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What to do if your PPE is comprimised

Written by : Posted on October 24, 2017 : No Comments

Since our founding in 1984, MPE has been dedicated to worker safety, and we offer a full array of PPE to protect those exposed to hazardous conditions and materials in the workplace, including a large selection of disposable jumpsuits.

If you don’t already know, PPE stands for personal protective equipment, and according to guidelines provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) it includes the following:

  • Protective clothing
  • Respiratory equipment
  • Cooling system
  • Communication devices
  • Head protection
  • Eye protection
  • Ear protection
  • Inner garment
  • Outer protection (overgloves, overboots, flashcover)

Over time, through normal usage, wear and tear, and exposure to contaminants, your PPE can become compromised. And that raises the question: when do you know when to replace your PPE? You should consider the following factors when deciding whether to replace a piece of PPE:

  • Manufacturer’s information – Generally, a manufacturers provide information about how to identify the “end of life” of a piece of PPE, generally based on a specific date or maximum service time.
  • Damage – When a piece of PPE is heavily damaged, such as a cracked protective helmet, it should be replaced.
  • Inspection – If a piece of PPE does not pass inspection, you must replace it.

The last point raises another question, What guidelines should be used to inspect a piece of PPE? We suggest you use the following criteria in inspecting some of the more commonly used pieces of PPE:

  • Gloves – Look for wear and tear, as this can affect a glove’s gripping and protection abilities, and test the grip. Try using tools, ensuring they are easy to grip and operate.
  • Footwear – Look for separation of footwear components, such as the toe cover detaching from the rest of the shoe or boot. Exposure of once-covered areas indicates an immediate need for repair or replacement.
  • Eyewear – Put on the eyewear and look for scratches or other damage that might impair vision.
  • Headgear – Look for cracks and other signs of damage.
  • Body and leg protection – Put on the pieces of PPE and see if they have shrunk to the point that mobility is inhibited. If so, you must replace it.

Whether you’re buying PPE for the first time or replacing compromised pieces of PPE, remember our aim is always to make sure you have the best possible purchasing experience. Call us today at 1-800-842-4230 and let one of our Customer Service Representatives help you.

EPA Protective Clothing Guidelines

Written by : Posted on October 12, 2017 : No Comments

The U.S. Environmental Protect Agency (EPA) has formulated Level of Protection guidelines to protect the safety and health of individuals involved in the handling of hazardous materials. The Levels of Protection (LOPs) are based on the type of respiratory protection required to ensure the safety of the user under certain specified conditions.

In addition, the EPAs LOPs recommend the protective clothing that users should wear to ensure adequate protection, including what the clothing should consist of and look like, but not necessarily how the various components should perform.

Level A (Vapor or Gas Protection) should include:

  • The highest available level of respiratory protection.
  • Fully encapsulated chemical suit with breathing apparatus.

Typically, Level A work conditions include:

  • A chemical hazard with a sufficiently high vapor pressure to produce gases or vapors that are toxic through skin absorption or are carcinogenic (cancer causing).
  • Work conditions that have a high potential (probability) for exposure to very high concentrations of chemical splash, immersion or exposure to chemical vapors.
  • Situations that may involve unknown chemicals or chemical combinations (HAZMAT).

Level B (Liquid Splash Protection) should include:

  • The same level of respiratory protection is required as in Level A. However, a lesser degree of skin protection is needed than for Level A.
  • Level B protection allows for certain areas of exposed skin on the wearer, permitting the use of encapsulating garments that are not “vapor tight.”

At this level, exposure situations will typically be chemical concentrations (below established exposure limits), and workers typically will not be exposed to vapors or gases that are toxic by skin absorption or are carcinogenic.

Level C (Particle or Liquid Splash Protection)

  • Workers should have the same level of skin protection as at Level B but a lower level of respiratory protection, namely, air purifying respirators.
  • Works should wear one or two piece splash suits with cartridge respirators.

At this level, chemicals are non-hazardous through skin absorption and well below exposure limits.

Level D (No Hazard Protection)

  • At this level, no respiratory protection and very little skin protection are needed.
  • Coveralls and general safety gear are worn. These include shoes, gloves, and eye and head protection.

At Level D, the work environment has no possibility of contact with hazardous chemicals.

Source, DuPont: http://www.dupont.com/products-and-services/personal-protective-equipment/chemical-protective-garments/articles/epa-guidelines.html

Advancements in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

As we try to improve and ensure higher standards of safety in the workplace, the use and functionality of personal protective equipment (PPE) continues to evolve as well. Recently, many advancements have been made to protective work jumpsuits, helmets, gloves, goggles and other safety apparel to try and lower the number of on-the-job injuries that happen each year. These are a few of the adjustments manufacturers have made to improve the functionality and level of protection that PPE has to offer.

Comfort, Flexibility, Productivity

PPE manufacturers are constantly trying to make work jumpsuits and other PPE gear more comfortable. In the past, many workers have worn jumpsuits or coveralls that were heavier than necessary because manufacturers were under the impression that this meant they offered better protection. With a more current focus on smart design, workers can now choose from many products that are lighter, more comfortable, and allow for better flexibility. This is a win-win situation for both employers and workers as PPE is now more desirable to wear and because it feels and fits comfortably, workers can be more productive on the job.

High-Visibility

When it comes to high-visibility clothing, the go-to for many work environments is a loose-fitting neon safety vest. However, some manufacturers have gotten complaints that these vests often get tangled or stuck on things throughout the workday. With this in mind, work jumpsuits, coveralls, t-shirts, and other PPE equipment can now be ordered in high-visibility colors.

Improved Eye Protection

In recent years, manufacturers have realized that workers’ eyes need to be protected from more than just projectiles. In many work environments, debris and dust fill the air. PPE glasses now have foam fitted to the frames to create a seal around the eye cavity and keep airborne particles out. Additionally, some new eyewear designs include an anti-fog technology to improve visibility on the job.

Courtesy of Safety and Health Magazine

Infectious Disease Protection

In recent years, several infectious disease outbreaks have made their way to the United States and put people in a frenzy. These diseases are easily spread through contact with the biofluids (blood, saliva, sweat or feces) of an infected person, and when the average person touches their face about 100 times per day, it is almost impossible to avoid exposure once you have come in contact with it. For those working to study and combat infectious diseases, there is personal protective equipment (PPE) such as biohazard protections suits. These biohazard protection suits help protect the doctors, nurses, and researchers that encounter these diseases on a regular basis.

Biohazard Protection Suits

Biohazard protection suits are full-body garments made to keep harmful contaminants from making contact with the skin. When working in an industry where you may be exposed to harmful toxins or disease, it is important to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself. These garments typically include full-body coveralls, a hood to protect exposure to the head, and boots to protect your feet. Individuals working in these hazardous industries often wear additional gear as well to further protect themselves. A head cover, mask with a respirator, gloves, goggles, and face shields help to ensure the wearer has no exposed areas of skin or clothing.

The most crucial step when it comes to protecting yourself from infectious disease is how you remove the biohazard protection suit and other gear after you have come in contact with the disease. The CDC has two different methods you can follow that allow you to remove your gloves and garments without ever touching the outside of them. All PPE should be removed before exiting the isolation area and by rolling downward from head to toe. You should remove your mask and goggles last. It is also important that you wash your hands after removing each garment. By following these steps and being especially cautious, your biohazard suit will protect you from infectious disease exposure.

What to do in the Event of a Chemical Exposure

If you work with hazardous chemicals, it is important to have a precise safety procedure handy in case an accident occurs. Unfortunately, if you do not wear Tyvek® suits or other protective clothing, then an accident is sure to happen. Here are a few safety guidelines for chemical exposures in the stomach, skin, and eyes:

If a Chemical has been Ingested

If you or someone you encounter has accidentally ingested a toxic chemical, your first thought might be to try and get the substance out by vomiting. However, there can be many risks associated with inducing vomiting especially in emergency situations. You might also try to drink milk or water to dilute the chemical ingested, but this also is not recommended unless specifically told by to do so by the Poison Control Centre. In the case of a chemical ingestion, it is wisest to immediately call an emergency line or the Poison Control Centre. They will be able to help guide you step by step to ensure safer results.

Chemicals on Skin or Eyes

The initial step after encountering a toxic chemical on your skin or eyes is to immediately flush it away with water. The faster you rinse the chemical – the better you will prevent permanent damage to your skin or sight. The recommended amount of time suggests 15 or 20 minutes of rinsing. However, it depends on the chemical. Here is a brief time guideline for washing away chemicals based on their toxicity:

  • Mild irritants 5 min
  • Moderate-Severe Irritants: 15-20 min
  • Most Corrosives: 30 min
  • Strong Alkalis: 60 min

For ultimate protection, Disposable Garments sells protective eye wear and Tyvek® suits to protect your body from being exposed to these hazardous chemicals. You can buy Tyvek® suits right here online!

Courtesy Of: CCOHS

Not Your Mama’s Jumpsuit: The History and Use of Tyvek®

Tyvek® is the trademark name for a brand of high-density polyethylene fibers that have been flashspun (that’s a fancy way to say non-woven fabric). The trademark was registered by the company DuPont in 1965, ten years after Jim White, a DuPont researcher, discovered the material and 2 years later it was introduced for commercial purposes. The material is very strong; it is difficult to tear but can easily be cut with scissors or a knife. Water vapor can pass through Tyvek®, but liquid water cannot. These properties make Tyvek® useful in a variety of applications. While most people are most familiar with Tyvek® suit, it has been used for many other applications such as, it is an extremely versatile material

Licenses and Currency, and Mail

  • Tyvek® has been used to create banknotes in Haiti and Costa Rica.
  • From 1986-1999, New Zealand incorporated Tyvek® material in their licenses.
  • In the US, Tyvek® was used in envelopes by the postal service as well as Fedex.

Construction and Space Shuttles

Housewrap, which is a material used in construction to form an air barrier between various components of buildings during the construction period, is often made of large sheets of Tyvek®.

The material was even used as part of the Space Shuttle program as a cover for the RCS thruster ports in the program’s later years.

Clothing and Accessories

  • Because of its durability, Tyvek® has been used in textile and clothing labels as well as shoes. The fashion industry has experimented with Tyvek®. In 1976, fashion house Fiorucci made an entire collection out of Tyvek®. More recently fashion retailer and manufacturer American Apparel has included white Tyvek® shorts.
  • Rock band Devo is known for wearing large, two-piece Tyvek® suits with black elastic belts and 3-D glasses. In 1979, Devo appeared with Tyvek® leisure suits and shirts made specifically for the band, with the band’s own designs and images. In 2005,
  • Dynomighty Design introduced a Tyvek® wallet made from a single sheet of Tyvek®.
  • The ultralight backpacking community has begun to use Tyvek® for the construction of extremely light yet durable backpacks. In 2012,
  • The Open Company released a foldable city map made of one of the stiffer variants of Tyvek®

It is also used to make coveralls used by mechanics and those who work with hazardous materials. Tyvek® can even be seen in the form of wristbands used at concerts, fairs, and other public events where people must prove that they paid for admission.

Since its discovery Tyvek® has proven itself to be extremely versatile, and remains a key component in the manufacture of materials and products across the globe.

This Little Piggy Went to The Hospital

Occupational Foot Safety

Foot safety at work is a topic that we as employers, managers, and employees all need to address. Far too many preventable foot injuries occur in the workplace every single day. According to the BLS, more than 60,000 foot injuries each year result in lost workdays. The National Council on Compensation Insurance estimates that the average cost of each lost day of work is equivalent to $9,600. Sadly, all of these injuries, and as a result, of this lost production, is largely preventable. Below we will explore what causes foot injuries on the job and what you can do to prevent them.


Foot injuries can be caused by a number of things. They can occur in an instance or they can occur over long periods of time. The most immediate dangers to your feet on the job are those hazards that could cause acute injury. Punctures, cuts, lacerations, burns, crushed or broken feet, sprained or twisted ankles, and even electric shocks are all possible dangers to your feet on a job site. All of the physical hazards on a work site leave your feet vulnerable to these injuries. Things like slippery floors, exposed sharp edges and nails, heavy objects falling or moving vehicles can all present danger. Recognizing these hazards is the first step to preventing injury.


However, there are dangers to our feet that are not so obvious. Improper footwear can have a much more long-term effect on your feet. Wearing shoes that don’t provide the proper support over long periods of time can do chronic damage to your feet—especially if you are standing, walking, or lifting for much of your job.


There are a couple of things that can be done to mitigate the risks of occupation foot injury. You can redesign the job so that it improves foot safety, you can employ the proper training to prevent injury, and you can mandate the proper protective footwear on the job.


The first thing you can do is design the job to minimize hazards. What does that look like? It looks like a tidy work environment—free of obvious visible hazards. The workplace should have a culture of tidiness. Make it the norm around the jobsite. It also means that jobs vary in the tasks that a worker does. Job should allow workers who are on their feet for long periods of time to have the opportunity to do tasks where they sit. Different tasks should involve different motions and different positions for your body. Repetition of a certain task can cause injury. Also, a work day should allot for breaks. Rest helps prevent injury.


The next, crucial step to making a job safer (in any capacity) is proper safety training. We can’t stress this one enough! Make sure that your employees are told explicitly what the dangers of the job are and specifically how to prevent them. And don’t stop after you tell them once. Safety training is something that needs maintenance. Frequent training sessions should take place among employees and management to remind everyone of safety’s important role on the job.


Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, you need to be wearing the right PPE. With the right footwear, you can prevent these injuries from happening! Let’s look at what makes a shoe good for dangerous work environments:

  • The shoe grips the heal firmly
  • The front of the shoe allows freedom of movement of the toes
  • Low, wide-based heel
  • Steel mid-sole
  • Steel toe cap that covers all toes
  • Support for both arch and ankles
  • Non-slip soles (although these are not 100% effective)

To find the best footwear for your job, you can visit our online shop here!

Eye Spy A Hazardous Work Environment

Eye injuries are one of the most commonplace occupational injuries. There are a variety of jobs that have the potential to damage your eyes through a variety of hazards. Foreign objects or chemicals may come into contact with the eyes and cause cuts or scrapes or irritation. Infectious disease can make its way into your body through the eyes for workers in the health care field. If you rub your eyes after coming into contact with hazardous or infectious material, it could cause damage to your eyes. It’s important to discuss eye injuries at the workplace because of how often they happen, they are largely preventable. At MPE, we believe our workforce can cut down on the number of eye injuries on the job.

Let’s discuss why people injure their eyes at work. Largely, it has to do with the level of caution they are taking. Wearing proper eye protection for a given task is crucial to your safety and well-being. Most people get hurt on the job because they are either not wearing any eye protection, or wearing the incorrect protection for the type of work they are doing. Nearly 60% of people who suffer an eye injury at work were not wearing eye protection at the time of the accident. There are a lot of reasons someone may not wear the proper eye protection (or none at all). It could be laziness, it could be an improper analysis of the danger of the situation, but most importantly for our purposes, it could be a lack of education and proper safety management. Enforcing eye protection on the job is the number one way to prevent eye injuries. Proper safety training is a key element of this.

So what do employees need to learn? From the get-go, your employees need to know that eye protection is not an option—it is a necessity. Explaining the reason behind eye safety and the situations that call for it is essential to preventing these types of injuries. Any workplace that includes projectiles (particles in the air that could come into contact with the eyes and irritate them), chemicals (either liquid or gaseous), radiation in many forms, or bloodborne pathogens all require eye protection. Some of the most susceptible industries to occupational eye injuries include fields like welding, carpentry, construction, auto repair, plumbing, medical, mining, electrical work, manufacturing, maintenance work, and epidemiology.

So what can you do to prevent eye injuries? Take the following steps:

  1. Identify and understand the hazards on the jobsite that put your eyes at risk
  2. Eliminate or at least minimize these hazards to the best of your ability before work starts
  3. Equip yourself with the proper eye protection
  4. Maintain protective eye gear and replace it when applicable

To buy eyewear for your company, visit our online shop here.

Tips for Working Outside

you work outdoors you have to take into consideration weather conditions on top of all of the safety issues normally associated with a job. Below is a short list of tips to help outdoor workers stay safe, dry, and the correct temperature.

Winter

If you find yourself working outdoors in winter, there a few things to keep in mind. The first and perhaps most obvious point is to stay warm! Dress appropriately for the weather. Wear warm layers underneath lightweight, wind-resistant layers. Make sure to keep your head warm with the proper headgear Don’t forget to keep your feet dry! If you’re dragging your feet through snow, keep a pair of dry socks handy! Get yourself a good pair of gloves that allows you to still perform your work while keeping your hands warm.

Spring

Spring showers bring their own set of problems for the outdoor workforce. If you’re working during the rainy season, keep in mind that you want the proper rain gear. Employees should be well-equipped with rain suits that are light and breathable. They should be something that you can still move around and work in comfortably.

Summer

Sweet summertime is actually one of the most dangerous times of year for outdoor workers. The summer heat presents the risk of heat illness while on the job. When you’re working outside during the hot summer months remember three things: Rest, shade, and water! Take breaks as frequently as you need. Get out of the sun as much as you can. Finally, drink water all day long, even when you don’t feel thirsty! You’ll thank yourself when you don’t succumb to heat stroke on the job.

Fall

Autumn is one of the most unpredictable times of the year as far as weather goes. You really need to be prepared for everything and anything mother nature can throw your way. Some days are sweltering hot, while others are shivering cold. Some days are rainy and some days have clear skies. Keep all of the tips above in mind during fall.

For all the gear you need for outdoor work year-round, visit our shop!

Most Common Workplace Injuries

Different workplaces have their own set of hazards and dangers regardless of whether you work in a factory, a construction site, or even an office. You can sustain an injury on the job no matter what environment you work in, so it’s important to understand your company’s safety policies and procedures. Below are some of the most common workplace injuries for which you should be on the lookout.

Slips, Trips & Falls

Slips, trips, and falls can happen in any work environment but are especially prevalent on work sites that are unkempt. This could mean that floors are wet and slippery or that materials/tools/equipment have been left out. This is why proper procedure for keeping a tidy workplace are so important! Falls could also happen from elevated areas, ladders, stairs, etc. These are usually the cause of more severe injuries.

Overexertion

Overexertion injuries are incredibly common in the workplace. Any job that involves manual labor of some kind presents the risk for overexertion. Tasks like lifting, pushing, and pulling can all lead to overexertion and lead to an expensive and lengthy recovery.

Electrocution

Electrocution can be the source of severe injuries on a work site. Without the proper safety training and PPE, electric currents pose a huge threat to employees. Electrocution can cause thermal burns to the skin, it can cause damage to nerve and muscle tissue when electricity passes through the body, and can even cause cardiac arrest.

Machine & Vehicle Accidents

Mishandled machinery and work-related vehicle accidents account for a large percentage of on-the-job injuries. There are a number of variations of accidents that deal with machinery, equipment, and vehicles. Workers may become crushed or entangled in machinery, they may hurt themselves using dangerous equipment, or they can get in collisions with work vehicles.

Repetitive Motion Injuries

These injuries are those that occur from repetitive work-related tasks. The constant repetition can cause stress or strain on muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissues. These injuries can get pretty severe after a while. The good news is that injury can be prevented! Visit our repetitive tasks blog to find out how!

Falling Objects

Objects falling from heights and hitting employees are generally a danger in places like construction sites, where workers are navigating multiple levels and there are tools and materials scattered about. The best thing you can do to avoid this is keep a tidy workplace.

Walking Into Things

Have you ever walked into something by accident? You aren’t the only one. This kind of accident can happen any place in home, at work or outside. Distraction is the major reason for this type of accident and while most times you can walk away with a few bruises there are times you won’t walk away. Be aware of your surrounds especially on the job in and around hazardous equipment and ALWAYS wear your hard hat!