PPE kits are known as the last line of defense for a worker entering a hazardous environment. Even though they are the last line of defense, they are crucial for workers’ safety and are mandated by the law. OSHA Worker Rights requires every employer to provide their workers with the proper PPE when working in hazardous conditions.
The nature of hazards differs from one workplace to another. Implementing a PPE program helps identify these hazards and select the suitable PPE kit for the job.
In this article, we will explain PPE kits and their usage. Then we will explain how you can use a PPE program to purchase the correct PPE kit for your operation.
What are PPE Kits?
PPE kits are worn by a worker when interacting with a dangerous environment. The kits contain gloves, respirators, safety glasses, earplugs, full-body suits, coveralls, etc.
The kit protects the wearer from all kinds of dangers including:
Some of these hazards can result in physical harm such as cuts, burns, bruises, punctures, lacerations, and in extreme cases, death. Other hazards can lead to acute and chronic health conditions that can make the worker severely ill or lead to their death.
Many of the hazards might not be apparent to an average person. For example, Carbon Monoxide is difficult to detect with the human five senses as it is odorless, tasteless, and colorless, yet it is toxic and can cause a whole host of breathing and neurological problems. Similarly, it is impossible to tell if an area has chemical or radiological hazards without having expert knowledge and proper equipment.
Levels of PPE kits
There are four different levels of PPE kits:
This PPE kit offers the highest level of security. The Level A PPE kit completely isolates the worker from the outside environment.
The gear consists of a full-body, vapor-tight suit and has a self-contained breathing apparatus.
The equipment requires:
- Fully Protective Chemical suit
- Inner & Outer Chemical Gloves
- Chemical Resistant Steel-toe Boots
- Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA)
Level A kits are used when the risk of radiological, biological, chemical, gas, liquid, or vapor hazards are identified.
Level B PPE kit offers a high level of respiratory protection but a lesser degree of skin and eye protection compared to level A gear.
Level B is the minimum level of protection recommended on initial site entries with unidentified hazards.
It's more suitable for rescue work because it offers better mobility than Level A kits.
This equipment consists of:
- Self-contained breathing apparatus
- Chemical resistant clothing
- Inner & outer chemical gloves
- Steel-toe boots
Level B kits don't have a fully encapsulating suit.
Level C PPE kit is preferred when the respiratory threat is low and the hazards are known.
The equipment consists of:
- Air purifying half-mask or full-face respirators
- Chemical resistant clothing with a hood covering
- Chemical resistant gloves
- Chemical resistant steel-toe boots
- Escape mask, face shield, and hard hat
Level D PPE kit can be used as the primary uniform for workplaces with physical dangers. These PPE kits do not offer any kind of respiratory protection and can be worn for extended periods of time.
The equipment consists of:
- Hard Hat
- Steel-toe boots
- Face shields
- Safety Glasses
Matching the PPE kit to Workplace Hazards
Properly training the worker to use PPE kits heavily reduces the chance of an incident.
The PPE kits require continuous maintenance to perform optimally. A hole in the suit or an ineffective chemical protective coating can lead to dire consequences.
A PPE program addresses all these issues. Senior managers, supervisors, and workers must work together to plan:
1. Hazard identification and risk assessment
Hazard identification can be a life-saver for workers. The number and nature of threats will determine how much protective gear a worker needs to put on at a time.
Over-protection is not ideal either because it can hinder the range of body movements required to carry out the job efficiently.
2. Selection of appropriate PPE
Many PPE kit options are available on the market. When buying a PPE kit, you will have to factor in the cost and support provided by the brand. You might also need to check what kind of education programs the PPE brand offers.
The knowledge of sales representatives and customer service matters because you will need to be in touch with the company for maintenance of the kits and training workers about new features.
The appropriate PPE will provide the right level of protection without posing too many complications.
You can select from PPE manufacturers who specialize in an industry such as construction, medical, transportation, environment management, etc.
3. Selecting the Right Fitting
Uncomfortable, loose-fitting PPE kits can decrease workers' compliance with the PPE program.
Just like clothes, the PPE kits have to be tried on by the workers to ensure maximum comfort.
You can contact the sales teams and inquire about their products and trial services.
4. Education and Training
You will have to work with the sales representatives to deliver education and training sessions to the workers.
The training covers:
- The necessity of using PPE
- The proper way of putting, adjusting, wearing, and taking off the PPE
- Taking care of the PPE
- Inspecting the PPE for damage
The workers should also be familiarized with all the job procedures, equipment, workplace layout, and other factors that can help the workers assess the risks and respond to an emergency.
5. Maintaining the PPE
PPE kits wear and tear with usage. You can use the manufacturer's instructions or contact their sales representative to inspect the PPE kits.
Periodic maintenance reduces the chances of accidents.
PPE Kits in Environment Management
At Enviro Care, our job brings us into frequent contact with hazardous material. We relentlessly ensure the safety of our team by following all security procedures and educating our clients about the same.
We offer multiple environment management services in Utah that demand the use of PPE kits by our staff.
Here are some of our services that require high-level safety gear (level A and B):
Tank cleaning is a high-risk job that requires a person to enter confined spaces used to store volatile liquids and chemicals.
The threat of accidents, fires, toxic gases, oxygen shortage, and radiation is ever-present.
Truck and Railcar accident response:
When trucks and railcars carrying chemicals or volatile liquids like petroleum have an accident, the contents of the container spread into a large area.
The toxic, volatile gases and liquid present on-site can cause short and long-term harm including blurred vision, confusion, coma, liver damage, and respiratory damage.
Oil spill management
Oil spills can occur due to transportation and plant accidents. Enclosed areas increase the chances of fire and hinder emergency escapes.
Hazardous waste produced by factories and medical organizations can be infectious, toxic, and sometimes radioactive. Coming into direct contact with such waste causes a whole lot of issues and health problems.
Mining industrial services
Mines can have a high concentration of toxic and flammable gases, such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide methane, hydrogen, etc.
Thus, we are always equipped with PPE kits while transporting waste and attending to spills for our clients in the mining industry.
Hydro excavation doesn't require level A or B gear because toxic and flammable gases may not be present at the site. Here, physical accidents are a major concern.
Flying rubble and particles can damage the eye, and excavation equipment can hurt a worker in an accident.
Need Help with Hazardous Material Management?
Enviro Care offers environment management services throughout Utah. We can manage and transport all kinds of hazardous and non-hazardous waste, remediate contaminated sites, clean tanks, and excavate for potholing and daylighting.
Our staff is highly trained and can help your team mitigate workplace hazards. Call us today for a consultation.