Safety First: Essential PPE

Safety is a workplace right, and all employers have a duty to enact processes and procedures that protect worker health and safety on the job. As an engineer, you likely value safety for yourself and your team members, but it’s easy to let safety slip when you have a million things happening at onceHowever, it’s important to remember that despite policies and procedures, safety is a personal issue. You are your best line of defense against hazards on the job, and that makes taking personal protective equipment (PPE) seriously. If you are lax with PPE, the people you work with and those who look up to you will think they can afford to be lax, as well. To model safe working practices, it’s time to get reacquainted with PPE. 

Types of PPE 

The type of work you do will dictate your PPE, but broadly all personal protective equipment can be classified into the following categories:  

    • Respiratory protection   
    • Eye protection  
    • Hearing protection  
    • Hand protection  
    • Foot protection  
    • Head protection  
    • Working from heights  
    • Skin protection  
    • Protective clothing 

It is important to know what types of PPE are required at each job site or location you visit, so that you can ensure your personal compliance while also setting a good example. If you are unsure about PPE requirements, use your best judgment.  

Engineers Should Model PPE Compliance  

According to a recent study by Kimberly-Clark, 90% of safety professionals have observed workers not wearing PPE when it was expressly required.  Nearly 30% observed this practice on a continual basis.  

OSHA logs over 4,000 worker deaths each year, many of which could have been prevented with PPE compliance. It only takes running through a plant one time without a hardhat or walking into a chemical lab without proper body coverings to spell disaster. That’s why it is so important for engineers to model good PPE compliance for their teams.  

There are times when you’ll forget PPE. You might have to rush into a job site and forget safety goggles, but it’s times like that when modeling good PPE compliance matters the most. If you show your team that there is always one second to grab a hardhat or gloves or glasses, etc., they will take notice and they will mirror your safety-first approach. 

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