Everyone needs to feel safe when they come to work. Depending on what type of workplace yours is, as an employer, you’ll need to ensure appropriate health and safety structures are in place. If you’re an employee with concerns about your workplace’s safety, you may want to read about the types of protective equipment available so you can suggest them to your employer.
Personal Protective Equipment
PPE is essential for safety in the automotive, construction, healthcare and manufacturing industries, among others.
In high-risk environments such as manufacturing floors, PPE may include hi-vis jackets, helmets and protective gloves. If the environment is excessively noisy, ear defenders with the right single number rating for the decibel level should be available.
Aside from PPE, employers should also use the correct equipment to keep heavy and potentially dangerous objects under control. For example, ratchet straps from a supplier like RS should be used to securely tie cargo to a vehicle.
If you work in a job where you are exposed to dust or a significant level of chemicals, you should be given respiratory protection. This may apply to construction workers, nail technicians and painters.
There are different types of respiratory protection. A light dust mask (with a CE marking) (also known as a lightweight disposable respirator”) is often used for small agricultural settings. They are suitable when your job brings you into contact with non-toxic, non-fibrogenic dust, bacteria and mould.
In workplaces with higher risk, full breathing apparatus may be required.
Those who work at heights also need to safeguard against the risks of falls. It’s true that the UK compares favourably to other countries regarding workplace-related fatalities. However, last year one of the most common causes of workplace fatalities in this country was falling from a height.
A multi-purpose harness can allow the wearer to work in several conditions, with multiple attachment points on the front and back. There are other types worth looking into also, such as a suspension harness that has low frontal attachment points for wearers who need to use it with a descent control device and rope access equipment.
First Aid Kits & Emergency Equipment
All workplaces, irrespective of industry, should have one or more first aid kits of an appropriate size for the number of employees. These are easy to pull out when someone has a minor injury like a cut or burn. Plasters, bandages and sterile dressings are usually included.
All workplace needs an ample supply of fire extinguishers too, serviced once per year. Regulations stipulate that there must be at least two Class A fire extinguishers on each floor of the building, unless it is very small. They must be clearly visible and you must ensure you have the correct types of extinguisher for your building.
Safety at work is of paramount importance. Is it time your workplace reviewed its health and safety policies?