Friday, 23 of March of 2018

Personal Protective Equipment (P.P.E.)

Most hazards can be minimized through the use of protective equipment. This equipment is used when other Hazard prevention/control measures do not eliminate the Hazard. However, it only protects the person who is wearing the equipment which is properly fitted and within its capability.

When using protective equipment it is important to remember the following;

  • Choose equipment that has been approved
  • Ensure equipment is correctly fitted and properly worn
  • Keep equipment clean and in good condition.
  • Put defective equipment for service (ASAP)
  • Fittings testing, adjustments and repairs are to be carried out by authorised persons only.

PPE is a general term referring to safety glasses, goggles or face shield; hearing protection; steel toed boots and footwear; gloves; hard hats and head protection; coveralls and special clothing.


The following should be considered;

Choose PPE to match the hazard
Obtain advice on proper selection
Institute workplace trials
Consider the physical comfort of PPE
Evaluate cost benefits of PPE usage
Ensure PPE meets standards / certification (e.g., CSA, CGSB, NIOSH, ANSI)


Fitting and wearing

Ensure individuals are fitted correctly for the PPE
Survey users to ensure PPE is worn properly and as required.


Ensure that workers know how to perform regular inspection. Maintenance and repair of their PPE


Verify that all users, supervisors, selectors, buyers, and storekeepers are trained. Training may vary depending on the type of the PPE.


The following should be considered;

Ensure that education programs are ongoing
Auditing the Program
Review the program at least annually
Review and compare production and safety performance records

Worker responsibilities include:

  •  Wear the right PPE for the job. Check with your supervisor and the safety representative if you are not sure.
  • Inspect PPE before and after each use
  • Take care of PPE at all times
  • Clean all PPE after use
  • Repair or replace damaged or broken PPE
  • Store PPE in clean dry air – free from exposure to sunlight or contaminants
  • Ensure you have been trained in how to fit, wear, and maintain PPE
  • Ensure training program includes information that explains when and what PPE should be worn, and why it should be worn


Head Protection

The head is the container for the most important organ in your body “the Brain” .Its purpose is to absorb knowledge, not blows. To prevent head injuries your headgear should protect your head and scalp from the following:

Falling materials.
Low ceilings
Contact with electrical currents
Over head spills from harmful materials and dust.

As these are common hazards, hard hats must be worn during all work inside plant area and other designated areas.

Classification of Protection levels ( C.S.A Z94)

G – General Use: for impact and penetration protection. Also provides some protection against  Unintentional electric shock.

E – Electrical Trades: for impact and penetration protection (as class G) but must also pass a dielectric  strength test to prove resistance against electrical shock.

C – Conducting: for impact and penetration protection only.


Guidelines for use:

Maintain the durable warning marking inside helmets.
Check before each use for faults.
After a severe blow to the helmet it must be discarded.
Clean according to manufacturer recommended instructions.
Store helmets in cool area away from direct sunlight.
Helmets should have a chinstrap to prevent falling off.
The retention system should be fastened and under tension
Use non-conducting and fire retardant helmet liners.
Keep helmet clean of all materials and dry to ensure best protection from electrical shock.



A serious compromise to the head gears ability to protect the wearer occurs when:

The helmet receives a severe blow.
Cleaned with solvents
Left in back window of a car
The helmet is used beyond the manufacturers recommended product life.
The helmet is painted or modified in anyway that is not allowed for by the manufacturer.


Eye and Face Protection

Damage to the eye may result in permanent scarring of the surface of the eye (the cornea). Surface damage can also be caused by ultra-violet (welding “arc eye”), infrared light, and from high power levels of microwave radiation. For maximum protection against eye injury, it is recommended that a mandatory program, requiring the wearing of eye protection 100% of the time in hazardous areas, such as process areas, laboratories and workshops, is implemented.

There is a variety of eye protection equipment available. CSA standard outlines seven classes for EYE AND Face protection. The classes include spectacles, eye-cup goggles, mono frame goggles, welding shields, face shields and hoods. Each eye protector is designed to limit the impact /contact of the Hazard with the eye , but they must be suitable for the work and worn properly.

There is a variety of available eye and face protection as illustrated in the eleven different types below.


Spectacles Look like regular glasses however, the lens and frames have been tested for impact resistance. Some come with side shields which fit on the arm of the device, and prevent particles entering the eye from the side.

Eyecup Goggles provide complete protection around the eye socket area.  They usually have an elasticized headband but can be adjusted.

Monoframe & Cover Goggles provide all around protection from splash, dust and other Hazards. Similar to eye cup goggles, except there is only one frame around both eyes instead of one frame around each eye, these are held in place by elasticized head band.

Welding shields is another form of protective device. These devices can be either helmet mounted or hand held. Each shield has both a shaded lens to prevent eye injuries from the intense light created when welding and an impact resistant lens.

Face Shields provide impact, splash, and heat or glare protection to the face. Normally attached to a helmet, they swing down over the face when protection is required. Because they are moveable it is recommended to use them in conjunction with another type of eye protection device.

Hoods are primarily designed for sandblasting and similar operations. Each hood consists of an impact resistant lens, an impact resistant helmet and a fabric curtain which comes down over the shoulders and is tied off. Hoods may also come with an air supply system.

Guidelines for use of protective eye wear:

  • Approved safety glasses with side shields are preferred eye protection in most cases.
  • Each wearer should be fitted with eye protection. Spectacle fittings should ensure that the frames cover the eye socket area.
  • Each wearer should have a cleaning cloth and cleaning solution available at job site. Lenses should be wet when cleaning to prevent scratching.
  • Eye protectors should be stored adequately when not in use.
  • Frames and lenses should be inspected for cracks, scratches and other damage that will weaken the ability to protect the wearer.
  • Repair or replace the equipment if any defect found during inspection.


Common Causes of Eye Injuries

Common causes for eye injuries are:

  • Flying objects (bits of metal, glass)
  • Tool damage
  • Particles
  • Chemicals
  • Harmful radiation
  • Any combination of these or other hazards

 Prevention of Eye Injuries

There are three things you can do to help prevent an eye injury.

  1. Know the eye safety dangers at work, by completing an eye hazard assessment
  2. Eliminate hazards before starting work. Use machine guarding, work screens, or other engineering controls
  3. Use approved eye protection.


Hearing Protection

Sounds are a part of normal living. However, sound becomes noise when it is considered harmful. In the Regulations for industrial establishments under the OHS Act sounds become noise when the level exceeds 85 Decibels. Studies have proved that at this level hearing loss both temporary and permanent can occur.

Sound is an air pressure disturbance travelling in waves. A decibel measures both the size and loudness of the wave and the frequency or pitch of the waves hitting the eardrum.

Hearing protectors are barriers that reduce the amount of noise to the ears. These devices can either be disposable plugs, permanent plugs of earmuffs.

Disposable plugs are either mineral down or plastic foam. Their elasticity lets them adapts easily to changes in the ear canal from person to person. Generally these reduce noise by 25 to 30 dB in the higher frequencies which are generally considered to be the most harmful sound levels.

Permanent plugs are made of plastic or silicon rubber. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes to suit different ear canals. These devices can be used more than once as they can be easily cleaned. These units protect like the disposable plugs.

Ear muffs consists of 2 insulated plastic cups equipped with cushions for seal and comfort. The cups are attached to a wire or plastic band that create either a single unit which can be worn by itself or the bands fit into the helmet.

These reduce the noise level by 15 to 03 dB at all frequencies.

Since they reduce noise at all frequencies they are considered to be the best type of protection. In addition they are not inserted into the ears and the chance of infection is lessened.


Classification of hearing protection levels

The American national safety institute has developed 3 classes which group a range of noise reduction ability at different frequencies.

The environmental protection agency requires all noise protection devices to have a noise reduction rating (NRR) in dB.

Class                                                               NRR

A                                                                      30+

B                                                                      17 TO 30

C                                                                     UNDER 17


Serious compromise to the ability of the hearing protection occurs when a proper seal is not obtained. The noise reduction ability could be reduced 5 to 15 dB. Modification have been made to devices (drilling holes, trimming the plugs etc). The device becomes dirty, the molding ability decreases or components crack due to age or stress. When hearing loss already exists in the individual, hearing protection may hinder the hearing of an individual.

Guidelines for use

The type of hearing protection required is as follows.

dBA noise level                                                         Protection Class

Less than 85                                                               no protection required

85 – 89                                                                         class c

89 – 95                                                                        class B

95 – 105                                                                      class A

105 – 110                                                                    class A plug with class A or B muff

110 and >                                                                   class A plug with class A muff and

Limit the exposure time.


Hearing protection will not hinder the hearing of another’s voice unless there already is hearing loss with the individual. Hearing muffs attached to the hard hat should be used whenever possible.

When using foam earplugs ensure the hands are clean as the dirt quickly contaminates the ear plugs and causes ear infection.

General maintenance includes cleaning after each use, replacing reusable plugs and muffs as per manufacturers’ instructions.


Respiratory Protection

Respiratory protection is used to protect the wearer from Hazardous airborne containment (gas, vapour, mist, fumes or dust) or in an oxygen deficient environment. There is a variety of equipment available to protect the wearer from these HAZARDS.


Respirators come in 2 basic types. Those that filter out hazardous substances (air purifying) and those that supply an outside source of air ( supplied air respirators) further to these categories, all respirators operate in one of the following modes.

Pressure demands or Negative pressure, in which the air is delivered to the wearer only during inhalation.

Constant flow delivers a flow of air through either a battery powered fan, a compressed air system or a small cylinder.

Positive pressure units maintain a minimum air pressure within the face piece at all times even when the wearer inhales. This pressure inside prevents any inward leakage of hazardous airborne particulates.


Air Purifying Respirators

As their name indicates, these devices purify the air drawn through them. They operate with a filter, which removes the containment by either trapping in on the filter or neutralizing it with another substance.
A mechanical filters either a dust mask or a cartridge filter that will remove solid particles.
An organic vapor cartridge filter contains activated charcoals or similar substance to remove vapors created by paint, adhesives, toluene etc.
An acid gas cartridge filter contains materials designed to absorb acids.
An ammonia cartridge filter removes ammonia gases.


Hand Protection

Your hands perform a wide variety of tasks and because of this they are exposed to a great number of hazards. Protective equipment is needed to prevent injuries from temperature extremes, motion, sharps, chemicals, electricity and biological substances.

The protection can be provided in a number of different ways; barriers creams, finger guards, cots and thimbles, hand pads, mitts and gloves.

Gloves come in many different styles and are constructed of different materials. Materials can be cotton, leather, vinyl, rubber, neoprene and the list goes on. Each style and material combination provides protection from one or more types of hazard.

Here are some guidelines for the selection of Hand protection.

Choose hand protection that adequately protects from the hazard.
Follow manufacturer’s instruction for care and maintenance.
Ensure gloves fit properly.
Ensure all exposed skin is covered by gloves. Gloves should be long enough so that there is no gap between the glove and sleeve.
Do not wear gloves with metal parts near electrical equipment.
Do not use worn or torn gloves.
Do not wear gloves while working on moving equipment: they can get caught.
Wash off all chemical protective gloves with water before removing them.
Inspect and test gloves for defects before using.
Test all rubber gloves for leaks by inflating them.


Foot Protection

Safety foot wear is designed to protect the feet against a wide variety of injuries. Impact, compression and puncture are the most common types of foot injury.

It should also protect against penetration from beneath the sole of the foot, be reasonably waterproof, provide good grip and be designed for comfort.

It is important to purchase the correct size of footwear. Electrical insulation can be assisted by the correct footwear for the circumstances, and anti-static conducting shoes are essential where static effects need to be eliminated.

Guidelines for Footwear Use:

  •  Choose footwear according to the Hazard.
  • Select certified foot wear. Ensure that it has the proper rating for the Hazard and the proper sole for the working conditions.
  • Walk in new footwear to ensure it is comfortable.
  • Lace up boots fully. High cut boots provide support against ankle injury,
  • Use a protective coating to make footwear water resistant.
  • Use metatarsal protection (top of the foot between the toes and ankle)
  • Inspect footwear regularly for damage.
  • Repair or replace worn or defective foot wear.


Fall Protection

Where the worker is exposed to the hazard of falling and the surface to which he or she might fall is;

  • More than three meters.
  • Into operating machinery
  • Into water or another liquid.
  • Into or onto a hazardous substance or object.

The fall arrest system shall consist of a suitable combination of a belt, full body harness, a lanyard, an anchor and a rope grabbing device or lifeline.

The fall arrest: shall be arranged that if the wearer falls, the wearer will be suspended not more than 1.5 meters below his/her location before the fall.

The fall arrest shall be equipped with a shock absorber or other devices to limit the maximum arresting force to 8 kilonewtons to the wearer.

The belt, full body harness, lanyard and lifeline shall:

  • Be made of material with elastic properties capable of absorbing and minimizing the arrest force in case of a fall.
  • Be designed to distribute a fall arrest force in such a manner that the possibility of injury to the worker is minimized.
  • Free of sharp edges.
  • Be of sufficient strength to absorb twice the energy that may be transmitted to the fall arrest system and not be knotted or allowed to become knotted, when used.


The primary limitation of fall arrest protection is the secondary injuries that can be sustained while wearing this unit.
Facial injuries can be caused when dragging an entrant out in a horizontal position.
Prolonged suspension after a fall can cause circulatory problems.
A fall can cause spinal injuries and bruising.
Another limitation is that most units are designed for vertical entry not horizontal ones, which can significantly reduce the unit’s ability to retrieve.

Guidelines for Fall Arrest Use:

Inspection of the system should be completed before and after each use.
Clean and service the system after each use.
After a fall the webbing and rope/wire should be discarded.
If there is any doubt as to the ability of the system to function properly, take the system out of service and have it checked out.


Proper Work Clothing and Work Attire

The following are guidelines for proper work clothing and work attire.

(a) Shorts, tank tops or trousers with cuffs are not recommended. Long-sleeve shirts are recommended.

(b) Finger rings, loose jewelry and torn clothing can become hazardous and shall not be worn.

(c) When working around energized electrical equipment, finger rings, metal-framed glasses, large belt buckles and watches shall be removed or  protected to prevent contacting live components.

(d) Hand tools and other objects shall secured and should not be placed in the pockets of trousers to prevent the possibility of snagging on moving objects or contacting energized equipment.

(e) Personal protective equipment shall not be used by other unless sanitized.

(f) Clean clothing especially free from oil shall be worn when performing welding or cutting operations.

(g) The use of synthetic clothing, such as polyester, especially when welding, grinding or working around an open flame can become hazardous. Cotton clothing is recommended.