When personal protective equipment (PPE) gets old, it stops protecting your employees from workplace accidents.
But that's not the only problem. Old equipment can also cause accidents too. All it takes is a loose glove thread to catch in a moving machine part and you'll have a serious accident on your hands.
Now since each type of PPE causes its own hazards, replacing any old and broken protective equipment is essential.
Here's why you need to replace old and damaged PPE
says 'All too often we see employees using old, damaged and potentially dangerous protective equipment. Examples include dirty, misshapen respirators with old cartridges or missing valves. Glasses or goggles so scratched, no one could not imagine wearing them. Filthy torn-up ear muffs, contaminated gloves or coveralls, etc.'
This equipment is actually dangerous and your need to replace it because:
It can stop employees seeing or reacting to a situation quickly
For example, scratched safety glasses or hard hats that keep slipping down so your employees can't see what's happening. It will stop them being able to react to dangers situations.
As a result, your employee might have a serious accident all because he couldn't see what he was doing.
The germs and bacteria can make them sick
A filthy respirator will make your employee sick instead of preventing illness. After all, when there's so much bacteria in the respirator itself, your employees constantly breathes it in.
The same goes for dirty gloves and overalls that simply put your employee in constant contact with bacteria.
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It can cause injuries
Safety gear like hard hats or goggles that have broken pieces can cut your employees. This is even more dangerous if something hits them in the head and pushes the broken parts into their head or face.
It will increase the risk level of dangers in your employees work
If your employees work with industrial saw machines, you'll give them special safety gloves to protect them from this risk. But if there's a loose thread on the gloves that could catch in the blade motor and pull your employee's hand towards the blade, it increases the risk level.
As you can see, you have to replace old and damaged protective equipment simply because it's too dangerous to keep using it.
So, to make sure your equipment never gets to this point, make sure you do regular inspections. Here's what to look for…
When you do a PPE inspection, look for these three signs that it's too old
Look for broken straps and clips
Make sure all the straps and clips that hold it in place are still whole.
Look for scratches, dents and cracks
When you examine plastic safety equipment, like hard hats and safety goggles, look for any cracks, scratches or dents in the plastic that will make it weak or (in the case of the goggles) hard to see through.
Look for excessive dirt
You must throw out protective clothing that's excessively dirty.
Do these checks regularly to see when your protective equipment is old and broken so you can replace it as soon as possible.
To find out more about how to manage your PPE, check out the Health and Safety Advisor.