One important part of EHS compliance is protecting all employees from hazard exposure by providing them with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). If you need to develop company-wide EHS solutions, PPE must be included in all of your planning to ensure employees have the required equipment available. EHS services recommend selecting PPE according to need and potential hazard exposure.
Face and Eye Protection
Safety face and eye gear are essential for protection against airborne particles, splashes, burns, projectiles, vapors and mists, dust, and radiant energy. This equipment is available as numerous forms of protective eyewear as well as eye and face combination shields. To meet EHS compliance, the PPE your workers use must protect their eyes and/or face against all potential hazards including radiant energy.
There are many types of gloves available for protection from various chemicals as part of your company’s EHS solutions. Gloves are made from a variety of materials in a number of thicknesses and lengths to provide resistance to and protection from specific substances.
All available PPE products must include degradation and permeability information to assist in the selection of the proper gear depending on your specific hazards. The four most commonly used materials for making protective gloves are: natural latex rubber, neoprene, nitrile, and butyl rubber. Each material works well against some chemicals and not as well against others.
It is important to determine the degree of hazard when selecting protective footwear. EHS services recommend that bare feet, sandals, open-toed shoes, and more not be permitted anywhere a chemical hazard exists. Normal street shoes should only be permitted in low exposure areas.
Shoe covers may be required in medium exposure areas and formed boots in high exposure areas depending on the chemicals present. Boots are available in many different materials just like gloves and provide the best protection overall.
In addition to other PPE, additional body protection may be required for employees where splashes and spills are possible. Body apparel should cover the arms, torso, and legs to provide complete protection.Body protection must be selected according to exposure risk, type of exposure, and flame retardant qualities; this is also available in a number of materials.
Flame retardant cotton coats and smocks may be suitable in lower exposure areas. In higher exposure areas and working with especially dangerous chemicals, Tyvek coveralls are recommended.
When dust and toxic vapors or fumes are a concern, employers must also include appropriate respirators as part of their PPE. Respirators are gauged by their ability to filter various types of contaminants. They range from simple dust masks to full-face respirator masks. Respirators must be chosen based on the type of contaminant present, contaminant form, and its concentration.
Choosing safe and effective personal protection equipment to include in your company’s EHS solutions can be challenging. There are many products available, each of which protects against different hazards and meets various levels of EHS compliance. To ensure the safety of your employees by selecting the proper PPE, your company should discuss its needs with experienced EHS services who can help find the right products!