Your Guide to Wearing Personal Protective Equipment

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By Jacob Maslow

During the initial stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, there was an uptick in health emergencies. With many people admitted to hospitals, healthcare workers were overwhelmed trying to meet everyone’s needs. But there was also a glaring hole in the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Many were unfortunately exposed to the virus without PPE, leading to higher infection rates. The government addressed the lack of PPE as time progressed, helping healthcare professionals tackle the virus more effectively. There were prescription safety glasses, masks, and full-body suits available. 

As a result, personal protective equipment has become more relevant for industries dealing with hazardous work conditions. But if you’re new to a workplace that requires PPE, you’ll need to know more about it. Our guide provides further insight.

What are the Benefits of Wearing PPE?

All businesses must provide a safe working environment for their employees, especially if they will be working with anything dangerous. The CDC has a hierarchy of controls, which details how certain elements should be dealt with. PPE is the last line of defense once all other measures have been used. 

It comes with benefits such as:

  • Preventing unnecessary injuries in the workplace
  • Protecting from chemical exposure
  • Limiting the spread of viral infections, i.e., Covid-19
  • Enhancing employee efficiency

The Different Types of PPE

Businesses can use the various hierarchy of control steps to provide the safest working environment possible. However, even strict measures may only eliminate some risks. So companies will need a hazard assessment to determine what equipment is required to keep workers safe. The various types are:

  • Face and eye protection
  • Respiratory protection
  • Skin and body protection
  • Hearing protection

Face and Eye Protection

PPE, such as goggles and face shields, are helpful when completing tasks that can cause eye damage or vision impairment. They’re also beneficial when working with toxic chemicals that can spray liquids or splash.

You should ensure your facial equipment has no cracks and that the straps can still secure around your face. Lastly, clean the objects after each use to keep them in the best condition possible.

Respiratory Protection

N95 masks, full-face respirators, gas masks, and surgical masks are PPE items that protect you from tasks where you could inhale harmful substances. They’re also beneficial against bacteria and viruses like Covdi-19 or the flu.

While you might be familiar with wearing masks due to their compulsory nature over recent years, there are still a few things to keep in mind, such as:

  • Reading the instructions carefully to determine if it’s the proper defense against your environment. 
  • Avoid touching your equipment or sharing it with another party during or after use. 
  • Replace a mask if it’s damaged or comes in contact with a substance
  • Dispose of a cover once a task is completed

Skin and Body Protection

Skin and body personal protective equipment covers a range of areas, such as the head, torso, hands, and feet. You should wear hard hats and other headgear for tasks where objects can fall on your head. For the best protection, make sure there are no deformities in your headgear. Also, use the appropriate cleaning agents to avoid weakening the protective shell.

Body protection consists of safety vests and full-body suits to protect against extreme temperatures, toxic chemicals, and radiation. Ensure that there are no openings in the suit to keep harmful agents away. Furthermore, correct sizing is essential to creating a safer environment.

PPE for hands includes gloves that help handle harmful substances or protect against items that can cause fractures. Hand protection should fit snuggly and be devoid of spaces to ensure maximum security. Regarding your feet, you should wear knee pads or safety boots when dealing with duties that could cause serious leg injury. Boots should be slip resistant and have soles in excellent condition. 

Hearing Protection

Ear protection is necessary if you’re working in an environment with excessive noise. It can help prevent hearing loss or damage. Ideal items include ear muffs or plugs. When using ear plugs, they should be in good condition and fit your ear canal snuggly. Protectors should reduce noise but still leave room for effective communication.

All You Need to Know About Personal Protective Equipment

As you can see, PPE is essential to specific work environments because it offers protection against harmful tasks. Knowing what PPE is necessary can help you perform your duties more effectively, depending on your field. When in doubt, ask someone instead of assuming to prevent any hazardous situations.


What is PPE?

Personal protective equipment, or PPE, is any clothing, gear, or device used to protect a worker from injury. It includes safety glasses, hard hats, face shields, and more.

Do I need PPE in all work environments?

Not necessarily. Depending on the task at hand and your workplace conditions, you may not require any PPE. However, it’s best to consult your employer or supervisor for advice about the items necessary for a particular job.

How Often Should I Replace My PPE?

The answer depends on how frequently you use your PPE and what kind it is. Generally, disposable items should be replaced after each use. Reusable equipment such as goggles and respirators should be cleaned and inspected regularly to ensure they are in the best condition possible.

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