Health and safety at work
There are plenty of stories in the media along the lines of ‘health and safety gone mad’ which highlight sometimes strange and petty restrictions that are supposedly put in place by various regulatory bodies.
In fact, many of these often turn out to be urban myths and even the ones that are true are individual cases where special conditions apply. The simple fact is that because of health and safety practices in the workplace there are now far fewer accidents suffered by employees than there used to be.
In the past, many jobs were quite risky and often the safety of workers was neglected in the race to make a profit. Thankfully there have been laws which govern workers rights for many years now and amongst these are many aimed at making sure everybody has a safe working environment.
Even so, there are still many professions which are inherently dangerous. This can sometimes be due to handling hazardous materials as part of the work. In these cases there are usually guidelines about special clothing and equipment which can reduce any risks.
In other cases it can be the location of the work that makes it dangerous, such as when teams of workers are repairing major roads or railways. Today there is a wide range of hi-vis vests and other clothing which is specially designed to make sure workers are seen by others who can then take the appropriate actions to avoid them. Some workplaces must provide this equipment and clothing as standard – others choose to do so in order to increase the security of their workforce.
It isn’t just the need to be seen that can impact on the safety of some jobs and other more types of protective clothing can fulfil a number of different uses. Sturdy gloves and boots can be useful to those involved in manual work while thermal and insulating clothing offers protection against the elements for anyone whose job is based outdoors.
Of course it isn’t just protection against the weather and physical scrapes and knocks that is needed. For many, noise can be a problem and extended exposure to high volume levels can cause permanent damage to your hearing. Ear protectors which cut out high decibel levels can be extremely important for those working in industries such as aeronautics as well as on construction sites where machinery can be responsible for high levels of noise disturbance.
All taken together, choosing the right protective clothing and accessories for the job in hand plays an essential role in modern workplace health and safety regimes and is collectively known as PPE – Personal Protective Equipment. Both employers and employees should be aware of their rights surrounding PPE and invest in the relevant clothing and equipment, ensuring it is well maintained and checked regularly with replacements made when necessary.