Safety Information

Below is a breakdown of the types of personal protective equipment (PPE), potential hazards they are for and the options available when coming up against this hazard.

Hazards

Chemical or metal splash, dust, projectiles, gas and vapour, radiation

Options

Safety spectacles, goggles, face screens, faceshields, visors

Note

Make sure the eye protection chosen has the right combination of impact/dust/splash/molten metal eye protection for the task and fits the user properly


Head and Neck

Hazards

Impact from falling or flying objects, risk of head bumping, hair getting tangled in machinery, chemical drips or splash, climate or temperature

Options

Industrial safety helmets, bump caps, hairnets and firefighters’ helmets

Note
  • Some safety helmets incorporate or can be fitted with specially-designed eye or hearing protection
  • Don’t forget neck protection, eg scarves for use during welding
  • Replace head protection if it is damaged

Ears

Hazards

Noise – a combination of sound level and duration of exposure, very high-level sounds are a hazard even with short duration

Options

Earplugs, earmuffs, semi-insert/canal caps

Note
  • Provide the right hearing protectors for the type of work, and make sure workers know how to fit them
  • Choose protectors that reduce noise to an acceptable level, while allowing for safety and communication

Hands and Arms

Hazards

Abrasion, temperature extremes, cuts and punctures, impact, chemicals, electric shock, radiation, vibration, biological agents and prolonged immersion in water

Options

Gloves, gloves with a cuff, gauntlets and sleeving that covers part or all of the arm

Note
  • Avoid gloves when operating machines such as bench drills where the gloves might get caught
  • Some materials are quickly penetrated by chemicals
  • Barrier creams are unreliable and are no substitute for proper PPE
  • Wearing gloves for long periods can make the skin hot and sweaty, leading to skin problems. Using separate cotton inner gloves can help prevent this

Feet and Legs

Hazards

Wet, hot and cold conditions, electrostatic build-up, slipping, cuts and punctures, falling objects, heavy loads, metal and chemical splash, vehicles

Options

Safety boots and shoes with protective toecaps and penetration-resistant, mid-sole wellington boots and specific footwear, eg foundry boots and chainsaw boots

Note
  • Footwear can have a variety of sole patterns and materials to help prevent slips in different conditions, including oil – or chemical-resistant soles. It can also be anti-static, electrically conductive or thermally insulating
  • Appropriate footwear should be selected for the risks identified

Breathing

Hazards
  • Oxygen-deficient atmospheres, dusts, gases and vapours
Options – respiratory protective equipment (RPE)
  • Some respirators rely on filtering contaminants from workplace air. These include simple filtering facepieces and respirators and power-assisted respirators
  • Make sure it fits properly, eg for tight-fitting respirators (filtering facepieces, half and full masks)
  • There are also types of breathing apparatus which give an independent supply of breathable air, eg fresh-air hose, compressed airline and self-contained breathing apparatus
Note
  • The right type of respirator filter must be used as each is effective for only a limited range of substances
  • Filters have only a limited life. Where there is a shortage of oxygen or any danger of losing consciousness due to exposure to high levels of harmful fumes, only use breathing apparatus – never use a filtering cartridge
  • You will need to use breathing apparatus in a confined space or if there is a chance of an oxygen deficiency in the work area

Protecting the Body

Hazards

Heat, chemical or metal splash, spray from pressure leaks or spray guns, contaminated dust, impact or penetration, excessive wear or entanglement of own clothing

Options

Conventional or disposable overalls, boiler suits, aprons, chemical suits

Note
  • The choice of materials includes flame-retardant, anti-static, chain mail, chemically impermeable, and high-visibility
  • Don’t forget other protection, like safety harnesses or life jackets