Key Questions to Guide Effective Selection of Personal Protective Equipment
By Paul Bryce, Ansell |
Armed with a proper understanding of chemical exposure risks and available safety solutions, engineers can be confident in selecting the best personal protective equipment to provide reliable barriers to workplace hazards
There is a tendency to think about personal protective equipment (PPE) in the workplace in the abstract — as a requirement to be checked off, rather than a critical component of worker safety and often the last line of defense. Most organizations care deeply about safety, of course, but their understanding of PPE — especially PPE designed to protect against chemical exposure — can be limited.
That is a problem, because different chemicals react differently to different PPE materials, and even today, there are examples of well-meaning companies that provide the wrong PPE to workers handling various types of dangerous chemicals. Just last year, there was an incident in which a manufacturer discovered a gap in its PPE program only when workers suffered adverse effects, believed to be because of exposure to chemicals in the workplace. It was a costly mistake, resulting in significant fines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA; Washington, D.C.; www.osha.gov) and an overhaul of the company’s…