Safety at work; protective equipment

A PPE is individual protective equipment, whose function is to protect the worker from those risks that cannot be covered by collective protective measures. It is personal equipment that must not be used by another worker.

Safety at work; protective equipment

A PPE is individual protective equipment, whose function is to protect the worker from those risks that cannot be covered by collective protective measures. It is personal equipment that must not be used by another worker. The person who is assigned a PPE has the duty to verify that it is in perfect condition and that it has passed the pertinent inspections. In the event of finding any damage or suffering any mishap during its use that may deteriorate the PPI, it must be reported immediately to their superiors so that a new one may be assigned. On the basis of the occupational risk study carried out at the company, it is determined what personal protection equipment is necessary for workers.European Directive 89/656/EEC of 30 November, assumed in Spanish legislation in Royal Decree 773/1997 of 30 May, published in the Official State Gazette on 12 June, sets out the minimum requirements to be met by each type of PPE and its rules of use.

Personal protection equipment must bear a CE mark indicating protection provided by the equipment. In addition, as required by Royal Decrees 1407/1992 and 159/1995, it must contain the manufacturer's mark or identification, product name, size, specific EN standard number, pictographs and care label. The most usual types of PPE are described below.

PPE for mechanical hazards

They protect against mechanical risks such as knocks, punctures, scratches, abrasions and impacts. They are manufactured with resistant materials, mainly synthetic fibres, kevlar, p-aramides, twaron and other special compounds.

PPE for electrical hazards and anti-static protection

When working in areas susceptible to explosion or deflagration, the use of anti-static clothing is required to avoid producing an electric spark. As to protection against electric shock, there are PPE products for low voltage and for high voltage.

Chemical protection equipment

They are built specifically to protect against the aggression of a given chemical compound.

There are six protection levels indicated from 1 to 6 (maximum protection).

Weatherproof clothing

They are not only in charge of protecting the worker from weather aggressions in external works, by extension they are also included in this category those works that are carried out in indoor areas in adverse conditions, as it is the case of cryogenic plants or frozen processing.

PPI'S work at height

Those operators who carry out work at height must carry out their tasks equipped with the corresponding protection devices, such as helmets, fall arrest harnesses, fastening devices, etc.

Protective clothing against biological hazards

They are usually used in laboratories, hospitals, the food industry and waste treatment plants. They provide an effective isolation against microorganisms to the workers of the centre, and should also be carried by any worker who carries out industrial maintenance tasks on an occasional basis. On many occasions this type of protective equipment is disposable.

Heat and fire protection equipment

They are developed to protect the worker from thermal aggressions in their various variants. Designated garments and equipment must have a marking indicating which protections they provide and their levels. For example, there are 4 levels of protection against radiant heat, 3 against cast iron splashes and the same for other specific thermal risks.

High-visibility protective clothing

The EN 471 standard provides for three levels for high visibility clothing depending on the working conditions of workers.

These are garments manufactured with fluorescent materials of great visual impact.