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PPE – What You Should Buy, and Why

Posted by Toolstop on 15th Sep 2011

PPE, or personal protective equipment, is a day to day consideration for anyone on a job site. In fact, it’s likely to be established in law that we must be adorned with various forms of PPE before we can even set foot on the job site.

In this guide we’re going to walk you through what you need to know before buying your next piece of PPE and whether it’s possible to look guide while staying safe.

PPE clothing is all about protecting us from hazardous environments, and the range of clothing classed as ‘PPE’ is vast.

However, in this guide we’re going to keep it fairly simple and go from top to toe, just as you can see in our image.

Hard Hats

Obviously the point of a hard hat is to protect your head, allowing you to safely work on the job site without worrying about falling objects injuring you.

As is usually the case with PPE, choosing a hard hat – or safety hat – that’s right for the sort of work you’ll be undertaking is important. Therefore, keeping an eye on the safety rating of the hat we’ll choose for ourselves – or are supplied via our employer – should be remembered.

For example, the JSP AHC110-000-100 Mk3 Comfort Plus Safety Hardhat (pictured) conforms to EN397, ANSIZ89 and EN50365 ratings, which in plain English means the hard hat is designed to protect you from top and lateral impacts and electrical shocks and has been rigorously tested accordingly.

Toolstop also stocks a vented, short peak safety hard hatthat conforms to the EN 397:1995 standard. This means the helmet has been tested with a weight of 5kg being dropped on it from a height of 1m. This safety hat is ideal for when you’re working in warm conditions due to it’s excellent vents.

Comfort is clearly an important factor if you’re wearing a hard hat all day. Therefore, look out for adjustable, terylene harnesses and foam head bands.

The ability to fit ear and face protection to your hard hat should also be considered.

Ear Protection

A personal hearing protection device (or "hearing protector") is anything that can be worn to reduce the level of sound entering the ear. Essentially, ear protection is commonly found in 2 models:

  1. ear plugs
  2. ear muffs (such as pictured above)

Clearly each is going to provide us with a different level of hearing protection on the jobsite, according to the environment we’re working in.

When choosing ear plugs, comfort is obviously going to be a factor as the plugs intended to fit snugly into the ear canal, therefore look for ear plugs that are tapered in shape and manufactured from soft polyurethane. Typically, ear plugs will be disposable and are therefore bought in bulk.

Ear muffs are designed to fit over your ears, typically fastened around your head with a band, or alternatively, attached to your hard hat. Again, comfort will be a factor as well as safety.

Bilsom 818 ear muffs feature Natural Sound Technology™ which is engineered to overcome the problems of isolation and muffled, distorted sound found with conventional earmuffs.

If your ear muffs are "too good" at blocking noise reaching your ear canal, then you may not be able to hear warning sounds on the jobsite or your co-workers talking to you.

safety glasses

Eye Protection

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