The Components of PPE and How to Buy it


Personal Protective Equipment, PPE, is basically the tool that ensures health protection and safety. It often includes items like safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high visibility wearable, safety footwear, harnesses, and respiratory equipment. Employers have to ensure the provision and proper use of personal protective at work, as per Article 16 – Occupational Safety and Health Convention 1981.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), PPE is recommended as the last level of defense to help avoid occupational injuries and fatalities. Moreover, some businesses also combine PPE with other control measures to ensure a safe environment for their workers. 

Employers also need to train workers how to effectively use PPE by undergoing a suitable PPE program that addresses the hazards at the workplace, and the selection, maintenance, and use of PPE. This program can include the following:

  • When it is necessary
  • What kind of PPE is necessary
  • How to properly put it on, adjust it, and take it off
  • The limitations of the Personal Protective Equipment kit
  • Proper care, maintenance, life, and how to dispose of PPE

What does PPE not include?

There is various other safety equipment that is not considered essential PPE. Some of the most common examples are:

  • Ordinary uniforms are not designed to provide health or safety for the workers.
  • Clothing used for food hygiene.
  • Safety gear is used for protection while driving on a public road, for example, motorcycle helmets. 
  • Equipment used during sports. However, some protective equipment used by instructors is included in PPE.
  • A weapon used for self-defence, for example, truncheons used by the police. But helmets and body armour are the parts of PPE. 

When Selecting Personal Protective Equipment

Making a workplace safe includes encouraging people to work safely and responsibly. While selecting proper safety gear, an employer should:

  • Choose products suitable to the residual risk stands to the required standard. You can take the advice of your supplier in this matter. For example, look out at Portwest, the fastest-growing PPE manufacturer in the world, with more than 125 years of experience in this field. 
  • Choose equipment best suited to the user, including size, fitting, and weight. 
  • Never allow exemptions from wearing PPE, even for jobs that require a few minutes of working. 
  • If in doubt, an employer can take further advice from a specialist adviser from Kong, a company that has been protecting human life since 1830. 
  • Check with the supplier on what grounds PPE is appropriate while explaining the purpose to them. 

Types of Personal Protection Equipment

Although even the strictest controls may fail to eliminate the risks associated with hazardous jobs, this is where the need for PPE becomes critical and needs to be evaluated. A hazard assessment will help you decide on the type of specialized PPE required. Numerous workplace safety equipment is available depending on the hazard and work conditions. Some of the basic PPE that helps protect you and your employees are:

1. Face and Eye Protection

These include safety goggles and face shields to be used for tasks that can cause damage to the eye, a spray of toxic liquids, splashes, radiant energy sources, and burns. 

2. Respiratory Protection: 

Full-face respirators, gas masks, surgical masks, and other similar PPE are included under this category. It protects you against containments present in the workplace and has also become mandatory in the current COVID scenario. 

3. Skin and Body Protection

This category includes the following:

  • Head Protection: Hard hats and other headgear protect any object falling on the head.
  • Body Protection: It includes safety vests and suits that protect from tasks that may cause body injuries from extreme temperatures, flames, toxic chemicals, insect bites, radiation, etc.
  • Hands Protection: Gloves come under this section and are used for tasks that can cause hand and skin burns, protection from electricity, cuts, etc. 
  • Foot Protection: Knee pads and safety boots should be used for tasks that can cause leg injuries and protects the foot from hot substances, electrical hazards, and slippery surfaces. 
  • Fall Protection: PPE safety harnesses and lanyards are essential equipment that should be strictly used for tasks when there is a danger of falling.

4. Hearing Protection

Ear plugs are also a critical part of Personal Protective Equipment. Protections that reduce noise exposure to an acceptable level are recommended to mitigate hearing risks. 

Sourcing PPE

You can find many suppliers online and can order accordingly. There are several indirect purchase Europe platforms that help you procure personal protection kits that meet all safety compliance and allow you to buy products from various companies in a single invoice. Make your safety plan and go for its implementation, including the consideration of all measures to manage effective PPE usage as well.

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