PPE stands for Personal Protective Equipment and protects users from health and safety risks at work. PPE equipment can provide protection for the eyes, body, respiratory systems. Much of PPE equipment is designed for single use by only one user.
In this article, we will cover the different types of PPE available, the reasons why PPE is important and how PPE is used by those working in healthcare settings.
Types of PPE equipment
There are types of PPE to protect different areas of the body, including:
Protection for eyes
Protection for respiratory systems
This can include face masks and respirators. This type of protection is used when there is a risk of contamination in the air or deficiency of oxygen. PPE such as surgical face masks have been used by those working in hospitals and care homes as it helps to reduce the risk of spreading airborne infections such as the coronavirus.
Protection for hands
PPE such as gloves should be worn when there is a risk of coming into contact with body fluids, unclean instruments and harmful substances such as chemicals.
Protection for feet
Protective footwear should be worn to provide protection from injuries and to support the user. Instances, where you might need to wear PPE for feet, include:
- When working in laboratories, workshops and field trips
- Working with chemicals
- Standing or walking for long periods of time for support
Protection for skin
PPE for skin will need to be used where employees are at risk of damaging their skin from sunlight or harmful chemicals. This includes gloves, sun cream and clothing which covers the skin.
Head protection such as helmets will need to be worn in workplaces where there is a risk of falling objects, knocking your head on surfaces or electrical hazards.
Protection for hearing
Ear defenders or plugs should be worn where there is a risk of damage to hearing.
Why do we need PPE?
It’s very important to use PPE when keeping the workplace safe for staff and visitors and has also played an instrumental part in keeping the public safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
PPE is important to use where required in order to avoid any injuries in the workplace and to reduce the risks of developing health issues. Here are just a few benefits of wearing PPE:
- Protection: PPE is designed to keep people safe in the workplace and helps to avoid injuries and health issues.
- Affordable: you can find PPE equipment even on a low budget, and you can save money by buying in bulk for the workplace.
- Comfort: PPE is designed to be comfortable for the user so that they can carry on with their workload.
- It’s made to a high standard: PPE must undergo thorough testing to meet health and safety standards before it hits the shelves.
- Minimises risks to health: To prevent the spread of airborne viruses such as COVID-19 respirator masks can help by protecting you from inhaling dust into your lungs. Other forms of PPE such as gloves can also prevent the spread of disease.
How to use PPE equipment for COVID-19
The need for PPE has increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic as it helps to prevent the virus from spreading. PPE is used mainly by those working in healthcare. Medical-grade masks and PPE can be worn by the public. Here is how those who are required to wear PPE put on their PPE equipment:
- Firstly they find the correct form of PPE to wear (such as gowns, masks and face shields).
- Hand sanitiser is applied to cleanse hands thoroughly.
- A protective gown is put on.
- Respirator or filtered face masks are put on which will cover both their nose and mouth.
- They put on goggles or face shields which will provide them with more protection for the face and eyes.
- Gloves are worn.
- At this stage, they will now be ready to take care of patients
PPE is designed for single-use and by one user before being correctly disposed of. There are some items, such as goggles that when properly disinfected they can be re-worn but the majority of the time, PPE is not shared. For the cases of single-use PPE, it is especially important not to re-use these items as it will pose a risk to employees – they must be properly disposed of.
Who is responsible for PPE?
Purchasing, stocking and enforcing the use of PPE where necessary is the responsibility of the employer. Employees must be provided with a safe environment to work in but should also be responsible for their own safety. To ensure safety in the workplace employees should follow health and safety precautions provided.
Looking for PPE?
If you’re looking for PPE to keep yourself and staff safe in the workplace, Manutan has got you covered! Take a look at our range of PPE masks and have confidence in your safety at work.