Personal Protective Equipment is commonly known as PPE. It is worn to reduce exposure to workplace hazards that may cause illnesses and injuries. These may come as a result to contact with radiological, physical, mechanical, chemical, or other workplace dangers. This protective gear may incorporate items such as safety glasses, and shoes, gloves, respirators, earplugs or muffs, vests, coveralls, full-body suits or gowns.

Proper use and maintenance

All of your protective gear should be carefully designed and constructed. It should be maintained cleanly and decently. It should be of a correct and comfortable fit, which encourages workers to use it. If it does not fit well, it spells the difference between being covered safely or dangerously unprotected. Employers must provide PPE to their workers and train them regarding their proper use. Employers should also ensure that each worker knows:

  • When it is necessary to wear the PPE
  • What kind of PPE is necessary
  • How to put it on, wear, adjust and take off
  • The limitations of the PPE
  • Care, maintenance, service life, and proper disposal

Likewise, a PPE program should be established. The program should address the workplace hazards present; selection, use, maintenance of PPE, employee training, program monitoring to ensure its effectiveness.

PPE in the time of COVID-19

The World Health Organization has also released recommendations about the use of PPE’s this time of COVID-19. In this context, Personal Protective Equipment includes medical masks, gloves, face shields or goggles, gowns, respirators for specific procedures (N95 or FFP2 standard, or it’s equivalent) and aprons. These are intended for healthcare workers or anyone else treating COVID-19 infected patients.

Use of PPE

Health care personnel in direct contact with patients should wear the following: gloves, gowns, eye protection (face shield or goggles), and mask. For aerosol-generating procedures, health workers should wear eye protection, gloves, respirators, gowns, aprons must also be worn if gowns are not fluid resistant.

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