PPE – what’s new?
The local personal protective equipment (PPE) arena is hotting up with a glut of new products entering the market. Here’s an introduction to some of the latest.
The ever-growing need for companies to comply with stringent health and safety legislation has spawned a need for the correct solutions to be ready and available at a moment’s notice. Investing in high-quality, original PPE equipment is well worth the expense when weighted against the cost of an inferior product’s under-performance.
However, according to the Chemical and Allied Industries’ Association (CAIA), no single piece of personal protective equipment (PPE), or combination thereof, is capable of protecting people against all hazards and should, therefore, be used as a last resort in conjunction with other protective methods.
PPE is designed to provide protection to employees from injuries and illnesses where hazards exist in the workplace. The careful selection and appropriate use of adequate PPE should protect individuals from risks to their respiratory system, skin, eyes, face, hands, feet, head, body and hearing.
Depending on the hazard or workplace conditions, legislation requires the use of engineering controls (building a barrier between a hazard and the employees) or work practice controls (changing the way in which employees perform their work) to manage or eliminate hazards to the greatest extent possible before turning to PPE.
The CAIA also cautions that PPE has specific limitations and decisions about PPE must therefore consider these limitations, which could include:
• Movement restricted due to weight;
• Vision restricted due to visual field limitations;
• Communication could be difficult;
• Facial hair interfering with the proper fit of masks;
• The equipment could be uncomfortable to wear;
• Incompatibilities of barrier materials with chemical agents;
• “Breakthrough times” – how long it takes for particular chemicals to pass through specific material; and
• Damaged, dirty or scratched equipment reducing protection.
Wearing PPE correctly will allow employees to go home safely at the end of their shift.
Here are just some of the latest products and services on the market:
Welding safely with Afrox
Afrox – South Africa’s largest supplier of gases and welding accessories – is infusing its experience in gas and welding technologies with the necessary PPE and safety hardware to present a total product offering. Afrox’s range of PPE includes high-quality foot, hand, face, eye, ear and head protection products, which have been developed for specific customer applications.
The company also recently partnered with DOT Safety Footwear to broaden the range of foot protection which will soon be available from all Gas & Gear retail outlets.
To complement these products, Afrox also offers a fume extraction solution where welding fumes are present, offering any mobile, fixed or custom installations to customers. The company has also developed and recently launched the Smoothflo single stage gas pressure regulator. This is one of the safest gas regulators in its class by way of the break-off inlet stem that ensures that the excess-flow valve will automatically seal off gas discharge from the cylinder, should a cylinder and regulator be accidentally impacted by a fall.
Other safety features include a piston-embedded safety valve that eliminates the need for a diaphragm and produces excellent pressure stability at higher flow rates, which allows an operator to achieve greater gas cutting speeds.
PPE management with Kit Group
The Kit Group, Africa’s leading uniform solutions and management entity, offers all industries a complete uniform management function. This includes the conception, design, manufacture, supply and management of uniforms and accessories including: security wear, work wear, safety wear (PPE) and safety foot wear.
A unique service the Kit Group offers its clients is offsite storage, where bulk warehousing enables clients to store their supplies at the company’s warehouse, thus ensuring high levels of service delivery to customers at all times. The goods are managed on behalf of the clients through the company’s “Offsite Vendor Management System” software.
For clients with high uniform and PPE usages, that demand high levels of service and maintenance, the Kit Group also has a solution called the “Onsite Vendor Management System”, which is in effect a warehouse or storage facility at the client’s own premises. Stock is issued onsite using the IT software and is replenished from the company’s central warehouse once minimum stock levels are reached.
Brands in the Kit Group portfolio include: Law Pro specialised security wear; Tank premium workwear; and Worka affordable workwear.