Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

1.5. Protective Clothing

ryanrori July 14, 2020

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1.5. Protective Clothing

Personal Protective Equipment or PPE is the primary control measure to personal safety. When using Personal Protective Equipment, the hazards are still present in the environment. The protective device merely provides a barrier between the hazard and the worker.

It is imperative to understand that the issuing of Personal Protective Equipment is the last resort when all other methods fail to render the hazard safe.

The personal protective equipment supplied to you by your employer is for your personal safety and should be used by you only. This PPE remains the property of the COMPANY and should you misuse or abuse any safety equipment, action will be taken against you.

It is the responsibility of the workers to look after the safety equipment provided and to use it where required to by safety signs, and management ruling. It is your responsibility to report any defects of your safety equipment to your supervisor immediately.

When entering the client’s premises, boards indicating the required PPE/PPC are displayed to inform people entering the site what to wear.

You should also take into consideration the type of freight (commodities) you transport e.g Dangerous goods – The PPE/PPC is indicated on the TREMCARD.

No person will be allowed to move around on site or do any work without the correct PPE/PPC. This will include the driver of a vehicle.

To ensure that the Personal Protective Programme is successful the following steps must be put in place:

  • Write a policy on the usage of Personal Protective Equipment and inform employees and visitors on the use of Personal Protective Equipment.
  • Select the proper/correct type of equipment
  • Implement a thorough training programme
  • Enforce the use of Personal Protective Equipment
  • Risk assessments can and will identify were Personal Protective Equipment should be used


Reasons why protective equipment and clothing is not worn

  • The equipment cannot be worn comfortably and with ease.
  • The protective equipment interferes with normal working procedures.
  • The worker does not understand (ignorant) the necessity of wearing the equipment and clothing;
  • There has not been proper training and induction of the worker to his work environment.
  • The worker is not penalised or disciplined for not wearing the equipment.

Requirements for protective clothing and equipment

As far as personal protective clothing and equipment are concerned, the worker must be able to wear the equipment with ease and comfort; the protective clothing or equipment must not interfere with his normal working procedures; the necessity for wearing protective clothing/equipment must be brought home to the worker; and economic and other disciplinary action must be used to coerce the worker to constantly use protective clothing and equipment.

The problem encountered with protective clothing and equipment is the fact that these measures do not’ eradicate the danger out of mechanical hazards of machinery  these hazards have to be designed out of machinery; the correct choice of equipment is not always easy; and getting workers accustomed to protective gear is sometimes difficult.

Types of physical protective equipment available

Besides respirators and masks to filter out dust and fumes, and goggles and shields to guard the eyes, the following protective equipment is available:

  • Protective hard hats/caps and women’s nets;
  • Aprons, Suits and jackets;
  • Ear muffs;
  • Visors and face shields;
  • Welding helmets;
  • Boiler suits;
  • Dust-coats;
  • Safety boots and smelter boots;
  • Spats and leggings;
  • Air-suits for radiation and chemical protection;
  • Gloves and mittens; and Safety shoes.

Protective garments can be made of plastic, leather, asbestos, artificial fibres and so forth, depending on what type of protection is desired.

The aim of using protective clothing and equipment is to protect the human body and all its senses, e.g., hearing, seeing and smelling, from harm. Workers who do not wear goggles or ear muffs could lose their sight or sense of hearing.

Workers should also be protected from the stealthy killers such as asbestos dust, imperceptible gases, e.g. LPG or liquefied petroleum gases, and mercury poisoning. Gases and other harmful substances should be correctly stored in properly marked containers. Employers should always monitor the levels of poisonous gases and other dangerous substances in their factories.

Because every injury on duty has financial implications for both the employer and the employee, it is essential that injuries should be reduced to the absolute minimum.

Workmen who are injured on duty can claim for compensation in terms of the WORKMEN’S COMPENSATION ACT, 1941 (Act 30 of 1941). No compensation is paid if the workman is guilty of serious and wilful misconduct, unless the accident causes serious disablement or the workman dies. If the accident leads to serious disablement or death, the Commissioner will pay compensation even if the workman contravened the law or his employer’s instructions, or acted without instructions, but only if he was injured while engaged in his employer’s business. Should the workman be killed, his dependents are entitled to compensation. Workmen are usually not covered while travelling from home to their place of work. He must set foot on the premises of the workplace to be covered by the Act.

Head Protection

Hard hats provide protection for the head in areas where the danger of falling or flying objects exists, or where the head could be bumped against low structures.

However, this protection could also be lost when a hard hat is cracked or the insert is damaged or missing. Hard hats must never be used as a seat or a bucket or for any other purpose except that for which they were designed. Hardhat linings must be washed when dirty and at least on a monthly basis


Hearing Protection

Earplugs and earmuffs provide protection for the ears in noisy, hazardous areas, to prevent loss of hearing. Ear protectors must be maintained in an efficient and sanitary condition at all times. They should be stored in clean, dust-free containers; otherwise, users could suffer from infection of the ears.


Eye and Face Protection

Different situations will require different safety equipment. It is important that the most effective eye protection be worn and that the care must be taken when storing and cleaning these safety equipment as the lenses can scratch and thus causing a reduction in sight. Store these equipment in such a way that the lenses will not scratch.

Safety spectacles provide protection for the eyes and must be worn where the danger of flying particles exists, e.g. where metal hand tools are used, such as chisels.

Full-face shields must be worn when grinding work is done, and where splashing hazards exist.

Safety goggles must be worn in all dusty areas.  All employees involved in flame cutting, welding or brazing operations must wear welding goggles.

Hand Protection

Safety gloves provide protection for the hands and must be worn if there is a chance that employees could suffer injuries to the hands, e.g. cuts or severe abrasions. Safety gloves must be kept clean and in a good condition and must never be neglected and left to lie around haphazardly.

Breathing Protection

There are two kinds of protection available

i. Filter type

These respirators have filters, cartridges, or canisters that remove contaminants from the air by passing the ambient air through the air-purifying element before it reaches the user. These filters have a limited life span an have to be replace at regular intervals






ii. Air supplied type

These supply clean air directly to the user from a source other than the air surrounding the user. The clean air is supplied by means of an “air hose” and this hose will have to be attached to the worker. Care must be taken as not to damage the “air hose”.

Some of these filter type respirator can only be worn once or have a limited effective lifetime, and are to be changed when the user feel that little protection is offered.

Respirators must be stored in such a manner that they will not be damaged and exposed to any substance. It is important to clean and inspect the respirator after it has been used.

Before using a respirator, make sure that the respirator will offer the required protection and that all the parts are in a good working condition

Foot Protection

Safety shoes are fitted with steel toecaps and provide protection to the feet against falling objects. Safety shoes and lasses must be kept in a good condition (cleaned and polished regularly) and must never be neglected.

Protective Clothing

Overalls are issued to employees to reduce the possibility of injury caused by contact or radiated heat, cold, abrasive or sharp surfaces. Loose, tattered clothing worn by employees is not only indicative of an untidy method of working, but is also a hazard as it is likely to get caught in moving machine parts.



Safety Harness

Safety belts, harness, lifelines, and climbing shoes are essential to protect employees carrying out hazardous work above ground level. These items must be kept in an excellent state of repair and maintenance must be done under strict supervision. This equipment must be stored as per the equipment manufacture’s instructions.

Important information about PPE

Wear your personal protective equipment and clothing, you have everything to gain!

Remember that these items are expensive and in order to gain maximum protection from them, one must treat them with respect.

The PPE will only be effective if it is used correctly and for the purpose that it was designed for.

You must report defective equipment of ineffective PPE to your supervisor or Health and Safety Representative immediately. Using damaged or ineffective PPE will damage your health and will lead to other injuries