Most of the time, when we get ready to go out, we (guys and gals) have to be certain that everything is pretty close to perfect……from  hair, clothes, shoes, the works, we want to look good!  How about your work?  Many jobs require wearing several different types of personal protective equipment, all at the same time!  What serves the workplace correctly must not interfere with ones’ ability to perform their job.  Do you have the correct “outfit” for your job? 

Personal protective equipment, or p.p.e., as it is called, may cover a worker from head to toe.  Construction workers may wear hardhats, safety glasses, gloves, steel-toed boots, and other safety products.  Hospital employees not only wear scrubs or lab coats, but also may have to don face shields, goggles, safety glasses, and disposable medical gloves.  There are many types of p.p.e. that can accommodate one another.  Hardhats are made with slots that allow several other protective devices to attach to them, such as earmuffs, glasses, and even a pencil clip! 

For p.p.e. to be effective, workers must know that it is for their protection.  If it is uncomfortable or does not fit, they may not wear it.  Managers, who have employees’ safety in mind, must be a positive influence on their workers.  It is their responsibility to convey the importance of wearing the right p.p.e. that fits both the employee and the job.  They have prior experience and know the hazards of each particular job.  As well as enforcing safety, they must deal with issues, such as keeping up with OSHA guidelines, enforcing policies, and training workers in first aid and being prepared for workplace emergencies.   If industrial safety glasses are too big, they certainly aren’t going to protect the eyes.  (Hundreds of persons have had their eyes damaged seriously because they were not even wearing their safety glasses.)   If the hardhat doesn’t fit, it’s going to fall off and be of little use.  Not wearing p.p.e., or wearing it incorrectly can affect one’s health, quality,  and possibly duration of life. 

There are many kinds of p.p.e. that must be available at a moment’s notice.  Disposable clothing, for instance, may become soiled or damaged, and need to be replaced quickly, therefore, replacement supplies should be kept in stock.  Letting the workers make a personal choice of their p.p.e. could help ensure acceptance and compliance of safety policies.  Whatever it takes, the bottom line is the importance of personal protective equipment for the entire team – the managers, supervisors, and workers.  Each person is responsible for his own safety, but having good training and understanding of personal protective equipment and the role it plays in keeping each person safe is primary. 

You wouldn’t see a race car driver get into his vehicle without his entire suit of protective clothing, or a football or hockey player start to compete without first putting on those pads under their uniforms, so why should we begin our work without the right total “outfit?”