Personal protective equipment is one of the most overlooked part of safe operation. Without proper PPE, the equipment may be damaged, or the operators could be exposed to severe injuries. That’s why every operator needs to ensure they’re using the right PPE before they start working with their equipment. For new operators, it can be difficult to know what PPE is required for what equipment. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of 5 important PPE pieces that should be used regardless of the equipment. When these items are used operators can greatly reduce the risk of safety incidents.
When working with a forklift, telehandler, or any other large machine, visibility is one of the most important things! If dust, debris, or fluids get into an operator’s eyes, vision is immediately compromised, and safety goes out the window. Without proper visions, the chance of accidental collisions with shelves, materials, other equipment, or even personnel greatly increase. That’s why it’s important to make sure every operator is wearing proper eye protection. This could mean anything from safety goggles, corrective lenses, or glasses that go over existing eye ware. Proper eye protection keeps everyone safe without compromising vision, so wearing some is a no brainer!
Regardless of the application or where you’re working, a hard hat is typically required for all on-site personnel. This is especially important for operations where you’re dealing with high shelves, multiple levels, and moving materials. Even though most equipment is designed to protect the operator from falling materials, a hard had should still be worn incase any unexpected incidents occur. A hard hat can also protect the operator in the event of something like a tip-over. If you’re equipment is not designed to protect the operator from falling materials, a hard hat is going to be even more important to use.
When you’re operating heavy equipment and hauling heavy materials, steel-toed boots could be the difference between going home with a broken foot or going home with a sore toe. Having a proper pair of steel-toed boots help mitigate both foot and toe injuries that may be caused by heavy equipment or materials. Many operations offer reimbursement options for steel-toed booted, so there’s no excuse to not have pair!
There are many different fluids, oils, and other substances required to operate a forklift, telehandler, MEWP or any other types of equipment. If these fluids come into contact with skin for an extended period of time, it can cause significant irritation or corrosion. After maintenance, some of these fluids can be mistakenly transferred to equipment controls, making them slippery. Operators can safely manage their equipment while reducing the risk of fluid contact with their skin by using high-grip gloves. Gloves can also protect the hands of the operator from the weather, making them perfect for colder climates. Many gloves on the market are “high-dexterity”, meaning they provide protection without sacrificing precision movement. Gloves provide a variety of safety benefits without sacrificing productivity and comfort.
One of the most important pieces of PPE is high-visibility clothing. Every member of any operation should be wearing high-visibility clothing as it makes it easier for operators to spot other personnel. In fast-paced environments with narrow aisles, being seen can save you from a serious injury.