3 July 2020,

Individuals are not perfect and infrequently make mistakes. We take shortcuts, neglect easy methods to do things, or turn into distracted at occasions once we shouldn’t. In most aspects of our lives, these should not things that have dire consequences. At work, nonetheless, surrounded by hazards, these types of mistakes can alter lives, even finish them. So, even though human beings aren’t perfect, we need to make our safety programs as near perfect as we can.

PPE Focus: Face Shields

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is a side of safety where individuals tend to make many errors, and for a wide range of reasons. Often, we think that the mere wearing of PPE makes us immune to injury. With as a lot emphasis as we place on eye protection and head protection, can we lose sight (no pun meant) of protecting our faces? Certainly, eye protection is essential, since eye injuries can lead to permanent blindness. Equally necessary is head protection, preventing deadly head accidents the most effective that we can. Face accidents could not seem as significant a priority. They don’t have the immediate, everlasting, and potentially fatal penalties of the others. With that said, though, an employer’s responsibility is to protect all components of their workers, including their faces.

That duty contains identifying tasks the place face shields needs to be used, providing face shields for employees to use, training them to use face shields correctly, and to appropriate workers when face shields are used incorrectly or not used at all. The first elements are easy. Our staff will make mistakes. Correcting those errors and implementing your organization’s face shield requirements is an essential part of an effective PPE program. Unfortunately, too usually, this aspect of the PPE program is not enforced until after an employee is injured.

Situations to Use Face Shields

Consider the following situations the place face shields ought to have been used, and the results for the injured workers and their employers.

An employee was filling ammonia nurse tanks from a bulk plant. The employee was distracted while closing the valves, and mistakenly turned the improper valve, inflicting a pressure release within the line. The release of anhydrous ammonia splashed on the employee’s face. The employee was hospitalized for chemical burns on and around the face.

An worker was putting in a water pipe at a multifamily residential building project. The worker initially was operating an excavator, then climbed down from the excavator to cut a ten-inch water pipe with a minimize-off saw. The noticed kicked back and struck the employee’s face. Co-workers called emergency providers, who transported the employee to the hospital. The employee was admitted to the hospital and treated for facial lacerations that extended from underneath the left eye to underneath the jaw.

Within the first state of affairs, the worker suffered critical chemical burns. A face shield would have significantly reduced the chemical exposure, the extent of the chemical burns, and probably might have prevented any ammonia from splashing on the worker’s face. Yes, the worker turned the incorrect valve, but does that imply that the employer is absolved of all responsibility for this incident? In fact not. The actual fact stays that the employer ought to provide employees filling ammonia nurse tanks with face shields, train staff to use the face shields correctly, and require them to make use of them when performing this task. Then they need to frequently and persistently enforce the face shield requirements. Doing so would have provided additional protection to the employee, even from the effects of the worker’s own actions.

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