Personal protective equipment is all the elements of equipment that allow you to protect the employee against hazards at a given position at work. They are issued to the employee by the employer, who trains him in the scope of their use and keeps records of the items of equipment issued to the employee. The employee, on the other hand, is obliged to use them as intended and use them during work.
Wśród przykładowych środków ochrony osobistej można wyróżnić:
- Head protection – everything that protects the head against falls of heavy objects, e.g. helmets, and also against the temperature – then, for example, caps can be used.
- Face and eye protection – for example, masks, glasses and caps that protect employees from contamination and dusting of the eyes or face, as well as from spreading pathogenic microorganisms and inhaling polluted air.
- Torso protection – which includes, among others, disposable coveralls and aprons, protecting against moisture, cuts, burns and contamination of private clothes.
- Protection of the upper limbs – which includes, among others, sleeves and disposable gloves that protect employees against moisture and detergents, used for washing machines and keeping the workplace clean.
- Protection of the lower limbs – i.e. low boots, high boots, slip-on shoes and flip-flops, among others. The selection of appropriate protection of the lower limbs is closely related to the nature of the work in a given position. A person supervising others or working in the office has completely different needs, and a person working in food processing has completely different needs.
It is worth adding that in the case of the catering industry, personal protective equipment not only protects the employee against threats, but also guarantees safety for customers. Due to the proper protection of the hands, head and torso, bacteria and foreign bodies cannot enter the food.
What PPE we use depends on the type of work we do. Various dangers await em
- atmospheric – that is, everything that the employee may face when working outside, without a roof. These can be precipitation, strong winds or hail storms;
- chemical – related to inhalation of agents and chemicals that may pose a threat to the human respiratory system in the short or long term;
- thermal – too low or high temperatures, related to work outside or work in cold stores or halls where, for example, metal melting takes place.
- mechanical – these include, for example, the risk of crushing limbs, falling heavy objects on the head, cuts, cuts, hits and slips;
- biological – related to medical waste or pathogenic microorganisms from animals.
Due to the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, additional guidelines related to occupational health and safety have been implemented. Standard procedures have been extended to include the obligation to maintain good hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene. Before putting on personal protective equipment in the form of equipment necessary for work, all employees are required to disinfect their hands. Employees staying at the workplace should also use masks – disposable or with FFP2 / FFP3 filters, which should be changed at specified intervals. In the case of disposable masks, it is an hour from the beginning of use, and for masks with filters, it is about 7-8 hours. People suspected of contracting COVID-19 should be isolated from the rest of the workforce as soon as possible.
The guidelines also talk about reducing the number of employees working in one shift as much as possible and ensuring a minimum distance of 1.5 meters from each work station. You should also regularly disinfect all work surfaces and places that are often touched, e.g. door handles, desks, washbasins, soap dispensers. Each employer is obliged to provide disinfectants, paper towels and garbage bags.