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What Is PPE? Why Is It Important?

What Is PPE? Why Is It Important?

What Is PPE?

PPE stands for Personal Protective Equipment. It is an equipment that protects the medical professionals against health or safety risks and also minimizes exposure to hazards that cause serious injuries and disease in the workplace. It is one crucial way to both preventing the spread of COVID-19 and keep the healthcare workers (doctors, nurses, other caregivers) on the frontlines of pandemic safe.

As per item 1 of Schedule 1 to the Therapeutic Goods (Medical Devices - Specified Articles) Instrument 2020 specifies the following items are medical devices:

“non-sterile personal protective equipment or safety apparel (including but not limited to aprons, face masks, gloves, goggles, gowns and visors) intended, by the person under whose name the articles are or are to be supplied, to be used for the prevention of the transmission of disease between persons, including where that intention may be ascertained from the articles being represented as suitable for use in surgery, or clinical, medical or other health services”

According to the FDA, PPE acts as a barrier between an individual’s skin, mouth, nose, eyes, and viral and bacterial infections. Most PPE is regulated by the government agency and must comply with its regulations to be used in a medical environment.

Personal protective equipment may include items such as:

  • Gloves
  • Medical masks
  • Respiratory protective equipment (N95 or FFP2 standard, or equivalent).
  • Eye protection (safety glasses)
  • Gowns (coveralls, vests, full-body suits, high-visibility clothing, aprons)
  • Safety footwear (Boots or closed-toe work shoes)
  • Earplugs (muffs)
  • Safety helmets (hard hats)
  • Safety harnesses

Why Is It Important?

Making the workplace safe requires providingprotocols, procedures, training and supervision to enable people to work safely and efficiently. PPE plays a vital role in making the workplace secure. If the Personal Protective Equipment does not fit properly; it can differentiate between being protected safely or exposed dangerously. Even where engineering controls and safe systems of work have been applied, some hazards might remain.

These include injuries to:

The lungs, e.g. from breathing in contaminated air, oxygen-deficient atmospheres, dust, gases and vapours.

Eyes, e.g. flying particles, chemical or metal splash, dust, projectiles, gas and vapour, radiation, and corrosive liquids.

Ears, e.g. exposure to very high-level sounds which are hazardous even with short duration.

The head and feet, e.g. from falling or flying objects, risk of head bumping, hair getting tangled in machinery, cuts and punctures, chemical drips, metal chemical or splash and slipping.

Hands and arms, e.g.abrasion, extremes of temperature, cuts and punctures, chemicals, electrical shock, radiation, biological agents and prolonged water immersion.

The body and skin, e.g. from contact with corrosive materials, extremes of heat or cold, chemical or metal splash, contaminated dust, impact or penetration.

PPE is needed in these cases to reduce the risk of danger; therefore, you must choose the equipment carefully and ensure. Employees should be trained to use it properly and know how to detect and report any faults.

* Photo by Anna Tarazevich from Pexels

18th Jun 2020

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