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Personal protective equipment (PPE) comes in all shapes and sizes. It protects workers from falling materials that could potentially hit their heads, harmful chemicals that can affect their future quality of life, and many other hazards.
Basically, PPE reduces the risk of injury and minimizes the severity of accidents. In industries such as construction, PPE is essential.
Last year, there were 39 fatalities among construction workers in the UK. Other workers who are at risk of dying from job-related injuries include farm workers, airplane pilots, and truck drivers. Overall, work-related injuries in all industries exceed 5,000 annually in the US alone. Without protective equipment, these tragic numbers could be a lot higher.
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With all of this in mind, we have narrowed down the most important PPE that employers must provide for their employees while they are working in dangerous environments.
Dust Masks Protect Against Respiratory Hazards
A dust mask protects the wearer from developing respiratory illnesses that can reduce their quality of life.
These masks are essential on hazardous sites where people work with substances that release fumes and dust. For example, these people could include scientists who work with hazardous chemicals, workers who might be breathing in paint resin, or laborers whose work exposes them to small particles coming off of building materials. Dust masks prevent their lungs from coming into contact with these harmful substances.
Without a dust mask, workers are susceptible to illnesses such as silicosis, chest infections, and lung cancer. The seriousness of these diseases highlights the importance of the dust mask for workers.
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Safety Shoes Protect the Feet
The last thing you want is to have something fall on your foot when you’re not wearing the proper shoes for the job. This could lead to severe damage to your foot, or even amputation. Some foot injuries are so severe that you might not be able to walk. Naturally, this would mean you cannot work, either temporarily or permanently, depending in the severity of the injury.
Your protective safety shoes should be steel-toe-capped. Additionally, footwear should have high visibility features so that others can see you in the dark. In short, the wearing of safety shoes reduces the chances of accidents and protects workers in multiple ways.
Hard Hats and Ear Defenders Are Essential in Many Industries
Workers’ heads must be protected at all costs. Head injuries can drastically change a person’s functionality for the rest of their lives. On construction sites, the chance for an object to fall on someone’s head is ever-present. Therefore, employers must ensure that no one is on a construction site unless they’re wearing a hard hat.
Ear defenders do exactly what the label on the outside of the box says. In other words, they protect the ears from noise that has the potential to cause a loss of hearing. Employers have a legal responsibility to eliminate or reduce the risk of exposing workers to extremely loud noises. For this reason, if your job site is loud, you must provide workers with this form of PPE.
If you are a business owner in an industry that poses physical hazards of any type to workers, you need to provide your employees with gear that protects them. What’s more, in most locations, the law requires employers to provide PPE.
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