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Workplace Safety From Personal Protective Equipment to Safety and Health Programs

By on October 16, 2017

Protective clothing

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that approximately 20 million workers within the United States use personal protective equipment in order to perform their jobs. When this equipment is used on a regular basis in conjunction with having access to industry-specific workplace safety and health programs, workers can be protected from a variety of potential job hazards.

Recent Data on Workplace Injuries and Illnesses

In the United States, there were roughly 2.9 million non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers during 2015. While the types of injuries and illnesses that can potentially occur are workplace-specific, industrial safety equipment and chemical protective suits are recommended for a variety of industries. So, too, are safety and health programs, particularly when working under hazardous conditions.

Preventing Eye Injuries

Eye injuries are just one of the types of preventable injuries that occur on an annual basis. Since there are thousands of workers that become blind every year due to work-regulated injuries, if they had been wearing appropriate eye and face protection, it’s likely that many of these injuries could have been prevented. Furthermore, for those individuals that were wearing protective gear, a large percentage of these workers may not have been properly wearing this protection.

Every year, these and other types of workplace injuries cost American companies over $300 million. This figure includes production losses, medical expenses, and worker compensation.

Permeation Resistant Clothing

When a chemical passes through a protective film, such as a glove, this process is referred to as permeation. The time it takes for a chemical to break through a protective film and the rate at which it does so, are the two values which are analyzed in order to provide data on permeation. This data is vital in order to determine the level of protection that a specific glove or garment can potentially provide.

Breakthrough resistance is determined by a material’s temperature, the workplace environment, and the barrier’s thickness. This breakthrough will occur at a faster rate when the temperature is higher than normal, such as 25 degrees Celsius.

It’s important to remember that 100% safety cannot be guaranteed with protective garments. Flame-resistant fabrics, for example, can still ignite and burn at the ignition point. These garments do, however, prevent flames from spreading further away from that point.

Adhering to Proper Workplace Safety Regulations and Protocols

While employers may be ultimately responsible for providing a safe workplace, workers also share in this responsibility. In addition to receiving thorough training and wearing the appropriate safety gear correctly, participating in workplace safety and health programs is also essential. When workers suspect and/or witness any deviations from the proper protocols, it is their responsibility to report this through the designated chain of command.

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