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Monday, January 24, 2011

PPE


Let's face it, there are times when it is just easier to do our jobs without having to get all the personal protective equipment (PPE). We save time not having to hunt it down, not putting it on, not taking it back off, not putting it back where it belongs. We save money not having to buy it. It gets in the way while we are working, it gets hung up on everything as we try to get to our task, it's uncomfortable. But, you have to ask yourself, are the cons outweighing the pros. PPE saves lives and limits injuries. Can you really put a price tag on that? Did those few extra minutes really payoff against the trip to the hospital?

Many of us "oldtimers" remember the "good ole days" when construction work was fun. We joked around all day, played practical jokes on each other, and got more work done. We didn't have to put on safety glasses to cut anything. We climbed steel and walked beams without having our safety belts attached to anything until we got to where the work was. Looking back now I realize how lucky I was on numerous occasions.

We don't think accidents will happen to us. We pay attention to what we are doing. We have training. We know our jobs. But accidents don't discriminate. They do happen to anybody. It doesn't have to be something you did or didn't do. It could be the person you're working with, faulty equipment, incorrect as-builts you're working from, etc.

Safety harnesses have gotten lighter, but stronger, making them more comfortable to wear. There is never any reason not to wear one when working at heights. Even if the fall is not enough to be fatal, it may still break an arm, leg or possibly spine.

Hard hats protect our most valuable asset.. our brains. Sure they won't do anything if a transformer falls on your head, but the everyday bumps and knocks and small falling objects will be deflected rather easily with minimal or no injury.

Safety glasses protect our second most valuable asset.. our eyes. Sure there are plenty of blind people that lead fulfilling lives, but I still believe it's better to see the world we live in. How many blind electricians do you know?

Face shields add that next level of protection for face and eyes. It provides better coverage and should be utilized when necessary.

Gloves protect our hands from cuts, abrasions, chemicals, heat, and cold. Even minor cuts are a nuisance.

Proper footwear, proper clothing, the list keeps going. They are all designed to make our jobs safer, so we can go home to our families each night. Re-think your opposition to using PPE, it might save your life one day.