How Do I Keep Safe From Hazards At Work?
Over the last couple of months, we have been discussing different areas of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). We have covered respiratory protection, gloves, head protection, ear and knee protection. This month we are going to cover the topics of fall equipment, high-visibility clothing and eye protection.
Fall protection is used in more industries than you may realise; It is used in construction, building maintenance, window cleaning as well as the emergency services to name a few.
It is essential that your equipment is tested regularly and meets current safety standards which can be found on the government health and safety website – https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg367.pdf
Fall protection is generally broken down into 4 categories ; Fall prevention, fall elimination, fall arrest and administrative controls.
Fall elimination means to discover a way to complete a task without the need for working at height and removing the fall risk completely.
If the elimination of a fall cannot be achieved then fall prevention applies. This would apply for any tasks that need to be carried out close to a fall hazard, like working on the edge of a building.
Fall prevention falls in to two sections. The first being to use barriers at the hazard point such as rails or scaffolding around the building. The second section would be to ensure personal protection equipment (PPE), for example a Restraint Positioning Lanyard and Harness is used.
Fall arrest, means to protect a worker who has fallen, from dangerous contact with the ground, in other words to catch before descending. Hitting the ground from any height can result in serious injury, shock or even death, fall arrest equipment will prevent fatalities.
Administrative controls are required when and where changes need to be made to reduce the risk of a fall. This could be as simple as adding warning signs or notifying staff.
Ensure you and your company follow the fall arrest ABCDE for good practice and for the safety of everyone:
A – Anchorage: A fixed structure, this could be part of a building.
B – Bodywear: A full body harness, ensure your harness meets the European standards EN361 & EN358 such as a 4 point restraint harness.
C – Connector: How your bodywear and anchorage are connected together such as a lanyard.
D – Deceleration Device: This is an essential component designed to absorb the energy from a fall to reduce injury. This could be an energy-absorbing twin lanyard.
E – Emergency Plan & Equipment: A clear plan of action should a fall occur and a rescue to take place. This procedure should be made known to all workers.
High Visibility Clothing
High visibility or high-viz clothing, is clothing which is highly fluorescent. The main colour is bright, usually yellow, pink or orange with reflective tape or banding and can be seen easily against any background. High-vis clothing is worn in many industries and environments.
The visibility is categorised into 3 classes, the amount of fluorescent material and reflective tape on a garment determines the category.
Class 1: This is the lowest level. The minimum amount of fluorescent material is 0.14 sqm and reflective tape is 0.10 sqm. These garments are usually worn on the lower half of the body. The most common class 1 garment is trousers. They are usually made from fluorescent material with two reflective bands on each trouser leg.
Class 2: This is the medium level of visibility. The minimum amount of fluorescent material is 0.50 sqm and reflective tape is 0.13 sqm. High-vis waistcoats usually fall in this category with reflective bands over the shoulders and around the torso.
Class 3: You’ve guessed it, this is the highest class. The minimum amount of fluorescent material is 0.80 sqm and reflective tape is 0.20 sqm. These items cover a larger area of the body, such as a high-vis jacket.
Risk assessments should always be conducted to decide which class of visibility should be worn. High visibility garments should conform to the International standard BS EN ISO 20471:2013+A1.
Eye protection means the use of eyewear such as glasses or goggles to prevent injury to the eyes or loss of sight. It can also be achieved by using a full face covering.
Choosing the correct eyewear primarily depends on the potential hazard.
Protective Glasses: These provide protection against small objects, and can be used to avoid dust impacting the eye. Similar to prescription glasses in style with wider arms for additional protection. If you are working outside, smoke lensed glasses will provide the protection you need and act in a similar way to sunglasses.
Safety Goggles: They provide all-round protection against liquids and small particles. The deep rims ensure the goggles seal the eye area and can protect from liquids and small impacts. The elasticated strap ensures a comfortable fit for the user. Depending on your working environment, you may require vented goggles to prevent fogging.
Ensure that your safety glasses and goggles are CE Marked and are EN166 Compliant.
Full Face Safety Visor: If you are at risk from a greater hazard then you may need full eye and face protection. Safety visors can be used as well as safety glasses if required and can be worn for prolonged periods of time as they are usually fitted around the head for additional comfort.
Depending on the task in hand, the shield can be a clear PETG (Polyethylene terephthalate glycol) or could be a mesh.
This concludes our monthly discussions on PPE, I hope you have found them informative. If you require any further assistance in regards to PPE please feel free to contact us on 01353 665141.