Head-To-Toe Essential PPE Signage Guidance
The wearing of PPE (Personal protective equipment) is required by law under the health & safety at work act, employers have a duty to provide workers with ppe where their duties and activities around the workplace involves working in areas where they can come into harm from any work processes as part of their daily duties and likewise employees also have a duty of care towards their employers to wear any ppe they are issued with to help protect them from harm or injury. The range of ppe available to workers can cover them from head-to-toe, below we will detail information about each ppe product and why the signage for each ppe equipment is vital for employers to display around their workplaces.
Head Protection Signage
Depending on the work activities an employees has to carry out some environments demand the need for some form of head protection to be worn, building and construction sites for example can be very hazardous and dangerous from overhead hazards such as scaffolding and objects falling from above. The site manager has the responsibility in ensuring staff, visitors and contractors wear head protection before entering the sites but people on the site also have a duty of care towards their employer by wearing head protection. Employers and site managers can help ensure others wear head protection such as safety helmets, hard hats or within the food industry hair nets by installing the appropriate head protection signage, the signs for head protection wearing are classed as mandatory signs, vibrant blue backgrounds with white pictogram symbols and text, the messages on the signs can be different such as "Head protection must be worn", "Safety helmets must be worn in this area", "Wear hard hats" ect, the white pictogram is normally a hard hat symbol or an image of a persons head wearing a hard hat. Being a mandatory message type of sign it means people entering a specific area MUST wear some form of protection for their head. Head protection signage is ideally mounted and displayed around the entry points to the hazardous locations in clear prominent positions so they can be easily seen.
Ear Protection Signage
Some workplaces, due to their daily activities have equipment, plant, machinery and generators which can produce high noise levels, high noise levels can cause long term harm to people such as tinnitus if hearing protection such as ear defenders or ear plugs are not worn, in workplaces where the noise levels are high it is the responsibility of the employer to provide adequate ear protection to their employees whilst working in noisy environments. To help ensure others wear ear protection employers and managers can enforce this rule by installing and displaying ear protection signage, these types of signs can convey a range of messages such as "Wear ear protectors", "Ear protection must be worn in this area", "High noise levels use ear protectors" ect, the signage for ensuring people wear protection for their ears fall under the mandatory messages of signs which feature a blue background and accompanied with a white message and ear defenders pictogram symbols and have the meaning the ear protection must be worn. The ideal positioning of the ear protection signage is in clear, prominent positions around entry points to noisy environments and are recommended to be displayed above ppe points where ear protectors are issued or dispensed from.
Eye Protection Signage
Injuries to peoples eyes in the workplace both indoors and outdoors happens everyday, causes of injuries to the eyes can be from dust, flying particles, splashes and vapours. In workplaces where the activities of employees involves such process which could result in an injury to people eyesight then measures must be implemented to provide some for of protection for people eyes, the protection can be in the form of safety glasses, overspecs, goggles, face visors ect, where these are required the employer has a legal obligation to provide such eye protection equipment but also the employees are legally obliged to wear the eye protection. Employers and safety managers can help to ensure others wear some form of eye protection by mounting and displaying signage for wearing eye protection, the signage used for making sure others wear eye protection are the mandatory type of signs and the messages conveyed can be various such as "Eye protection must be worn" and "Eye protection required beyond this point", the signs have a vibrant blue background accompanied by white text and can also feature white pictogram symbols of a persons head wearing eye coverings, the signs are mandatory message signs which means to everyone that wherever the signs are displayed then eye protection must be actioned upon and worn, the perfect positioning for eye protection signage is around entry points to the hazardous areas, on machinery, near liquids and around chemicals in which the vapours can cause irritation to the eyes.
Face Mask Signage
Not too long ago it was a mandatory for everyone in the UK to wear a face mask or face shields due to COVID-19 the coronavirus, today in some workplaces due to the daily activities carried out some form of face mask, visor or face covering are still required, workplaces which activities include dusty environments, paint spraying, chemical plants and handling, sterile environments, food industries and healthcare sectors. In workplaces where such activities are carried out employers have a legal responsibility to ensure people wear some for of face mask whilst carrying out their duties to protect them from short and long term harm, wherever around the workplace people are required to wear face coverings such as masks the employers must provide adequate masks to covers the faces which are suitable and fit for purpose to protect others from harm depending on the environment. Where employers need to make it a requirement for people to wear a face mask or dust mask the ideal solution is to mount and display the appropriate face mask signage, the signage for wearing masks to cover the face are mandatory message signs which can convey messages such as "Wear masks" and "Wear dust masks" which are printed in white onto a blue background and are normally accompanied with a white pictogram symbol of a dust mask which ensures clear understanding that some form of face covering must be worn, the signage for making sure people wear face masks are the mandatory types which means wherever the you see the signs you must wear some form of safety mask, dust mask or face covering.
High Visibility Clothing Signage
Around the UK 83% of workplaces both indoors and out stipulate to their staff that some for of high visibility clothing must be worn, the range of high visibility clothing is vast with variations in clothing such as high visibility vests, high visibility jackets, high visibility sweatshirts, high visibility waistcoats and high visibility trousers. The high visibility clothing worn by people will vary between workplaces and industries for example, warehouse staff will normally wear high visibility vests so they can be seen by industrial vehicles such as forklift trucks, road workers will wear high visibility jackets and trousers so they can be seen by drivers and building and construction site staff will wear high visibility clothing so they can be seen by site traffic vehicles, industrial plant machinery and other workers. The owners, employers and managers of these workplaces and industries will need to ensure their staff wear some form of high visibility clothing as required by mounting and displaying specific high visibility signage such as "High visibility clothing must be worn in this area" which carry this message as a mandatory requirement which means to others that clothing with high visibility must be worn.
Wear Protective Overalls Signage
Some industries, workplaces and public outdoor activities stipulate that protective coveralls are worn, depending on the working environment and the activities involved coveralls are designed to be worn over people normal clothing for added protection in industries such as engineering, farming and agriculture, automotive engineers, chemical plants and outdoor activities at leisure resorts. Workplaces which require their employees to wear protective overalls must let their staff know this is a requirement by carrying out a risk assessment of the working practices and sharing the information with the employees, employers and managers can also make it a mandatory requirement for others to wear protective overalls by mounting and displaying the appropriate signage which stipulates overalls to be worn, these types of signs can conveys messages such as "Protective clothing must be worn in this area" and "Wear protective clothing", these messages on the signs are mandatory as the messages are displayed in white onto a blue background and features a white pictogram symbols or a pair of overalls for easily, instant and universal recognition, it is recommended that employers and managers install and display wear protective overalls signage around entry points to the areas where overalls are to be worn and being a mandatory type of sign it means that the wearing of protective overalls must be carried out.
Wear Lab Coats Signage
Specific workplaces and industries require their personnel to wear lab or laboratory coats as a form of personal protective clothing, professions such as pharmacists, nurses, chemists, doctors, lab technicians, microbiologists and medical practitioners, the lab coats are required for protection against fluids, powders, chemicals, spills, splashes, bacteria, static and biological specimens. Employers must carry out a risk assessment of their workplace and assess if lab coats are required to be worn and if so provide their staff, visitors and contractors with the appropriate lab coats. Around the workplace where people must wear lab coats it is vital that staff, visitors and contractors are fully aware of this requirement by installing and mounting appropriate mandatory lab coat signage, the signage for ensuring others wear lab coats features a vibrant blue background with white messages such as "Lab coats must be worn in this area" and are accompanied with a white pictogram symbol of a laboratory coat which provides instant and easy recognition as the symbol is universally recognised, employers can display the signs on walls and doors around entry points where people are required to wear a lab coat, being a mandatory message sign it means that the wearing of lab coats must be carried out.
Hand Protection Signage
Many industries and workplaces require their staff, visitors, contractors and in some cases the general public to wear some for of hand protection such as gloves to protect their hands and fingers from harm or injury whilst carrying out specific duties and tasks which can be dangerous and hazardous, industries such as the healthcare sector, scaffolding erectors, chemical handlers, welders, machine operators, frozen food handlers, the food industry, cleaners, engineers, mechanics and outdoor workers. Business owners, employers and managers must ensure where required that everyone on the sites wears the appropriate form of hand protection suitable for protection depending on the workplace duties and activities, around the workplace employers can make it a requirement for everyone to wear hand protection by mounting and displaying appropriate hand protection signage which can convey a range of messages such as "Wear gloves", "Hand protection must be worn" and "Safety gloves are required beyond this point". These types of signs for making sure people wear hand protection carry mandatory messages displayed in white on a blue background and also feature a white pictogram symbol of a pair of gloves which provides instant, universal clarification which should ideally be displayed at entry points to areas where hand protection must be worn.
Foot Protection Signage
One of the most common causes of injuries to workers in the UK is injuries to the foot and toes, the protection of feet and toes is vital around workplaces both indoors (such as manufacturing plants and warehouses) and outdoors (such as building and construction sites), these types of industries can provide many hazards and risks of injuries to people feet and toes due to the working activities and the surrounding environment such as where industrial vehicles are present with pedestrians. Following your risk assessment employers may need to make it a mandatory requirement for people to wear some for of foot protection whilst on their premises to help protect them from harm or injury, the foot protection can be in the form of safety boots, safety shoes, safety trainers and safety wellingtons. The ideal way to enforce and ensure people wear some form of protection for their feet is to mount and display foot protection signage around entry points to the hazardous areas, the signs convey mandatory messages in white such as "Wear boots" and "Foot protection must be worn" and are usually accompanied with a pair of white boots pictogram symbol which is instantly recognised as a universal symbol for ease of clarification that some form of foot protection must be worn.
Prior to installing ppe (personal protective equipment signage) business owners and managers must carry out a risk assessment around the workplace both indoors and outdoors which will allow you to discover people and areas which may have risks and hazards which will in turn allow you to determine what type of ppe equipment is required for peoples protection and then you can install the appropriate and corresponding personal protective equipment signage according to the ppe that others need to wear to help protect them from harm or injury.