A hard hat is one important piece of safety equipment.
Identifying hazards in the workplace helps both workers and management know the types of safety equipment that are required. Different environments require different equipment, and a variety of levels for each type of protection exist — also determined by the type of hazard. If workers are not using the proper safety equipment, health and legal problems can occur. Requirements for safety equipment are set forth by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration. Does this Spark an idea?
Safety glasses are used as eye protection in construction zones and laboratories to protect the wearer’s eyes from flying debris, chemicals, radiation and harmful light rays. Safety glasses are typically made of plastic as it is shatter-proof, lightweight and can be coated to block specific light waves. The glasses not only have front lenses but also feature side shields to protect the eyes from all angles. Safety glasses are available as sunglasses for work outside during the day and as prescriptive glasses.
Exposure to loud noises over both short and long periods can cause ear damage and hearing problems. Ear protection reduces the amount of noise that travels into the ear, and the amount of protection and noise reduction required depends on the amount of noise in the work environment. Ear protection comes in the form of earmuffs or earplugs. Earmuffs look somewhat like headphones and are made of foam-filled cushions, while earplugs sit inside the ear to provide noise reduction.
Head protection, typically in the form of a hard hat or a safety helmet, is required in construction zones. Hard hats are made specifically for industrial applications, while others are made for more general purposes. Situations in which items can fall from above will require a hard hat. Depending on the application or environment, a hard hat also requires a face-shield visor, which protects both the head and the face. Special makes of visors and helmets are made specifically for individuals to use in welding and grinding applications.
A number of items are considered respirator safety equipment. Dust masks are not actually breathing apparatus but protect the wearer from inhaling any large particles. Face masks, dust respirators, particulate masks, disposable respirators and n95 masks are all used to protect the individual’s lungs from substances in the work environment. Dust can be an irritant, and some industries use airborne chemicals that are extremely hazardous or an irritant if inhaled.