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6 The hazards and types of PPE Eyes Hazards: Chemical or metal splash, dust, projectiles, gas and vapour, radiation. Options: Safety glasses, goggle, face shields, visors Note: Make sure the eye protection has the right combination of impact/dust/splash/molten metal eye protection for the task and fits the user properly Head Hazards: Impact from falling or flying objects, risk of head bumping, hair entanglement. Options: A range of helmets, hard hats and bump caps. Note: Some safety helmets incorporate or can be fitted with specially designed eye or hearing protection. Don t forget neck protection, eg scarves for use during welding. Do not use head protection if it is damaged replace it Breathing 6

7 Hazards: Dust, vapour, gas, oxygen-deficient atmospheres. Options: Disposable filtering face-piece or respirator, half- or full-face respirators, airfed helmets, breathing apparatus. Note: The right type of respirator filter must be used as each is effective for only a limited range of substances. Where there is a shortage of oxygen or any danger of losing consciousness due to exposure to high levels of harmful fumes, only use breathing apparatus never a filtering cartridge. Filters have a limited life; when replacing them or any other part, check with the manufacturer s guidance and ensure the correct replacement part is used. Protecting the body Hazards: Temperature extremes, adverse weather, chemical or metal splash, spray from pressure leaks or spray guns, impact or penetration, contaminated dust, excessive wear or entanglement of own clothing. Options: Conventional or disposable overalls, boiler suits, specialist protective clothing, eg chain-mail aprons, high-visibility clothing. Note: The choice of materials includes flame-retardant, anti-static, chain mail, chemically impermeable, and high-visibility. Don t forget other protection, like safety harnesses or life jackets. Hands and arms Hazards: abrasion, temperature extremes, cuts and punctures, impact, chemicals, electric shock, skin infection, disease or contamination. Options: Gloves, gauntlets, mitts, wrist-cuffs, armlets. Note: Avoid gloves when operating machines such as bench drills where the gloves can get caught. Some materials are quickly penetrated by chemicals so be careful when selecting them. Barrier creams are unreliable and are no substitute for proper PPE. Wearing gloves for long periods can make the skin hot and sweaty, leading to skin problems; using separate cotton inner gloves can help prevent this. Be aware that some people may be allergic to materials used in gloves, eg latex. Feet and legs Hazards: Wet, electrostatic build-up, slipping, cuts and punctures, falling objects, metal and chemical splash, abrasion. Options: Safety Boots and shoes with protective toe caps and penetrationresistant mid-sole, gaiters, leggings, spats. Note: Footwear can have a variety of sole patterns and materials to help prevent slips in different conditions, including oil or chemical-resistant soles. It can also be anti-static, electrically conductive or thermally insulating. It is important that the 6

8 appropriate footwear is selected for the risks identified. 6

9 PPE is one of the least effective ways of controlling risks to work health and safety and should only be used: -when there are no other practical control measures available (as a last resort) -as an interim measure until a more effective way of controlling the risk can be used, or -to supplement higher level control measures (as a back-up). Yes, PPE is the least preferred and least effective but doesn t make it any less important than any of the levels of controls if it is required to control risk Least preferred doesn t mean least effort. Being the last line of defence, it is critical to ensure it is effective. 7

10 What does Legislation say about PPE? A lot!! Section 46 details the duties of the worker relating to PPE - Worker must use or wear equipment according to any information, training or reasonable instruction - Not intentionally misuse or damage the PPE - Must inform the PCBU of any damage, defect or need to clean/decontaminate as they become aware - PPE requirements mentioned in various codes of practice 8

11 Safety for Compliance Sake or safety for safety's sake Do you only want to pass the eye test? Do you view PPE as a consumable product or a life saving device? Is it your first option when it comes to controls? It is these attitudes towards PPE and the role it plays in your organisation to how effective it will be? 9

12 To know what is the most suitable types or level of protection assessment of the workplace will be required to understand the type of hazard or level of hazard. A site walkthrough is a good starting point to identity hazards as part of JSA s, SWMS or other risk assessments. Looking at SDS s also is very helpful. Consultation with workers who understand tasks. Refer Picture: What types of PPE can you see? What types of controls including PPE would you recommend? What type/level of respiratory/hearing protection/hand protection would you use? 10

13 Quantitative Assessments used to determine level of workers exposure to compare against the relevant exposure standard and select an appropriate level of PPE Examples Qualitative Assessment PRA Quantitative Sanitarium noise assessment, visy dust monitoring, Broadspectrum mould assessments 11

14 For PPE to be effective, it has to be worn. This worker get so close with wearing 2 respirators around his neck! 12

15 Selection of PPE Understanding what specific hazard the PPE is designed for A toaster is fantastic to toast bread as this is what it was designed to do. A vacuum cleaner is great at vacuuming which is was designed to do. You wouldn t use a toaster to vacuum and vice versa. You different types of toasters with function for different types of bread. Different types of vaccum cleaners eg hand held, dog hair, HEPA Much like these appliances, PPE is designed and rated for specific types of hazards or level of hazard. A pair of safety glasses are designed and test for impact hazards not as dust protection. Class 2 earplug is rated X level of noise. Class A filter designed for organic gases and vapours. 13

16 Assessing Suitability of PPE -Does the PPE protect the wearer from the risks and take account of the protection designed to protect against agricultural pesticides may not offer adequate protection when using an angle grinder to cut steel or stone. -Does using PPE increase the overall level of risk or add new risks, eg by making communication, visibility mobility more difficult? -Can it be adjusted to fit the wearer correctly? example, the length of time the PPE needs to be worn, the physical effort required to do the job or the requirements for visibility and communication. If someone wears more than one item of PPE, are they compatible? For example does using a respirator make it difficult to fit eye protection properly? 14

17 The are hundreds and hundreds of Australian standards across the various types of PPE. Refer SAI Global Guide to standards Workplace Health and Safety as good reference document. Will be made available on GC website Two main types of standards being 1) Manufacturing/testing standards and 2) Selection use and maintenance standards If no Australian standard, look to other international standards that may be applicable. Eg Bump caps. How would you assess a situation without an Australian standard to reference? While there are lots of different Australian standards it doesn t cover every situation in all workplaces. Australian standard are a minimum benchmark. 15

18 Each different type of PPE has its own rating system from the Australian standards. Be familiar with the ratings so you can check if it is the most appropriate for your hazard. The highest rating doesn t always mean the right/best protection Eg Engineering company issuing Class 5 earmuffs but after assessment Flat Attenuating earplugs eg musicians, bar staff at casino 16

19 Manufacturers will have ratings from various countries/regions. Make sure you know which is the Australian rating NRR [Noise Reduction Rating] This rating is used in the United States, and is accepted for use in a variety of other countries. The current range of NRRs available in the U.S. market extends from 0 to 33 decibels. Published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1979, the NRR labeling requirement is a standardized format for all hearing protectors distributed in the U.S. The EPA defines the type face size, font, wording and placement on the package for the NRR label. The chart showing mean attenuation values and standard deviations at each of the seven test frequencies (from 125 Hz through 8000 Hz) is also part of the labeling required by EPA. SNR [Single Number Rating] This rating number is used by the European Union and affiliated countries. Tests are conducted at independent testing laboratories, using test frequencies which are slightly different than those used for the NRR rating. In addition to an overall rating, the SNR further rates protectors in terms of the particular noise environments in which they will be used H for high-frequency noise environments, M for mid-frequency, and L for low-frequency. Note that the HML designation does not refer to noise level, rather the spectrum of the noise. For example, a protector might be designated with SNR 26, 17

20 H=32,M=23, L=14.The estimated attenuation changes according to the noise spectrum of the environment in which the protector is to be worn. SLC80 [Sound Level Conversion] The SLC80 is a rating number used in Australia and NewZealand. It is an estimate of the amount of protection attained by 80% of users, based upon laboratory testing. Depending on the level of attenuation in the SLC rating, a classification is assigned to a protector: a Class 1 protector may be used in noise up to 90 db, a Class 2 protector to 95 db, a Class 3 protector to 100 db, and so on in 5 db increments. Packaging will often show the SLC80, followed by the classification (i.e. SLC80 27, Class 5). End Users should not be concerned when they see several different attenuation ratings on a package. Each rating number is based upon differing test standards, test frequencies and calculation methods, and any given hearing protector generates different numbers depending on the rating method used. 17

21 What stands out from these results? The top and bottom attenuation results being subject 3 & 9. Same ear plugs but very different results. Is it a difference in ear canal size? Is it a male / female difference? The difference is how they fit the earplug. 18

22 There is quite a bit of variability in the attenuation obtained by users in the real world. This may be due to intentional factors (not inserting the HPD far enough in order to make it less intrusive, or more comfortable) or unintentional factors (improper sizing of HPD, poor seal around earmuffs, etc.). This scattergram shows the results of one study, indicating a wide variety of real-world attenuations for 192 workers wearing an earplug with a laboratory NRR of 27 db. (<Space> to show retraining benefit.) Researchers in this study then took the workers with the lowest attenuation, and refit/retrained them in using the HPD properly. This resulted in an average 14 db improvement in measured attenuation. The moral of the story? The effectiveness of an HPD relies heavily upon proper training and fitting by the wearer. Many companies based purchasing decision on earplugs based on 1 db difference rating. Is this difference critical? 19

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24 Respiratory Fit Testing Fit Test Methods There are two (2) main methods of fit testing available: Qualitative fit testing Quantitative fit testing During both methods of testing, it is essential that the subject is free from facial hair and other items that may interfere with the face seal. Wearers with facial hair or stubble (even a few days growth) must not wear a respirator which has a tight fitting facepiece. Qualitative fit tests provide a pass or fail result based upon the wearer detecting a test agent. The test agent can be detected either by taste or by smell. They provide a subjective measure of the quality of the seal of the facepiece to the wearer s face. Generally they are easy to perform and require no specialised equipment or highly trained persons. Advantages Inexpensive 21

25 Simple to use No calibration of equipment required No modification of facepiece required Test operator can be self-taught Detection makes wearer feel more involved in the test Disadvantages Subjective relies on wearers response Quantitative fit tests give an objective measure of the quality of the seal between the wearer s face and the facepiece. A Fit Factor number is calculated. These tests are much more complicated to perform than qualitative tests and require specialised equipment. This method is usually conducted in a laboratory due to the nature of the equipment involved. The test follows the methods used for the Total Inward Leakage test described in Australian /New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1716 for respirators. The wearer is fitted with a probed respirator and exercises on a treadmill within a test chamber into which a test agent of sodium chloride aerosol, oil mist or sulphur hexafluoride gas is introduced. Through a comparative measurement of the level within the facepiece to that in the test chamber the face seal leakage can be derived. The sodium chloride or oil mist test methods measure total inward leakage and are suitable for disposable respirators, half masks and full-face masks. When the respirator is fitted with P3 filters, this is equivalent to face seal leakage and the fit factor can be calculated. The sulphur hexafluoride test method can only be used with air fed respirators. Advantages Objective numerical result Wearer cannot influence result Most have computer compatible software to allow print-outs of records Disadvantages Expensive Modification of facepiece required Test operator training is recommended Requires an additional adaptor to test FFP1and FFP2 respirators Earplugs EARfit Validation System 21

26 Audit Establishes baseline values for new workers Helps identify workers receiving inadequate protection that leaves them at risk of threshold shifts Validates high protection levels required by workers in high noise areas Fit, Train and Motivate Provides a tool for training proper insertion techniques and to assess proficiencies (as per requirements AS/NZS ) Motivates employees by helping them realise the control they have to protect their hearing Assess & Manage Improves long term performance of your hearing conservation programme Indicates employees needing further fit training or alternative hearing protectors Input your noise exposure data and the E-A-Rfit software can help you identify the most appropriate hearing protector(s) and help minimise over/under protection 21

27 - Make sure anyone using PPE is aware of why it is needed, when to use, repair or replace it, how to report it if there is a fault and its limitations. -Train and instruct people how to use PPE properly and make sure they are doing this. Include managers and supervisors in the training, they may not need to use the equipment personally, but they do need to ensure their staff are using it correctly. --Training must also take into account employees who do not speak English or those whose English is poor to ensure that instructions are fully understood. -It is important that users wear PPE all the time they are exposed to the risk. Never allow exemptions for those jobs which take just a few minutes. -Check regularly that PPE is being used and investigate incidents where it is not. Safety signs can be useful reminders to wear PPE, make sure that staff understand these signs, what they mean and where they can get equipment, eg for visitors or contractors Studies The effects of training format on earplug performance Joseph et al, International Journal of Audiology 2007 Issue 46 pp

28 Effects of training on hearing protector attenuation Murphy et al, Noise and Health, April 2011 pp

29 Pictures comparing different cochleas 23

30 Hair size picture to fibres and NIHL speech 24

31 Make sure: -equipment is well looked after and properly stored when it is not being used, eg in a dry, clean cupboard, or for smaller items in a box or case; -equipment is kept clean and in good repair follow the manufacturers maintenance schedule (including recommended replacement periods and shelf lives); -simple maintenance can be carried out by the trained wearer, but more intricate repairs should only be done by specialists; -replacement parts match the original, eg respirator filters; -you identify who is responsible for maintenance and how to do it; -employees make proper use of PPE and report its loss or destruction or any fault in it Refer manufacturers guidelines High Visibility Clothing Replace when clothes become dull Earmuffs replace cushions 6 monthly per AS Safety Footwear replace when toe cap becomes exposed Hard Hats Replace head harness every 2 years and shell 3 years. Tip: 25

32 Change colour hard hats on site to visiually indicate old hard hats. Respirator Filters Particulate: when breathing resistance becomes unacceptable. Gas Filters: Brefor breakthrough occurs. Filter replacement program. 25

33 1. Appointment of Program Administrator The PPE program shall be established by management and an individual shall be designated to manage the program. The person should have a technical and professional background enabling them to make sound decisions based on evaluation and understanding of workplace hazards. The individual should preferably be a safety officer, occupational hygienist, occupational health nurse or physician. In a small company, the program may be managed by the company owner, foreperson or other supervisory personnel. Regardless of who assumes responsibility for the program, the program manager shall have the full support of management. 2. Selection of PPE -PPE Selection needs to consider the following -Conforms to relevant Australian standard -Medical evaluation of wearers for psychological and physical suitability -Contaminant factors including toxicity, exposure standards skin absorption etc -Operator factors, including comfort, other PPE, vision, communication etc -Task factors, including mobility, harsh environment etc -PPE maintenance requirements including cleaning and availability of appropriate equipment and spare parts. 26

34 3. PPE Training -Work Health & Safety (WHS) legislation requires employees to be trained and supervised to carry out their work safely. -Training must be provided in the safe use and limitations of PPE -Training must be provided at the commencement of employment and at routine intervals. The frequency of retraining will depend on the complexity of the - program and the degree of the hazard. -Supervisors must also be trained in their responsibilities in ensuring the correct use of RPE and other established safe work procedures. -Training must also take into account employees who do not speak English or those whose English is poor to ensure that instructions are fully understood. 4. Issue of PPE -Where practicable, PPE should be issued for a wearer s exclusive use. -Records of RPE issue and usage shall be established and maintained. -Where equipment is issued to an individual, each RPE should bear a identifying mark which may be the user s name, initials, employee number or similar identification. -Where PPE not issued on a personal basis e.g. SCBA, must be cleaned and disinfected after each use. Prior to re-issue, PPE must be inspected in accordance with manufacturer s instructions to ensure correct operation. 5. Fit Testing of PPE - For PPE that requires close fitting to provide its designated protection, it is essential that an adequate seal is achieved. Fit testing should be undertaken to ensure workers are achieving desired levels of protection. For RPE qualitative or quantitative fit testing per AS/NZS For ear plugs use Ear Fit validation or Veri Pro. 6. Wearing of PPE - PPE must be used in accordance with manufacturer s instructions, and be worn at all times in specified areas and during specified tasks. 7. Maintenance -Maintenance shall be carried out following the manufacturer s instructions and include Cleaning and disinfection of equipment RPE must be cleaned after each use Where necessary, disinfection should be carried out after cleaning of the PPE 26

35 Inspection All PPE should be inspected a) before and after use and b) during cleaning Some types of PPE require periodic testing (e.g. equipment designated for emergency use) in accordance with manufacturer s or regulatory requirements Repair and replacement of components Repair must be carried out in accordance with manufacturers recommendations Filters shall be regularly replaced in accordance with the filter replacement schedule. (Advice should be sought from the manufacturer of the RPE in conjunction with an OHS professional, on an acceptable change-over time based on likely exposure patterns so that an adequate safety margin is allowed) Storage and disposal of equipment PPE must be stored to prevent contamination, damage and deterioration and should be located as close as practicable to where it is required Where legislative requirements exist or there are relevant manufacturers or suppliers guidelines for appropriate disposal of contaminated filters, these should be followed 8. Record Keeping -Records for a respiratory protection program shall include records related to: Issue of PPE (non disposable) Date, Identifying mark (where used) User records Training, fit test, medical screening Maintenance Filter replacement schedule, RPE maintenance schedule, Supplied air RPE maintenance records Program records Procedures, Audits/evaluations, Atmospheric monitoring records, Health surveillance 9. Program Evaluation To ensure the continued effectiveness of the PPE management program, it should be audited. 26

36 The PPE management program should be evaluated at least annually, with adjustments. 26

37 What does Legislation say about PPE? A lot!! Section 46 details the duties of the worker relating to PPE - Worker must use or wear equipment according to any information, training or reasonable instruction - Not intentionally misuse or damage the PPE - Must inform the PCBU of any damage, defect or need to clean/decontaminate as they become aware - PPE requirements mentioned in various codes of practice 27

38 There are numerous resources to assist with the use of PPE in the workplace Safe Work Australia SafeWork NSW Health Safety Executive HSE UK (Breethe Freely) Occupational Hygienists Manufacturers of safety equipment and clothing eg 3M (Tech assist line), Ansell (Chemical assessments, posters), Capital Safety Distributors of safety equipment and clothing eg Blackwoods 28

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