Companies who value their employees provide proper work safety equipment. Keeping workers safe means they won’t lose wages from accidents on the job, and the company doesn't lose time or money in the aftermath.
Safety supplies may come in the form of personal protective equipment, safer tools, or gadgets that alert the worker to exposure to harmful materials.
What is Work Safety Equipment?
Workplace safety equipment offers protection against injury to the wearer or user. Most often, safety equipment comes in the form of wearable personal protective equipment, or PPE. However, some tools have a safer design making them less likely to cause injuries.
Workplaces may also employ gadgets to help keep their employees safe. These gadgets may register exposure to a dangerous substance or monitor environmental factors like air quality.
Types of Safety Protective Equipment at Work
Several different pieces of equipment may be necessary for a single worker depending on the job and workplace.
Hardhats or helmets protect workers’ heads from potential falling objects. These items may have different designs, depending on the employee's preference or job. Some include an interior harness or sweatbands.
Safety goggles keep dangerous foreign objects from getting into a worker’s eyes. For those who must work with infrared radiation, welding, or other bright lights, a welding helmet with a safety shield or welding goggles are a better solution.
Hearing damage can begin with exposure to noise above 70 decibels for a prolonged period, and anything over 120 dB can cause immediate damage. Workers exposed to loud noises in industrial settings should wear some form of hearing protection. Ear plugs and earmuffs come in different ratings, so safety managers should choose accordingly.
Employees exposed to breathing hazards should always wear a mask. Workers should wear respirators if they have constant exposure to harmful fumes.
Safety shoes vary depending on the workers' needs. Industrial workers should wear steel-toed shoes to prevent foot injury. Employees in jobs where slips are prevalent should wear shoes with anti-slip soles.
Gloves are an essential part of PPE, as they can protect against heat, chemicals, or lacerations—all very common hand injuries. The thickness of the gloves and materials they are made from should offer protection according to job functions.
Safety clothing is generally brightly colored for high visibility. Vests and pants that have reflective tape also fall into this category.
This video gives a dramatic demonstration of the importance of PPE using food items instead of real eyeballs, heads, and feet:
Types of Safety Tools
Safety protective equipment at work is more than just protective clothing. Depending on the job, tools can add an additional level of safety to a worker's daily activities.
For electrical workers, non-conductive tools are essential. These tools are made from non-conductive materials, and keep the user from getting shocked or electrocuted if they encounter a live wire.
For workers who work with sharp objects, appropriate gloves can help protect them from lacerations. However, using safer blades can offer additional protection from accidental cuts. While Slice's® safety blades are designed to be safer to use, most ceramic blades are just as sharp as their metal counterparts.
Employees who regularly use hand tools should use ergonomic tools when possible. These tools are more comfortable to hold for extended periods without causing fatigue or hard-to-treat strain injuries.
Types of Safety Equipment Gadgets
Tools and PPE make up the lion’s share of work safety equipment items. Some specialty jobs require gadgets to help keep their workers safe. These gadgets include:
- Radiation monitors: A device that clips to clothes and beeps if it detects dangerous levels of radiation exposure.
- Air quality monitors: used in areas where toxic gases are employed, such as carbon monoxide or nitric oxide. These monitors hang near the canisters to help detect leaks and sound when the gases reach a dangerous level.
- Leak detector: is a liquid that bubbles when gas leaks from a line.
- Barriers: use of plexiglass or more substantial barriers block the worker from potentially hazardous materials.
Keeping workers safe is essential. Employees who are injured on the job lose wages and cost the company time and money. It's in a company's best interest to keep its workers healthy and protected. Providing appropriate work safety equipment is one of the easiest ways to do this.