constant noise from machines and equipment should wear appropriate ear protection to prevent hearing loss that can occur over time. A number of different types of hearing protection devices are available. Some of these are moulded to fit inside the ear. Others are soft and malleable. This type conforms to the inner ear of the wearer. Other types of ear protection fit over the ears connected to a frame like an earmuff. Some types can be attached to hard hats.

Skin Protection

Workers can choose from many different types of skin protection, depending on the type of work they do. Full-body suits that protect against biological hazards are one type of equipment. Other workers may need waterproof or acid-proof materials to prevent against chemical splash. Welders and other workers that deal with high heat may require heat-resistant Kevlar sleeves, vests, jackets or other protective clothing items.

Respiratory Equipment

The right respiratory equipment for the job can help to protect the worker against irritation and long-term lung damage that can occur from particles, mists, gases and chemicals in the air. Different types of respiratory protection devices protect against particular types of particulate or gaseous matter. Equipment should be regularly cleaned and inspected to provide optimum protection. In addition, workers should be trained in the proper use of the respiratory protection equipment.


The proper work shoes can help to avoid many on-the-job injuries from falling objects or dropped objects. Many work environments require steel toes shoes to minimize these injuries. These workplaces often involve work with structural steel or heavy equipment. Even less industrialized work environments require closed shoes of a substantial nature to prevent work-related foot injuries.


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