Debunking Common Myths About Personal Protective Equipment

If you work in a warehouse or manufacturing environment, you’ve surely been required to wear protective equipment on the job. But when it comes to personal protective equipment (or PPE) in the workplace – hard hats, goggles, boots – there are a lot of myths and a lot of confusion.

People don’t always seem to be sure of what they need to wear, how often they need to wear it, and how effective it really is. Your employer usually has to provide the equipment and encourage you to wear it, but as an employee, it’s your responsibility to wear it and adhere to proper safety protocols. Here are some common myths about personal protective equipment debunked.

1. The more PPE, the better.

It’s more important to wear the equipment you should wear properly than to overprotect with too many layers. This can result in heat stress or get in the way of easy, unrestrained movements. It might even limit your reaction time in case there is an accident and you need to move quickly.

2. Quick jobs don’t need PPE.

An accident can happen in just a second! So whether you’ll be in a hazardous area or using a dangerous machine for a few minutes or several hours, it’s important to wear all your required safety equipment. When you make exceptions, injuries and even deaths can occur.

3. It’s not important to clean and store PPE.

It’s so crucial to properly maintain and care for your safety equipment. Dirty equipment loses its effectiveness—think safety goggles—leaving other workers open to injuries or health hazards. Or you risk spreading bacteria, viruses and other germs if you don’t properly sanitize them. Any damaged or worn safety equipment should be reported to your supervisor immediately so it can be replaced.

4. One piece of PPE is sufficient.

You need to wear any and all safety equipment required for your job. There’s a reason your employer or oversight agency specifies certain pieces of equipment to be worn, and if you don’t comply, you risk harming yourself or those around you. When working with chemicals or machinery, many parts of your body are vulnerable, and requirements are aimed at protecting your entire body.

5. Gloves are too slippery.

It’s true that gloves sometimes seem bulky and cumbersome, but you can find gloves with certain modifications that make them easier to use. Some, for example, have textured finishes on the fingertips that allow you to grasp small, lightweight objects you don’t want to drop. Others have rough surfaces that keep fluids away from the gripping surface and prevent slips. And for people with latex allergies, many manufacturers make gloves with a synthetic alternative to keep everyone safe.

For more information on staying safe at work and for new job opportunities throughout Idaho and Utah, contact the team at Extreme Staffing today.

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