On 30th July, our friends from 3M Solutions presented “Everything you didn’t know about PPE” at our breakfast briefing on the roof. Below are some highlights.
A key takeout was most organisations have traditionally focussed on whether workers are wearing PPE. Rarely have we considered the correct type or fit of the equipment. As a result workers may not be protected as well as we think.
Other valuable points:
- It is important to select the PPE based on the specific workplace circumstances. For example, earplugs need to be selected to reduce excessive noise to the wearer however, blocking out too much noise can also create new hazards, e.g. if the wearer cannot communicate with colleagues or hear alarms.
- Different types of PPE are best suited to different people. When it comes to earplugs and respirators, there’s not a “one size fits all” type.
How long do respirator filters last?
- Respirator filters stop being effective if not replaced often enough. Many factors will determine how often is often enough, such as the level and type of contamination, physical work person’s breathing rate, humidity and the substance type. Respirator filters are only effective if the correct type of filter is chosen for the substance you are exposed to and the respirator is correctly fitted to the individual uses.
Storage of PPE
To retain its effectiveness, PPE must be stored correctly. For example, respirators should be stored in an airtight container (an airtight lunchbox type container will do fine!)