Exposure to workplace hazards can lead to serious injury or illness and result in lost workdays, higher medical expenses, permanent disabilities or even death. This in turn can hurt an organization's production, reputation and, ultimately, its profitability. Depending on the job, hazards can be chemical, physical or biological in nature. Personal safety equipment is important because it offers exposure protection. The Occupation Safety and Health Administration requires that employers first try eliminating hazards using engineering and administrative measures. When this is not feasible, workers should be given personal safety equipment. The type of equipment depends on the particular job. Numerous options are available, and all are important in reducing the number of work-related injuries.
Protecting Ears, Eyes, Face and Lungs
Wearing ear plugs or muffs in loud, noisy work areas prevents hearing loss. Safety glasses or goggles protect eyes from airborne dust or other flying particles that cause blinding eye injuries. Face shields protect against welding sparks and chemical splashes. Personal respiratory equipment prevents inhalation of toxic materials that cause chronic illnesses or death.
Work gloves can prevent burns, abrasions, cuts and punctures to the hand. Steel toe boots and shoes prevent injuries to the toes and feet, which is important for those who work around sharp and heavy objects that could fall and cause serious damage. Jackets, coveralls and full body suits shield the body from contact with hazardous materials. The right gear can guard against a range of hazards, including biological threats. Wearing personal safety equipment like hard hats prevents head injuries from the impact of falling objects or contact with low clearance stationary structures.