Are you wearing the right PPE?
According to WorkSafe Victoria, from 1985 to 2008, over $19 billion was paid out in workers compensations claims as a result of injuries sustained in the workplace. And with over 29,000 cases of workplace injuries reported in Victoria in 2007/08 alone, it is little wonder that employers are continually reassessing their OHS standards and requirements to create a safer working environment.
Most of the workplace injuries sustained are easily preventable through the use of proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and common sense. These types of injuries include hearing loss and respiratory problems, in addition to physical injuries such as eye injuries and cuts due to workers wearing inadequate safety gear or, in some cases, not wearing any safety gear at all.
Employers are required under law to take every reasonable action and work proactively to ensure safety in their business activities. It is vital that employers properly educate their workers and provide adequate PPE to avoid potentially serious, and even deadly, consequences. From transportation to manual handling, it is essential that PPE is available, working adequately and most importantly - being used correctly by all workers.
Below are some tips from Honeywell Safety Products (previously Sperian Protection) on how employers and employees can reduce their preventable workplace injuries by using PPE.
Manual handling, burns and lacerations
The best way for workers to avoid injuries such as burns and lacerations which occur through manual handling of waste materials is to wear appropriate gloves. Businesses should ensure that their workers wear their gloves all day long and that they are adequately protected depending on the type of waste they work with. The gloves should meet the EN388 standard for cut, puncture, tear and abrasion resistance; be lightweight; and provide comfort and protection. Honeywell offers a wide range of gloves for all working conditions including the new industrial WorkEasy Polytril Plus, which is suitable for handling components/machinery even if they are oily and greasy, and also the new WorkEasy WE110, a general-purpose glove.
In 2007/08, 1469 cases of hearing-related injuries were reported to WorkSafe Victoria. In Victoria, the OH&S Noise Regulations set exposure standards to 85 dB averaged over an eight-hour period to a maximum noise level of 140 dB(C). While noise control is the most effective way of reducing or eliminating noise, it is not always practical. It is therefore important that workers use adequate hearing protection, such as earmuffs or earplugs, when working in noisy areas. Earplugs are a very popular option for hearing protection. Whether single-use or multi-use, earplugs are affordable, comfortable and come in a variety of shapes and ratings for all types of working environments.
Dust, sharp objects, aerosols and flying particles
Whether working indoors or outdoors, the eye is prone to damage from a large number of industrial hazards. In 2007/08, over 185 cases of eye injuries were reported in Victoria. Workers can be easily protected from risks to eye safety by wearing appropriate eyewear which is both lightweight and offers superior impact resistance. When choosing the correct safety eyewear, it is important to consider the working environment.
For outdoor workers, hazards include sun glare and reflection, as well as solid particles; indoor workers need to consider dust, aerosols, sharp objects and even sprays. Honeywell Safety Products provide customers with safety eyewear which has a variety of lens options to suit a wide range of applications. Choose from clear lenses for indoor use to grey lenses to protect eyes from sun glare and eye fatigue. Honeywell lenses are made from polycarbonate and absorb 99.9% of UV radiation. Lenses are available with an antiscratch coating to help prolong the life of the glasses or an antifog coating to prevent fogging in humid environments.
Dust and vapours
One of the greatest safety challenges in the industrial waste disposal industry occurs due to respiratory problems caused by dust and vapours in the air. Whether dealing with potentially toxic gases or irritating dust particles, appropriate respiratory protection is essential. Suitable for the industrial waste industry, Honeywell half-masks come with re-usable A2 organic vapour filters which are impregnated with carbon to remove odours and provide a more comfortable working environment.
The importance of wearing and using the correct PPE cannot be overlooked in any workplace, especially one which presents a high level of workplace safety risks as the waste management industry. To help your staff adhere to and comply with OHS standards, always make sure they are using the best PPE.
By Michael Carolan and Adrian To, Honeywell Safety Products
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