Do you know which safety gear is useful to your team?

Depending on your industry and area of operations, Standards Australia and Safe Work Australia have specific regulations when it comes to safety gear and equipment. Protecting from head to toe, protective personal equipment (PPE) are meant to stave off injuries, improve performance, and ensure product/service integrity for your business.

It’s the employer's/business owner’s responsibility to provide the necessary equipment to their employees/contractors. Available in some industrial or packaging supply stores, PPE can minimise workplace risk and injuries when used with other risk reduction practices and hazard control measures. While having AS/NZS-compliant gear is a good start, truly efficient and safe working environments have gear that are optimised for better performance, comfort and safety. Check out our guidelines in choosing the best safety gear available in the market.

Eye Protection

Safety glasses can provide standard protection from small debris and particles in laboratories, manufacturing areas and production lines. Meanwhile, safety goggles (along with gas masks) can help shield the eyes from chemical fumes and splashes in laboratories and factories. For welding and similar operations, heavy-duty visors with specialised filters protect the eyes from radiation and stray particles.

Selection tips:

  • Choose PPE eyewear that have UV radiation filters and anti-fog/perspiration compounds.

  • While safety glasses will do for some industries, consider goggles or visors/faceshields for a more snug fit and better protection.

  • Eye protection should never have negative effects on peripheral vision for employees who work with machines and vehicles.

Noise Protection

Very few industries require hearing protection as these PPE can sometimes be handicaps as well. However, for surveyed workplaces with noise hazards, these PPE are must-haves. Ear muffs are ideal for long-term use in environments where up to 100 db noise levels are common. Meanwhile, ear plugs are for typically for light-duty use and are available in dispensers.

Selection tips:

  • Ear plugs aren’t made for high noise levels but provide reasonable noise protection.

  • Choose adjustable ear muffs as wearing them for long periods of time can get uncomfortable.

  • While they’re expensive in the long run, ear plugs are better for sanitary reasons.

Hand Protection

The hands get lots of surface contact that can leave them exposed to various risks. For factories and construction use, gloves used range from knitted polycotton to leather work gloves for riggers and heavy-duty users. Latex, nitrile and vinyl gloves are designed for medical use and food handling and preparation.

Selection tips:

  • Disposable latex, nitrile and vinyl gloves are bought in bulk and can come in powdered varieties for easy removal.

  • Heavy-duty rigger gloves can come in reflective materials for improved workplace visibility.

  • Find fully-lined welders gloves with wing thumbs for comfort and manoeuvrability.

Head Protection

When talking about head protection, construction, mining, stevedoring and other heavy-duty operations, helmets and hard hats immediately come to mind. While not necessarily protective, hair nets/caps are ideal for medical fields and in industries such as food preparation and handling.

Selection tips:

  • Buy hard hats that are made with UV-resistant material for increased durability.

  • Choose headgears that are compatible with your other protective gears (ear muffs, safety glasses/goggles, masks, etc).

  • Hard hats should also help your employee become more visible in their work environment. Get colours that stand out and are easily noticeable.

Vests, jackets, aprons and other gear

Countless other types of safety gear are available in the market depending on your business. Aside from industry regulations, find gear that is durable, economical and effective.

Selection tips:

  • Instead of standard fare welding apron, choose welder jackets that offer complete protection.

  • Stevedoring and other outdoor operating industries should have rain gear. Rain boots not only protect but also help reduce slips and tumbles due to wet surfaces.

  • PVC aprons are better than textile aprons since they are waterproof and easier to clean.

Disposable overalls are ideal for contractors and builders. Choose asbestos-rated variants for a more comprehensive protection.

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