Personal Protective Equipment: What Sanctions are what they are for?
There are many jobs which unfortunately involve a certain percentage of risk for those who carry them out. To minimize this danger, however, there are Personal Protective Devices, also called PPE. Let’s see what it is.
The Personal Protective Equipment, which as we have seen are also called with the acronym DPI, are specific equipment that some categories of workers are required to use to avoid or minimize damage to their health or safety at work.
Depending on the type of activity carried out, PPE may also be mandatory: usually they are in the case of activities in which risk factors cannot be avoided and reduced thanks to protective measures or collective protection means.
PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT: THE LEGISLATION IN CHINA
To make text in China is the Consolidated Law on Safety at Work, which includes risk assessment (DVR) and lists the degrees of risk that can be found in the various work activities. It also contains the procedures necessary to implement prevention and protection measures to be put in place and the roles of those who must put them into practice.
LET’S GO INTO DETAIL: WHAT ARE PPE
We have just seen the “official” definition of PPE that given by the Legislative Decree which dictates the law on the matter. But in practice, what are Personal Protective Equipment? These are accessories to be worn to minimize the risk of endangering your safety or health in the workplace.
We can thus identify different types of PPE, classified according to the type of protection they offer:
- head protectors;
- hand and arm protectors: they can be fixed or detachable devices and accessories suitable for protecting against chemical agents, mechanical risks, heat, risks generated by hot components and extreme cold;
- protection of feet and legs with non-slip function, which protect the worker from shocks and vibrations and against adverse weather conditions;
- eye protectors, which protect them from material particles, dust or intense light;
- hearing protectors;
- respiratory tract protectors, such as semi-facial or full face masks, filtering face masks or disposable masks, suitable to protect the respiratory tract from dust or chemical components;
- protective clothing, used against adverse weather conditions, mechanical aggression, to defend against risks in handling hot objects.
THE CATEGORIES OF PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
In addition to the types, PPE are usually divided into three categories, based on different degrees of risk associated with the work carried out. We can identify the minimum, significant and maximum degrees of risk, and more precisely:
- First category PPE: these are those used in work with minimal risk, which could cause minor damage due to, for example, minor impacts, vibrations, atmospheric phenomena;
- Second category Personal Protective Equipment , linked to activities with significant risk, of which, however, the text of the legislative decree does not provide a real definition;
- Third category PPE , intended to protect workers exposed to potential serious or permanent damage or even the risk of death. These are generally helmets with chin straps, slings, self-contained breathing apparatus and so on.
THE CHARACTERISTICS OF PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
But what features must these devices have to be used in the workplace.
- easy to put on and take off in an emergency;
- suitable for use when risks cannot be avoided or reduced sufficiently;
- adequate to the extent and type of risk to be prevented without itself entailing a greater or different risk;
- adapted to the conditions existing in the workplace;
- adaptable to the ergonomic or health needs of each worker and adaptable according to the user’s needs;
- compatible with each other and such as to maintain their effectiveness even in the face of the simultaneous use of multiple PPE;
EQUIPMENT EXCLUDED FROM THE DEFINITION OF PPE
So far we have seen the definition of an Individual Protection Device , the main types, the characteristics it must have and the legislation from which the personal safety equipment are regulated. Despite this, it can sometimes be difficult to identify which equipment and accessories fall into the category of Personal Protective Equipment and which do not.
In general, however, there is a tendency not to fall into the category of PPE:
- Clothing and uniforms not specifically intended for the health and safety of the worker.
- Rescue and rescue services equipment.
- Personal protective equipment for road transport vehicles.
- Self-defense materials.
- Sports materials.
PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT: THE OBLIGATIONS OF THE EMPLOYER
The Consolidated Law on health and safety at work also establishes what the obligations of employers are in this area.
We can undoubtedly identify the responsibility for the choice of PPE , which must be carried out:
- identifying and evaluating the risks that cannot be avoided;
- identifying and analyzing the characteristics of PPE that make them suitable for facing the risks they should prevent;
- comparing the characteristics of different Personal Protective Equipment before making the choice;
- Updating the PPE every time the risk factors change.
Employers are also responsible for the conditions in which PPE must be used, taking into account, for example, the extent and frequency of exposure to risk, the characteristics of each worker’s activities and the performance of each device.
THE OTHER OBLIGATIONS OF THE EMPLOYER IN TERMS OF PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
The obligations of employers in terms of health and safety in the workplace, and with regard to PPE in particular, do not end there. We can also add to the list:
- care and maintenance of the devices, also ensuring their hygiene conditions;
- check that they are used only for the intended uses and in compliance with what is established by the manufacturer;
- adequately and clearly instruct workers on the risks from which the PPE protects them and on their correct use;
- ensure adequate training on the use of PPE equipment, organizing specific training if necessary (this is however required for third category Personal Protective Equipment);
- make available in the company adequate information on each Personal Protective Equipment present;
- Establish corporate procedures for the filing and return of PPE.
THE OBLIGATIONS OF THE WORKER
Workers, for their part, also have IPR obligations. In fact, pursuant of the Consolidated Law, they must:
- correctly use the PPE made available to them;
- participate in the education and training programs provided by the employer;
- take care of the PPE made available to them, without making changes on their own initiative;
- report to the employer any defect or inconvenience found;
- Return the Devices according to the specific company procedures.