The importance of personal protective equipment both on and off the clock
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the best way to keep people safe is to control their exposure to occupational hazards in the first place. This means that our first step should always be to eliminate the hazard. If that’s not possible, replace the hazard risk, isolate workers from the hazard or reduce the hazard by changing the way people do the work.
Unfortunately, sometimes it is impossible to eliminate or control exposure to a hazard and still get the job done. That’s where personal protective equipment (PPE) comes in. PPE is our first and most important line of physical defense when we have no choice but to get our hands dirty.
Whether you are at work or at home, there are hazards all around us. Do you work around radars or aircraft? There are plenty of ways to get hit in the head—your head. Do you work on HVACs or other electronic equipment and systems with hand or power tools? There are many “knuckle busters” just waiting to cut fingers and hands—your fingers and hands. Do you use cutting, grinding or drilling equipment to fabricate or repair parts? Many of these processes cause flying debris and hot sparks that can get into eyes—your eyes. Do you race down the mountain on skis or snowboards, speed around the track in super-fast cars or motorcycles or ride the streets or terrain on bikes? These activities offer so many opportunities to injure limbs—your limbs.
In all of these situations, it is imperative to use the appropriate helmets, goggles, gloves, boots and other forms of protective equipment in the event that a hazard gets out of hand. No one wants to get injured, but sometimes accidents happen anyway. No matter what you do at work or at home, using the right PPE can save your head, your fingers, your eyes and quite possibly, even your life. PPE is used to protect YOU, and it can’t help you if you don’t use it. PPE—it’s personal. ////