What does PPE stand for? Importance of PPE, Types of PPE and how to buy the best PPE


Table of Contents

Last updated on January 23rd, 2024 at 02:30 am

What is the meaning of PPE? What does PPE mean?

PPE has recently become a term used by businesses, people, and organizations worldwide, especially since the emergence of Covid-19. However, a lot of people continue to question the acronym’s meaning. The official WHO definition of what PPE stands for is Personal protective equipment, which refers to equipment used to prevent or lessen exposure to hazards. These include biological, chemical, radiological, electrical, mechanical, and electrical hazards.

types of ppe
types of ppe

However, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Personal Protective Equipment Program definition of PPE gives PPE a much larger descriptive definition as the “technical methods, processes, techniques, tools, and materials that prevent work-related injury, illness, and death.”

Types of PPE

The various types of PPE include the following examples:

Mask Ear plugs respirators
Welding apron face shield welding face shields
Blasting Safety nets fall protection and harnesses
Full-body suits Helmets goggles
working shoes shoe covers escape set

Without PPE, exposure might result in illnesses and injuries. As a result, PPE is used by a wide range of industries to safeguard their employees from workplace danger. PPE is frequently used in the mining, chemical, pharmaceutical, and construction industries. Healthcare workers also use it to ensure their safety while on the job. For example, to reduce their risk of contracting a virus, doctors treat contagious patients while wearing PPE.

Employers must provide employees with personal protective equipment and train them on how to use it properly to reduce the risk to their health and safety. According to the fundamental principle, personal protective equipment or PPE must only be used as a last resort because employers must also take other precautions to reduce risk at work.

Hierarchy of control and PPE

The CDC states that limiting worker exposure to risks at work is essential for worker protection. The hierarchy of controls for reducing or eliminating hazards is a method for choosing the actions that will best control exposures. And generally, five action levels are included in the hierarchy of controls. Based on general effectiveness, the ranking of the actions is:

  • Elimination
  • Substitution
  • Engineering controls
  • Administrative controls

Employing this hierarchy can lower worker exposure and reduce the risk of illness or injury. Personal protective equipment, or PPE, is the last line of defense and is found at the bottom of this hierarchy of hazard controls. Despite this, it is still important to have PPE that is well-fitting, correctly constructed and maintained because PPE can help to prevent accidents on the job site. But, protection should never take the place of other precautions.

What are the Limitations of PPE?

PPE is frequently regarded as the apex of safety gear because it protects users from harmful substances and reduces the risk of injury. However, PPE has some limitations regarding its ability to shield workers from dangerous hazards.

  1. PPE can only offer a small degree of protection against exposure to potentially harmful substances and particles. It does not protect against falls or other injuries from surfaces or objects, nor does it effectively prevent skin exposure to potentially harmful substances. 
  • PPE can aid in defending the wearer against chemical and biological dangers. It does not shield the wearer from physical risks like cuts and scrapes. PPE can also make it difficult to see and maneuver.
  • Additionally, PPE does not offer defense against dangers posed by heat, cold, or electricity. They may cause difficulty in ventilation for the wearer. A chemical hazard might be created if the PPE gets wet.
  • PPE can also cause a lot of discomfort and diversion for workers. It can be uncomfortable and suffocating to wear, and it can be hot and sweaty in warm climates. Workers who are required to wear PPE for extended periods may find it frustrating.
  • PPE has some drawbacks in addition to its shortcomings and comes with some risks. PPE can become lost or damaged, resulting in exposure to dangerous substances. If the PPE fails, workers who are required to wear it risk getting hurt. Although PPE has its limitations, wearing it is still preferable to not wearing it.

Why is PPE important? What are the Benefits of Personal Protective Equipment

Beyond providing immediate health protection, personal protective equipment has many benefits for businesses and healthcare professionals. It protects these workers from bacteria, viruses, and other contamination. While providing and upholding compliance comes at a cost, employers must remember that one serious accident to an employee could end up costing much more than the cost of PPE for the workplace for a year. As a result, accident prevention is a crucial financial goal to keep in mind when evaluating PPE procurement.

Other benefits of PPE at the Workplace

  1. Improved Job Satisfaction and Confidence

Personal protective equipment is an essential component of any workplace health program due to the advantages listed above and the fact that it boosts employee morale and overall productivity. Employees are less stressed and have a positive attitude toward their work when they feel safe and at ease. This results in a more contented workforce with fewer sick days and absences.

  • Occupational Safety 

Imagine suffering an injury at work only to learn that you’ll have to pay for your own medical bills because your employer or the employer’s insurance policy deems your damage to be the result of negligence. Unfortunately, it’s possible that accidents like falls, slips, exposure to dangerous materials or potentially infectious material, cuts, stings, burns, bruises, etc., will result in an injury. But you might be eligible for compensation from your employer’s insurer if you suffer an injury while donning the appropriate protective gear. As a result, you can shield yourself from financial ruin by making the necessary protective equipment purchases.

  • Decreased Staff Turnover

Employees who enjoy their jobs will frequently stay on the job longer than those who don’t. Because of this, giving your employees the best PPE is crucial, so they are adequately protected and have no reason to quit their jobs. By limiting absences from work due to illness or injury, protecting employees from workplace hazards also helps to lower staff turnover. In other words, a safe workplace enables your business to operate at total capacity, boosting output and revenue.

  • No more Legal fees, Fines, or Prosecutions

To protect your employees from work-related illnesses, injuries, and fatalities, it is your legal duty as an employer to provide personal protective equipment (PPE). And breaking this OSHA and international health protection rule could result in legal action, steep fines, payouts of compensation, or even jail time. Therefore, the only way to avoid potential legal actions and financial losses is to ensure your employees wear the proper PPE to prevent injuries.

  • Goodwill and an Awesome Reputation

The reputation of your business among partners, work, and customers are enhanced when you invest in high-quality PPEs. And what’s the prize? Your clients will recognize the difference and be eager to refer others to your company. Additionally, you’ll start drawing investors and more loyal customers, accelerating your growth.

  • Enhanced Effectiveness and Productivity

Personal protective equipment can help your operation run more smoothly. For example, wearing the best quality gloves while preparing food allows you to handle large quantities of ingredients without risking burns or cuts. Similarly, you can see better and prevent eye injuries when welding while wearing goggles.

General responsibilities of Employers to PPE use

Employers are generally responsible for ensuring that all employees are safe while working and using personal protective equipment (PPE). Both employees and employers need to understand the general responsibilities of employers when it comes to PPE. Here are four key points to keep in mind:

  • Employees must be adequately fitted with PPE when needed.
  • Employers must ensure that PPE is properly maintained.
  • Employees must be trained on how to use PPE properly.
  • Employers must ensure that PPE is not a potential safety hazard.

General Responsibilities of Employees to PPE use

When it comes to wearing personal protective equipment, there are also some legal obligations for employees (PPE).

  • Employees must wear the proper PPE at all times.
  • They must participate in PPE training sessions.
  • They should also ensure that PPE is kept tidy and functional.
  • Employees must exchange any defective PPE from the store and notify the Supervisor.
  • When the PPE is deemed insufficient for the task at hand, employees must seek advice from field HSES personnel or their Supervisor.
  • They should avoid being careless when using PPE.

What are the consequences of not providing the correct PPE?

If you don’t give your staff the PPE they need to stay safe, they may be in danger of suffering injuries or even death. It could cost your business money in settlements and fines from legal actions if there is an accident on-site or a complaint has been made against you for breaking health regulations. Even worse, you might have to spend time in jail or prison! This is because globally non-woven material is being used to make the best quality PPEs today.

Ways to Encourage Workers to Use PPE; How do I encourage Work to use PPE

Although you may provide personal protective equipment (PPE), there is no guarantee that your staff will use it. As a result, a lot of work needs to be done before employees can be protected with PPE. Your employees will understand why they should wear their required PPE when performing tasks if you educate them on the uses and advantages of PPE. This training and information are essential because many misconceptions exist about PPE use and its benefits. To encourage employees to wear PPE, you could do the following:

  • Make sure to demonstrate proper PPE use to your employees. For instance, they must understand how to care for their PPE and when and where it is appropriate to wear or remove it.
  • Employers can guarantee that workers know the proper ways to wear and store personal protective equipment by posting signs at each location where PPE is required. By posting signs around the facility, workers are reminded of the value of using safety equipment.

PPE Importance in Health Care

PPE is a critical component of the healthcare puzzle. It can help keep patients safe from potential injuries and protect them from potentially harmful environmental factors. Some of its importance in healthcare include the following among many others;

  1. PPE can assist in defending patients against infections, both severe and minor. PPE, for instance, can aid in preventing respiratory infections, which can be fatal in older people or people with compromised immune systems. In the emergence of Covid-19, the best surgical masks and facemasks have been noticed to be magnificent at this job.
  • PPE can also aid in defending patients against infections, both minor and serious. For instance, PPE can help prevent respiratory infections, which can be fatal in older people or people with compromised immune systems.
  • Falls are the number one killer of elderly patients, and PPE can help keep them from suffering life-altering injuries. It can also aid in preventing fractures, which can be crucial in avoiding long-term disability.
  • Bloodborne pathogens, such as hepatitis B and C, can be deadly if they enter the body through a cut or wound. However, PPEs can aid in defending patients against these infections.
  • In the medical space, PPE is also used in preventing burns, which can be very dangerous and cause severe physical and psychological harm.
  • PPE also helps improve patient care and shield patients from potential harm. It can aid in keeping patients cool and at ease in warm environments and prevent hypothermia and other incapacitating conditions.

How to buy the right PPE; How do I buy the best PPE?

Any worker in a hazardous environment needs to wear the right and best personal protective equipment (PPE). No matter what type of worker you are—a farmer, factory worker, construction worker, or any other—appropriate PPE can help keep you safe.

Making sure that PPE is comfortable and fits properly is crucial when choosing it. For instance, you might want to try various masks to determine which fits you best. To quickly defend yourself in an emergency, you also want to ensure that the PPE is simple to put on and take off.

You must also make sure to look up the equipment’s safety requirements before choosing PPE. For instance, you should confirm that your personal protective equipment (PPE) complies with local and international regulations.  You can be sure of this buying your PPE from some of the best PPE suppliers in 2023. Additionally, check to see that the PPE is marked and labeled to indicate the safety hazards it shields you from.

Don’t forget to receive training on how to use PPE. This training will make it easier for you to be alert to any safety issues and act quickly in an emergency.

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