“Personal Protective Equipment” is among the most common buzz words we get to hear nowadays. The advent of the notorious, rapidly spreading virus has made everyone skeptical about their own safety.
In this piece of writing, we shall shed some light on the benefits of PPE and when and how to use personal protective equipment.
What Is Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?
Injuries at work, known as occupational injuries, are common. In the US, the incidence of non-fatal injuries was found to be 2.8/100 workers for the year 2019. In the same year, 5,333 workers in the US died as a result of work-related injuries.
Therefore, all companies and workplaces strive to make the environment a safer place. In order to protect your body from workplace injuries, personal protective equipment was introduced. This consists of equipment that is worn to limit and minimize the chances of getting exposed to hazards.
There are various components of PPE. The specifications of PPE vary according to the purpose and nature of the hazard. The components of Personal protective equipment necessary for health professionals are discussed below:
Gloves are protective coverings for your hands. Latex gloves were previously the sole masters of the category, but now newer classes have taken over. Nitrile gloves are beneficial for a number of cases. The main aim of gloves is to protect your hand skin from harm.
N95 respirator masks are superior to the standard surgical masks in providing protection against coronavirus.
Safety Glasses And Face Shields
Safety glasses completely cover the eyes. They are aimed to protect your eyes from different hazards, and the face shield covers the whole of your entire face to provide the same benefits.
Wearing shoes can protect your feet from injury. Dropping sharp instruments onto the foot is the last thing you would want to happen.
Earplugs or muffs cover the ears. Loud noises coming off from heavy machinery can be a source of discomfort. Employees working in such environments use earplugs (into the ear) or muffs (external covering of the ear) to protect their ears.
Hats at the head ensure the safety of the head. Head injuries are amongst the leading causes of death. Therefore, to protect this immensely delicate and sensitive part, a hard hat is made a part of PPE.
Fully-Bodysuits And Vests
Full body suits/vests cover your upper and lower body completely. This part is essential because it keeps your torso, abdomen, and limbs safe.
This category also includes gowns, coveralls, etc.
Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE)
Respiratory protective equipment is the ultimate protective equipment against respiratory irritants and viruses that spread via respiration (novel coronavirus, etc.). It includes various types of face masks and respirators.
There are different types of RPEs used for different purposes:
- Air-purifying respirator
- Powered air-purifying respirator
- Supplied-air respirator
- Auxiliary escape respirator
- Self-contained breathing apparatus
What Are The Uses/Benefits Of PPE?
The benefits and uses of PPE are discussed below:
Gloves And Suiting
Suiting that covers your arms paired with gloves imparts protection against:
- Extremes of temperatures
- Abrasive materials
- Biological agents
These coverings keep you safe from transmission of contagious viruses and bacteria such as the Ebola virus and COVID-19 virus in the medical world.
Face Shields And Safety Glasses
The main protection provided by face shields and goggles is against splashes, dust particles, corrosive liquids, and gases.
This part of PPE is ultimately beneficial for workers working on milling and sawing machines where chipped particles can fly off and disrupt the eyes.
Hats save your head and neck region from:
- Impact from falls
- Head bumping
- Objects falling and injuring the head
- Hair getting trapped inside a machine
Safety helmets and hats are essential for firefighters, electric repairers, and daredevils.
Respiratory Protective Equipment
Masks and respirators prevent inhalation of:
- Dust particles
- Toxic and allergic substances
- Harmful gases
- Air-borne viruses (diseases)
- Influenza virus
Shoes and the lower part of protective suiting provide sufficient protection against heavy loads, falling objects, electric shocks, slipping, cuts and punctures.
The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus has raised concerns in international health organizations. The World Health Organization has recognized that the virus majorly transmits from infected to healthy individuals via the breath. Therefore, masks, respirators, and face shields are identified as the best means of protection.
It is also believed that the virus may also spread via hands. Therefore, WHO recommends the use of PPE to prevent the spread of this deadly virus.
Who Can Benefit The Most From PPE Usage?
People from different walks of life can use personal Protective Equipment. The most significant benefit of PPE is utilized by healthcare professionals.
- Healthcare workers dealing with coronavirus patients MUST wear PPEs to protect themselves and their families from this deadly virus. The list includes doctors (dentists, physicians, surgeons) and paramedical staff (nurses, assistants, ward staff, etc.).
- Law enforcement agency workers were deputed to serve and deal with COVID-19 patients. This includes ambulance drivers, police officers, and hospital guards, etc.
- Lab technicians working on a diagnosis and testing of the deadly COVID-19 virus.
- Dentists can make better use of the PPE than other medical professionals. This is because they are exposed to aerosols and air contaminants coming from tooth cutting, plus there is a greater risk of dropping sharp, infected instruments.
From Where Can I Get The Best PPE?
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is our weapon against COVID-19 and is a must for those dealing with COVID patients including health professionals. The equipment consists of gloves, safety glasses, gowns, and respiratory protective equipment (face masks and respirators).