Match PPE to Tasks to Decrease Incidents, Injury

Oct. 18, 2018

Placing a heavy importance on wearing protective personal equipment (PPE) while working in an equipment shop is a crucial part of any manager’s job. Although deciding to consistently wear PPE is a step in the right direction for shop workers, establishing proper safety habits also comes down to having the right protective equipment available in the shop, and knowing which pieces should be worn for certain tasks.

When it comes to protecting shop workers with PPE such as gloves, safety glasses, and face shields, it’s important managers provide a variety of types and sizes within each category to most effectively cover all project conditions.

Carl Uhinck, an equipment manager at Kokosing Construction, said once managers have done their part, technicians can more easily make the decision to switch gloves (and other protective material) when their conditions change.

“From your cut-resistant gloves, to standard leather work gloves, to chemical-resistant gloves, to up-to-the-elbow sized gloves, to your welding gloves,” Uhinck said. “All those different types should be available to your employees, so when they face a hazard, there’s no reason not to use the right type of gloves.”

With safety glasses and face shields, Uhinck said it’s the same type of conversation. At Kokosing, the company ranks its safety glasses and face shields at different “levels” depending on the hazard.

“You have your standard safety glasses; glasses that are foam-rimmed and might protect better against flying debris, wind-borne debris, or overhead work; up to face shields with chin protectors and different options,” he said. “We have quite a few technicians that have prescription glasses, so we also assist our mechanics in getting the proper prescription glasses that give them the proper protection.”

Kokosing also aims to offer PPE that both properly fits, and protects well—another reason the company offers such a range of options for their team.

“We’re [also] willing to try new products, if they meet the standards of protection,” Uhnick said. “If you’re more comfortable wearing it, that’s a great thing.”