Two Main Divisions of Safety Products
Safety products could be considered as necessary for industry as workers are. Quality safety equipment allows people who are regularly exposed to workplace hazards to concentrate or their craft, and, when used appropriately, can drastically reduce the number of accidental injuries in the workplace. Modern safety products are comfortable, durable, and effective.
Though the jury is still out in regards to the ergonomics debate, manufacturers are stepping in and producing increasingly comfortable and easy-to-wear PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). For example, many safety harnesses and fall protection systems are becoming lighter and more breathable, which can increase wear-ability dramatically. Advancements in protective coatings can make materials more durable as well.
Another example of increasingly strong materials is the rise of nitrile gloves as a viable alternative to natural latex rubber gloves. In the last ten years, latex allergies among people who are routinely exposed to the proteins in latex gloves have risen greatly, creating demand for a substitute that has the sensitivity, elasticity, and durability of latex. Nitrile can be made just as thin, is equally thermally sensitive, and is more abrasion resistant and elastic than latex.
All told, there are many different kinds of safety products available, each with their own specific purpose. In general, though, most safety products are either PPE or some sort of treatment or containment product. Keeping this main division in mind while assessing hazards can help you decide what kind of product is best for your needs.
PPE includes all sorts of personal protective gear. Common PPE are hardhats, earplugs, gloves, safety vests, and safety goggles. Each piece of PPE works to form a suite of protective products that can help keep your workplace safe and effective.
Treatment and containment products include emergency response items such as eye wash stations, showers, and cleanup products like sorbent pads. First aid kits and pill control products are also included, and are very important to have on a job site. In the event of an emergency, a quick, efficient response can help minimize potential risk and contain hazards and reduce the number of potential injuries.
Researching to Find the Right Safety Products for You
The first step in building a stock of safety equipment is to fully assess the situation. It my be helpful to try this step yourself, before bringing in a trained specialist, as doing so can familiarize you with both safety products and their appropriate safety practices. Explore the workplace, and make a note of any potentially dangerous objects, including breakable objects, harmful chemicals, hot surfaces, or sources of electricity or open flame.
An Occupational Safety and Health Technician (OHST) can perform full assessments, as well as help you choose what kind of PPE and emergency safety products are best suited to your needs. For recommendations to an OHST, contact your local or regional OSHA office. OSHA can also furnish you within-depth information regarding OSHA standards and other helpful safety hints.