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PPE is the personal protective equipment that will protect the user against health or safety risks.The best practice advice for health and safety professionals and useful resources for further reading.

Why is PPE important?

In the hierarchy of risk control, PPE is considered to rank lowest and represent the option of last resort. It is only appropriate where the hazard in question cannot be totally removed or controlled in such a way that harm is unlikely (for example by isolating the hazard or reducing the risk at source to an acceptable level).

There are a number of reasons for this approach:

PPE protects only the person using it, whereas measures controlling the risk at source can protect everyone at the Theoretical maximum levels of protection are seldom achieved using PPE, and the real level of protection is difficult to assess (due to factors such as poor fit, or failure to wear it when required). Effective protection can only be achieved by equipment which is correctly fitted, maintained and properly used at all times;

PPE may restrict the wearer by limiting mobility, visibility or by requiring additional weight to be carried.

Use of PPE may alter employees’ perception of the hazards they are dealing with.

In this context of a last resort control measure, PPE is critically important as it is generally only used where other measures are insufficient and as such it plays a crucial role in preventing and reducing many occupational fatalities, injuries and diseases.

PPE in numbers

This infographic provides some key facts and figures:

Key changes

All organisations involved with the production, importation, supply, distribution, marketing and sale of PPE will have the same responsibilities as the manufacturer, including getting product approval, making sure it conforms to the Regulation and keeping technical files and records. This will level the playing field between manufacturers and importers, and mean that fewer low-specification and counterfeit products will get into the EU marketplace.

  • Change of categorisation from product related to risk related;
  • Change of classification for certain product categories; Hearing Protection, now categorized as ‘harmful noise’ (risk) is moving from category II to III.
  • EC Declaration of Conformity to be provided (or with a web link) with each product.
  • 5-year validity / expiry date for new EU Certificates.
  • Increased obligations on ‘economic operators’ – being the total supply chain, including manufacturers, importers and distributors.

    PPE will not satisfy the requirement that it is ‘suitable’ unless:
  • It is appropriate for the risks and the conditions at the place of work;
  • It takes account of ergonomic requirements and the state of health of the person who may wear it;
  • It is capable of fitting the wearer correctly (if necessary after adjustments within the design range);
  • So far as is reasonably practicable, it is effective to prevent or adequately control the risk, without increasing overall risk;
  • It complies with community directives applicable to the item (i.e. CE marked).

    The Regulations also require that:

  • Where more than one item of PPE is to be worn, that the items are compatible;
  • PPE is properly assessed before use to ensure it is suitable – to assess the risks which the PPE is to control, to evaluate the characteristics required of the PPE in order for it to be effective against the risks, and to check that the PPE selected has those characteristics;
  • PPE is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair (including replacement and cleaning as appropriate).
  • Appropriate accommodation is provided to store the PPE when it is not being used;
  • Employees are provided with instructions on the risks which the PPE will avoid or limit, the reason for using the PPE, how to use it safely and effectively, actions needed by the employee to keep it in good order eg cleaning, replacement, storage (such instruction must be comprehensible to the persons to whom it is provided);

    Employers take reasonable steps to ensure the PPE is used correctly by employees.

    Employees themselves also have duties to use the PPE in accordance with their training, report loss or defect and to store the PPE as instructed. The self-employed similarly have a duty to make full and proper use of PPE.

    The Regulations do not apply where there is other legislation with mandatory requirements for the provision and use of PPE in relation to specific hazards:

  • The Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002 (as amended).
  • The Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 (as amended).
  • The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.
  • The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (as amended)- The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 (as amended).

    Types of PPE

    Various types of PPE are available for use in the workplace. The Health and Safety Executive provides guidance and general information about types of PPE used in industry, but it doesn’t cover specialised and less-used items.

    Detailed information should be obtained from suppliers on these more specialised items. Potential users should be involved in the selection of equipment they will be expected to wear and if possible more than one model should be made available to them.

    The different types of PPE include:

  • Head and scalp protection;
  • Respiratory protection;
  • Eye protection;
  • Hearing protection;
  • Hand and arm protection;
  • Foot and leg protection;
  • Body protection;
  • Height and access protection.

    Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is legally defined as ‘all equipment (including clothing affording protection against the weather) which is intended to be worn or held by a person at work and which protects the user against one or more risks to their health or safety’.



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    Gas detection is an important part of health and safety. This article discusses the importance of gas detection in relation to identifying the nature and scale of any gas release, and how this applies to chemical incidents. It will look at the various hazards of gases such as asphyxiation, flammability and toxicity; and explain, through real life examples, why gas detection is necessary to avoid incidents or, at the very least, contain them.

    Hazardous nature of gases

    Firstly, it is important to understand which gases need to be considered during an incident and when they become dangerous – not all gases and vapours are equally hazardous. For instance, the air around us is composed of almost 80% nitrogen, which we breathe in every day, whereas we are always cautious around liquid nitrogen – so why the discrepancy between the two states? First, we should look at the chemical classification of these materials.

    The Globally Harmonised System (GHS) of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals provides a great level of consistency in classifying chemical hazards across the world. In the European Union, GHS has been adopted under European Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures (the CLP Regulation). NCEC’s emergency responders would tell you that, under CLP, the nitrogen present in air is not hazardous. Liquid nitrogen, on the other hand, which is stored at -196°C, could be dangerous.

    There have been instances where the dangers of liquid nitrogen were not understood correctly, leading to people suffering serious injuries. For example, NCEC often sees cases where bar staff have been making cocktails using liquid nitrogen and suffering injuries because they are unaware of the hazards of liquid nitrogen kept at extremely low temperatures.

    There is a visible cloud when liquid nitrogen is poured out, which is actually the water vapour in the surrounding air freezing and not the nitrogen itself. Nitrogen is a clear, colourless gas and the nitrogen gas cloud could be much further away than the visible cloud produced due to the water vapour freezing. This holds true for all gases, especially those used as refrigerants or for cryogenic purposes, where there will be a visible cloud due to the temperature at which the gas is stored.

    Asphyxiant nature of gases

    An example of the hazards of asphyxiant gases is highlighted by an incident at an orchard. Apples were being stored in a nitrogen chamber with an oxygen level of less than 1%, which keeps the apples in the best possible condition. Two members of staff were asked to retrieve some of the best apples from the back of the chamber. However, the first person collapsed while inside, as did his colleague when he tried to recover him. Unfortunately, both lost their lives. The company was fined and found guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act. Many gas manufacturers state that atmospheres under 10% oxygen can rapidly overwhelm individuals, resulting in unconsciousness without warning.

    This highlights the importance of having gas detection equipment on hand where oxygen levels are expected or have the potential to be low, ensuring the staff understand the hazards even when no hazard labels are apparent, and have appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) available.

    Flammable nature of gases

    Vapours can be more hazardous than gases especially when they arise from flammable liquids. Often, containers that hold flammable liquids continue to hold small amounts of the liquid or vapour after being emptied and should be cleaned and ventilated thoroughly before being used again. There have been several reports where people cut into steel drums that have held flammable liquids and fires erupt or, even worse, explosions occur. If there is only a small amount of liquid left in the base of a drum, why does this happen?

    All flammable liquids and gases have an explosive or flammable range – this is between the lower explosive limit (LEL) and the upper explosive limit (UEL). The minimum concentration of gas in air at which combustion could occur is the LEL. Below the LEL the mixture is too lean to burn. The maximum concentration of gas in air at which combustion could occur is the UEL. Above the UEL, the gas/air mixture is too rich to burn. The LEL and UEL of ethanol are 3.3% by volume and 19% by volume respectively, and for petrol the LEL and UEL are 1.4% by volume and 7.6% by volume respectively. The flammable range for ethanol and petrol are quite small and they require a larger ratio of air vs vapour to ignite. This is often the case with many flammable vapours, but not so much with gases. The difference between vapours and gases is that gases cannot be liquified by the application of pressure alone. Carbon monoxide (LEL 12.5% by volume and UEL 74% by volume) and acetylene (LEL 2.5% by volume and UEL 100% by volume) are both flammable and have large flammable ranges. Acetylene will ignite in almost every gas-to-air ratio, which in combination with oxygen makes it very useful in welding, but it is always sensible to understand the advice provided by the supplier to ensure safe practice can be undertaken.

    The increasing use of flammable gases including liquified petroleum gas (LPG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) means that we all need to better understand the hazards when they are being transported. Many vehicles are being converted to run on these gases and emergency services are learning to deal with these new technologies and the associated risks. For example, there have been cases where gas has filled the cabin of a vehicle due to faulty fuel tanks. The risk to the driver and passengers could be mitigated by installing a simple gas detector that would make the driver aware of the situation and enable appropriate action to be taken to deal with the gas. Unfortunately, we have recently had stark reminders of the power these flammable gases possess. For example, an LPG tanker travelling in Italy collided with a second truck that contained flammable solvents. The fire caused by the collision involving the flammable solvents started to heat the LPG tank and after around 8 minutes the LPG tank underwent a boiling liquid expanding vapour explosion (BLEVE). This BLEVE resulted in a section of the elevated motorway collapsing and significant damage to surrounding buildings. Unfortunately, two people were killed in the incident and over 130 injured, including 13 police officers.

    Other incidents involving LPG have occurred around the globe and these can often be attributed to poor knowledge of the hazards and unsafe workplace procedures. Many facilities handle these flammable gases in the correct manner without incident, but accidents happen. Understanding how to manage an incident is a critical part of working with hazardous materials. When such incidents do occur, well prepared sites with the correct equipment and well-trained staff know the correct procedures to follow. In one particular incident, a trailer park had 17 of its buildings burnt down due to an explosion at a nearby propane warehouse. Most of the staff at the warehouse had gone home and only the plant manager was left conducting an inventory when the fire started. Investigations into this case are still ongoing, but this highlights the need for emergency planning as required under the UK’s Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) or good risk management strategies such as the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) risk assessments. Please also note that when working with hazardous materials, working alone is not recommended especially when there are over 10,000 propane cylinders on site. In the UK, a site of this scale would be classified as a COMAH site (Seveso in Europe), which would legally require the operators to implement and, critically, test their emergency response and crisis management processes and policies. Even if a chemical or manufacturing site is not classified as a COMAH site, NCEC strongly advocates robust incident management guidelines and procedures are put in place and are well tested. Those nominated to lead responses to incidents should also be properly trained.

    Thankfully, most calls to NCEC are resolved in a timely manner. Our chemical experts are regularly contacted for chemical advice to help emergency services, as well as other users of chemicals during incidents including spills, fires and exposures. However, there are instances when large-scale incidents require advice for prolonged periods. In December 2005, we supported the fire and rescue service with advice during the Buncefield fire. This incident was caused by three separate automated systems failing one after another after staff had left the facility in, what they believed to be, a safe state. Buncefield was one of the main oil depots in the United Kingdom and one of the pipelines was left filling automatically, which filled a tank (number 912) at a rate of 550 cubic metres per hour.


    0 Comments | Posted in News Archive By Admin
    By Robert Avsec for FireRescue1 BrandFocusRead More
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    By James PrettyRead More
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    A harness is the means by which the user is safely connected to the rest of a fall protection system when working at height or near an edge where the potential for a fall exists. These systems can be thought of as a chain, with the anchor point at one end, a number of links in between, and the harness at the other end.

    There are many different kinds of safety measures which may be in place to keep workers at height safe, and any system requiring Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) will require a harness of some sort to be worn by the worker.

    The harness plays a vital role in preventing the user from hitting the ground if an accident were to occur, and it is the harness to which all other elements of the system such as lanyards and shock absorbers must be attached. Harness types All harnesses fulfil one basic requirement: to connect a user to a system, normally for either fall arrest, work positioning, restraint or rescue purposes. There are a number of different types of harness available for each of these purposes.

    At its most basic a harness will have at least one attachment point, for connection to a system, and will fit securely to the user. Harnesses can be “full-body”, with straps in the shoulder and thigh areas, and sometimes a waist belt; or they may cover only the lower half of the body (not to be used for fall arrest), consisting of a waist belt and thigh straps only. Full body harnesses are likely to be worn by construction workers or service personnel, where their work may require them to interact with and connect to a variety of safety systems, whereas lower body harnesses may be worn by arborists or recreational climbers who require greater freedom of movement when climbing.

    Attachment points for fall arrest are commonly located in the dorsal area of the harness, and the chest or sternum area.

    As well as having attachment points for fall arrest, harnesses may also have attachment points for work positioning or restraint lanyards – lanyards that limit the worker’s distance from an anchor point, or that wrap around some part of the user’s work area to keep them in place whilst they work. These points are usually located at the hips, and the back of the waist belt. Separate attachment points may also be provided to attach tools, or to “park” lanyards or other accessories when not in use, to prevent them becoming tangled with the wearer during use.

    For workers operating in confined areas, such as down manholes, or for marine applications where movement on and off vessels may be facilitated by means of overhead winches, an additional “rescue” attachment point may be provided. This usually consist of attachments on each shoulder of the harness that are connected together over the wearer’s head to the winch or rescue mechanism.

    Harnesses may be provided with a sit attachment – a connection point at the front of the waist belt that when fixed to a suitable lanyard, allows the user to lean back into a comfortable sitting position whilst working at height. All harnesses must keep a user safe, either in the event of a fall or keep them in the correct position to prevent a fall, and so the choice of harness and attachment point must be considered for each application.

    Harnesses for use in specialised environments are also produced; for example, marine or diving harnesses, as well as harnesses for firefighters and armed forces personnel. These have their own specific requirements in addition to the general safety requirements of harnesses.

    Testing harnesses

    There are a number of standards that specify the testing and performance requirements for harnesses.

    EN 361:2002 Full body harnesses

    The tests described in this standard must be carried out on each fall arrest attachment point on the harness, to ensure that each is fit for purpose and that the harness performs safely whichever point is used, dorsal, sternal or shoulder attachments.

    In addition to a design assessment, harnesses are subject to a dynamic drop test designed to simulate a worst-case fall scenario.

    The harness is fitted to a standard European fall-arrest torso dummy weighing 100kg, and connected to a suitable anchor via a 2m lanyard, made from 11mm dynamic mountaineering rope, and tied with bowline knots at either end. The dummy is then subjected to two, 4m free fall drops: once in a legs-first orientation, and once in a head-first orientation. Some adjustment of the harness between drops is allowed, but the same lanyard is used, and the second drop must be carried out within 15 minutes of the first drop.

    The harness must arrest the dummy’s fall and must maintain it in an upright position after the drop – within 50° of vertical.

    Each attachment point must also pass two static tests, where loads of 15kN and 10kN are applied in an upwards (towards the neck) and downwards (towards the floor) direction respectively. The harness must withstand these two tests for three minutes without releasing the torso dummy.

    In addition, any metallic elements of the harness must be tested for their resistance to corrosion, which is done by subjecting them to 24 hours in a salt corrosion machine in accordance with ISO 9227:2017.

    Positioning or Restraint

    This standard is used to test the waist belt attachment points which could be a separate belt or integrated into a full body harness. Similar to EN361 in its scope, this standard requires the harness to withstand a 1m dynamic drop when attached to one of the waist attachment points via a 1m lanyard.

    For the static testing, the harness is fitted to a metal cylinder, rather than the waist area of the dummy, and a static force of 15kN applied between the cylinder and the attachment point. Static loads are applied for three minutes. Metallic elements are also subjected to the same corrosion test as in EN 361:2002 but for 48 hours.

    EN 813:2008 Sit harnesses

    This standard is used to test the sit attachment point of a full body harness or the attachment of a lower body harness. One of the most important parts of the testing for this standard is an ergonomic assessment. Two wearers, meeting height and weight requirements, take it in turns to don the harness and are then suspended from the sit attachment point for just under four minutes. During this time they are asked a number of questions about their comfort, to establish that the harness is fit for purpose.

    Testing the attachment point on the front of the waist belt, the harness is then required to withstand a 2m dynamic drop test on a 1m lanyard. Although the standard 100kg torso dummy is normally used, if the manufacturer claims a maximum user weight greater than 100kg, then this larger mass should be used for the dynamic drops.

    A static test of at least 15kN (or ten times the maximum user weight) is also required, with the torso dummy anchored to the floor and the force applied upwards from the sit attachment point.

    Metallic elements are also subjected to the same corrosion test as in EN 361:2002, however the exposure time is increased to 48 hours with an hour break half way through. EN 1497:2007 Rescue harnesses This standard is used to test the rescue attachment points of a full body harness which could be specifically for rescue only or integrated into a harness for fall arrest. The testing requirements for harnesses claiming conformance to EN 1497 are very similar to those outlined in EN 361, with the addition of an ergonomic assessment, similar to that required for EN 813. Two ergonomic subjects are suspended in turn from the overhead rescue attachment points, and their opinion on the comfort of the harness is sought by means of a questionnaire.

    Dynamically, the harness is expected to withstand two 1m drops on a 2m lanyard, one after the other. As with EN 813, these tests are to be carried out on a dummy with mass equal to that of the maximum user weight.

    Afterwards a static test at 15kN, or ten times the maximum user weight is to be carried out.

    Metallic elements are also subjected to the same corrosion test as in EN 361:2002, however the exposure time is increased to 48 hours with an hour break half way through.

    EN 12277:2015 Mountaineering harnesses

    This standard is used to test harness specifically for mountaineering and consists of four types: adult full body harness (type A); child’s full body harness (type B); chest harness only (type C); lower harness (type D). If a type A harness can be split into a type C and D, then it must meet all requirements together and separately. The torso dummy on which the testing for this standard is to be carried out differs in shape and form from the torso dummy in EN 361: 2002, in that it is considerably more contoured, and has a more well-defined waist area.

    After a lengthy period of conditioning, during which the samples are dried at 50°C before being stored at 23°C and 50% rh, the harnesses are subject to a number of static tests. This standard does not incorporate any dynamic or drop tests.

    There are different requirements for each type of harness. Types A and B are tested on the torso dummy, whilst C type (waist belts) are tested on a metal cylinder. An initial static load of 800N is applied to the relevant attachment point (300N for type C), and the positions of buckles or other adjustment devices are noted before the load is increased to 15kN with the dummy in a head up orientation, and 10kN with the dummy in a head down orientation. Any damage to the harness is noted, as is any slippage of the adjustment devices.

    For all of the European standards mentioned above, a Notified Body (NB) would require a product to meet all the relevant standards before an EU type examination certificate can be issued, allowing the CE mark to be applied and sale into Europe. Fall protection is considered Category III under the European PPE Regulation 2016/425 and therefore is also subject to ongoing conformity assessment by a Notified Body.

    ANSI Z359.11-2014 Full body harnesses

    This standard incorporates testing of the majority of attachment points possible on harness into one document. All applicable clauses are required to undergo qualification (triplicate) testing before a product can be marked as compliant and verification testing at suitable intervals. Testing is carried out on an ANSI torso dummy which weighs 100kg and which is contoured with shoulders and defined bands and areas on the torso in which certain straps should sit when the harness is fitted. Instead of using a disposable rope lanyard, this standard requires a wire lanyard, terminated with swaged loop ends.

    For the dynamic testing required for this standard, rather than specifying a set freefall height for the drop, there is a force requirement. A load cell is positioned between the anchor point and the test lanyard, and this records force during the drop. The force should be 16kN. Any pass result where the force was under 16.0kN must be discounted as invalid, and failure above 17.7kN is also invalid.

    Dorsal and sternal fall arrest attachment points are to be dynamically tested in this manner.

    During the test, at least one of the fall arrest visual indicators fitted to the harness must permanently deploy, and after testing the torso dummy must remain safely suspended in the harness for five minutes. The final height of the dummy after this fiveminute suspension is also recorded, and is then subtracted from its starting position in order to establish the degree of stretch/elongation in the harness. As in EN361, the angle of the torso dummy at rest is important and must not exceed 30° from vertical.

    A static test must also be carried out on these attachment points, applying a force of 16kN for one minute. There must be no tearing of straps, and slippage through buckles must be less than 25mm.

    Lanyard parking attachment points should be so designed that if a lanyard clipped to them is caught on something, the lanyard attachment point itself should break to minimise the risk of entanglement. Correspondingly, a static test on each lanyard parking attachment point is carried out to establish its breaking strength, which must be no more than 0.5kN.

    Shoulder attachments for rescue and retrieval purposes, waist rear attachments for work restraint and hip attachments to be used as a pair for work positioning all need to be tested with a static test of 16kN for one minute, without tearing, and with a maximum slippage through adjustment buckles of 25mm.

    AS/NZS 1891.1

    This standard is the Australian/New Zealand equivalent of the European standards EN 361: 2002, EN 358: 1999 and EN 813: 2008 with a few key differences. For the fall arrest attachment points the dynamic test is carried out using the same test dummy as in EN 361 which is dropped feet first, followed by head first on the same harness. The difference is the 12mm diameter three-strand polyester hawser-laid reference lanyard.

    The dynamic testing on the waist belt attachment is also different in that the test is done using a work positioning lanyard as specified by the manufacturer, attached to both points and wrapped around the anchorage point. This way both are tested together to show compatibility in the event of a shock load.

    The other main difference in this standard is that all webbing shall be tested for UV degradation. This involves static strength testing to breaking point of new webbing and UV exposed webbing to see how the exposure has affected the overall strength. The UV samples should retain at least 70% of the breaking strength that the unexposed samples demonstrated.


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    One of the best things about being involved with safety is seeing the innovation that’s happening every day. Conducting arc flash testing and incident investigations, as well as working with committees such as NFPA 70E, CSA Z462, ASTM and IEC, provides insight into changes in personal protective equipment and standards that are benefiting workers. Here are some of the newest PPE and work practice changes.

    Distance devices for testing electrical circuits

    Many companies are making and marketing devices for proximity testing and direct testing of electrical circuits to allow workers doing troubleshooting and verification tests to stand outside the arc flash boundary. This can lower the risk of an event, incident energy and the amount of PPE needed for some common tasks.

    Remote operation devices for electrical circuits

    Electrical operators frequently work with circuits that have the potential to fail. Although failures are infrequent, PPE is often needed when doing a risk assessment. Normal operation is allowed with no PPE when the equipment presents a low risk of injury, is properly maintained and installed, and shows no sign of impending failure. This is a difficult decision when the arc flash label indicates PPE is required to work with the equipment, and it’s impossible when proper maintenance is not being done – which is frequently the case.

    Arc-rated rubber insulating gloves and protector gloves

    ASTM F2675-19 was recently published, and the restriction against rating ASTM F696 protector gloves and D120 rubber insulating gloves has been removed. A proposed ASTM standard for arc-rated protector gloves using materials other than leather is working its way through committee, and these two innovations could truly change the end user experience for industrial electricians.

    Colorless arc flash faceshields

    New nanotechnology and other dyeing technologies for polycarbonates have resulted in the two largest manufacturers of arc-rated faceshields now offering colorless arc flash shields up to 100 cal/cm² in hoods and up to 20 cal/cm² in faceshields. The new colorless technologies are just as arc-protective as the old technologies, and they solve the problem of color perception when identifying wire colors through colored shields.

    Vented and lift-front arc flash faceshields

    New venting technologies (thermodynamically designed slits) and lift-front designs make using arc flash faceshields and arc flash shields more comfortable. Venting and newer antifogging technology help solve the issue of fogging – especially in cold and hot extremes, when these problems are most apparent. When workers are in hoods for extended periods, fan technology can make a huge difference in comfort, oxygen availability in the hood and fogging. These technological features make a difference in worker comfort. Some burns occur when workers remove hoods to see. Raising the visibility with better shields and extra lighting make the need to remove PPE less likely, better protecting workers.

    Lighter-weight arc flash suits

    Older arc flash suits weigh around 20 pounds, excluding the hood system. New suits can be less than 11 pounds for 100 cal/cm² systems and 5 pounds for 40 cal/cm² systems. Lighter weights and easier respiration make the worker more likely to wear the suit when needed.

    Innovative arc flash kit providers

    New kit providers are now offering high-end suits, gloves and other PPE in their kits. Lighter-weight suits, fan-cooled hoods and cooling suits are now more common. Kits are 8, 12, 20, 40 and 100 cal/cm², making it easy to outfit the infrequent user or the traveling user.

    If your PPE isn’t state of the art and needs to be used frequently, consider an upgrade to a newer system.


    Comments | Posted in News Archive By Admin
    Choices in hand protection have grown significantly during the past 30 years.

    How often do you think about your hands? Typically, our hands are an afterthought to our daily routines, especially when it comes to protecting them. But could you easily go about your daily tasks without the use or even limited use of your hands? Most of us could not, but more importantly, none of us want to find out.

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data for 2016, of all nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses involving days away from work, 13 percent were for hand injuries. And 20 percent of disabling workplace injuries involve hands.

    Taking a closer look at the data, we see nearly 70 percent of hand injuries occur because the worker was not wearing gloves. What does that mean for the other 30 percent? It may mean they were wearing the wrong gloves. As odd as it may seem, wearing the wrong gloves can be just as dangerous as wearing no gloves at all. Clearly, there is room for improvement when it comes to protecting workers' hands.

    There are thousands of different styles and types of gloves and more than a handful of new and updated standards addressing hand protection. With all these choices and new and updated standards to review, it's no wonder many people find it difficult to choose the correct hand protection.

    First, Understand All of the Potential Hazards

    There are numerous things to consider when choosing hand protection. Questions such as "What cut level do you need?" "Do you need impact protection?" and "What happens to the gloves if they’re exposed to high heat or a short-duration fire?" are all a good place to start.

    This is where a job task analysis can be critical. Thoroughly understanding the task that needs to be done and all hazards associated with that task are critical to choosing the correct hand protection.

    A job task analysis should start with the worker or safety manager (preferably both) taking time to understand all of the possible hazards associated with the task. It is helpful to have a certified industrial hygienist brought in to assist with the analysis. Sometimes, it's beneficial to involve an employee who performs different tasks to gain perspective from someone who has not become complacent to the potential hazards of the task being evaluated.

    Taking time to acknowledge all of the potential hazards and gain the information needed to make an informed decision about choosing the correct personal protective equipment, including hand protection, often can save a worker from a serious injury, or even potential death, and should always be a critical component of any safety culture.

    Second, Understand the Different Standards

    After determining the possible hazards associated with the task, the next step is to understand which standard or standards apply and which one you are referencing so that you can make an informed decision when choosing hand protection.

    This can be a daunting task because existing standards are regularly being updated and new standards are being issued. It's an important, and often difficult, responsibility to stay informed about all the changes in standards. Consider the fact that within just the past year, two PPE standards have been updated with changes that affect glove testing and classification; and one new glove standard will be issued later this year. These are in addition to the major changes that the industry saw in 2016 when the ANSI/ISEA 105-2016 handbook was issued.

    Consulting with an expert who can help you navigate new and updated standards can be invaluable.

    Holding Gloves to the Same Standard: Changes to NFPA 2112

    In 2018, NFPA 2112, Standard on Flame-Resistant Clothing for Protection of Industrial Personnel Against Short-Duration Thermal Exposures from Fire, was updated to also include items such as balaclavas, hoods, and gloves. Some think of NFPA 2112 as the "thermal manikin standard," but this standard contains many more test methods. In fact, gloves are not even covered under the thermal manikin test.

    Gloves are covered under three other test methods:

  • heat transfer performance test to determine how gloves would react to a combined convective and radiant heat source
  • right-angle test to determine flame resistance of the material
  • heat transfer test (oven test) to determine shrinkage in a hot air environment

    Testing Gloves for Impact Protection with Changes to ANSI/ISEA 138

    The International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) has issued a new standard in 2019 enabling workers to determine the impact protection of gloves (ANSI/ISEA 138, American national standard for performance and classification for impact
    resistant hand protection).



  • 0 Comments | Posted in News Archive By Admin
    What are some considerations that are often overlooked?

    Particularly in the utility and electrical maintenance industries, using daily wear AR/FR garments can provide many safety benefits to employers and workers. By offering consistent protection in a less-cumbersome manner, which can ultimately help mitigate catastrophic burn injuries, incorporating daily wear AR/FR garments can increase the effectiveness of an organization’s safety program because it helps lessen the consequences of human error.

    That said, utility workers and electricians can sometimes fall into a pattern of complacency in the wear and care of their daily wear AR/FR garments. AR/FR garments must be worn – and worn correctly – to achieve maximum protection in the event of an arc flash.

    We share three common instances in which improper wear may come into play, which can help you while reviewing or implementing your own daily wear AR/FR program.

    1. Focusing on appearance. The appeal of daily wear AR/FR garments is partly attributed to its ability to mirror streetwear. Advances in AR/FR fabrics allow these garments to be almost indistinguishable from non-FR 
garments. Workers appreciate the fit and comfort of what traditionally could be an ill-fitting, uncomfortable protection garment. However, fit requirements do exist, as shared by the garment manufacturer or dictated by consensus standards. For example, long-sleeved shirts can’t be rolled up, shirts must be tucked in, and buttons and collars must be fastened and laying appropriately. Following these rules not only ensures compliance, it can make the difference when facing life-threatening injuries.

    2. Disregarding care instructions. Provided that you source a trusted, reputable AR/FR fabric for your AR/FR garment, its short-term thermal exposure protection properties can’t be “washed out.” It’s key, however, that the garment is properly cared for and fully intact for performance to be the same on the first day as on the 1,001st day. This includes cleaning your garments. Although many garments can be laundered at home, no bleach, fabric softener, starch or antistatic dryer sheets should be used. When in doubt, following the manufacturer’s care instructions will safeguard the garment’s protective characteristics.

    3. Overemphasizing comfort. The advances in AR/FR fabrics – increased mobility and breathability, for example – encourage a “want-to-wear” experience, which is helpful in promoting the use of daily AR/FR garments. However, it’s important to temper the emphasis on comfort with the parameters of AR/FR garment performance. For example, during the summer, a worker may want to wear a non-FR base layer to help stay cool. NFPA 70E has specific guidelines regarding base layer use – flammable but non-melting textiles may be used if appropriate AR garments cover the non-FR base layer entirely. A similar situation is rolling up long-sleeved shirts because it’s cooler, which directly affects the garment’s protective abilities. All comfort measures must adhere to the manufacturer’s usage guidelines and the consensus standards.


    Comments | Posted in News Archive By Admin
    The key ingredient when working at heights is to not start work until it is safe to do so and create a workplace where your employees feel free to speak up if they feel the right controls are not in place.

    As a safety professional, how often have you observed someone working at heights who is not properly protected from a fall? Before approaching the individual, it is important to think about the conversation you are about to have to alert them of the hazard. This conversation is critical to achieve a successful outcome. More importantly, the safety culture that exists in your organization will have a huge impact on the outcome of that conversation and whether it will be received in positive or negative manner. Does your company have a culture that is receptive to both giving and receiving coaching in a respectful manner?

    The statistics are a stark reminder that there is a need for change in how the industry views fall protection. Researchers from the NIOSH Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation Program1 found that between 1982 and 2015, 42 percent of fatalities were related to fall incidents in the construction industry. Of those fatalities, 54 percent had no access to fall protection equipment and 23 percent had access but chose not to use it. Twenty percent of the worker deaths that occurred in that span were in their first two months on the job.

    Change can only begin when you manage the safety culture existing in your organization. While it is understood that there are regulations that govern workplace safety, it is important to recognize that compliance is not a control to create safe work. The best way to create safe work is to manage controls, which is accomplished by changing to a culture that understands safety begins with you. The "safety cop" mentality is counterproductive in trying to instill a positive safety culture. Culture shifts begin when the workforce understands that safety is a personal choice rather than a condition of employment. Having this mindset is a critical component to employees protecting themselves from falls and other incidents.

    Changing the way workers view fall prevention starts by having a focus on safe work practices. When working at heights, begin by having employees perform a thorough Job Safety Assessment (JSA) and identify hazards associated with the job they will be doing. This includes understanding what fall protection equipment is needed and having the training on how to use it properly. Without the necessary equipment and hazard recognition training, workers are at an immediate disadvantage and are more likely to perform unsafe work.

    In the unfortunate circumstance that a fall incident occurs, rather than point blame at the worker, focus efforts on what may have failed him or her. Sometimes employers decide to discipline the worker, and in some cases, the employee is terminated because he failed to follow safe working procedures. Certain instances do require this course of action when safety rules are intentionally not followed, but an opportunity to gather critical information is missed when the individual who was involved in the safety infraction is not included in the incident investigation. Remember, the ultimate goal is to prevent a similar incident from occurring again. Allowing the involved individual to take ownership of the incident investigation often provides useful data that can lead to safer work practices.

    Focus on 'What,' Not 'Who' Focusing on "what" failed a worker during a fall safety incident is important in order to create a culture in which employees feel safe reporting incidences or near hits, leading to safer work. Often, incident investigations only focus on the "who," pointing blame on why someone didn't follow safety protocols. However, the most important thing an organization needs to focus on are the precursors existing in the workplace that may be causing workers to be unsafe.

    Time pressure, lack of safety training, complacency, and fatigue are often some of the key factors that can lead to accidents. Having a continuous improvement mindset on how to mitigate these common factors is vital in creating a safe work environment.

    The key ingredient when working at heights is to not start work until it is safe to do so and create a workplace where your employees feel free to speak up if they feel the right controls are not in place. Have employees take the time to assess the job and ask themselves these questions:

  • "Do I have a good understanding of the task at hand?"
  • "Do I have the right safety training to perform the work?"
  • "Am I the best person to do the job?"
  • "Am I empowered to stop the job if something doesn't feel right or look right?"
  • "Do I have the right safety equipment and a good understanding of the hazards associated with the work before I start?"

    Employers have an enormous responsibility when it comes to creating a safe workplace. They are required to provide a place of employment that is "free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm," as stated in the General Duty Clause of the OSHA Act of 1970.

    Creating a safe workplace is a two-pronged approach. Safety starts with the top leadership of an organization leading by example, not merely being spectators while expecting workers to work safely, but rather they must be visible, engaged with the work, and be active participants in promoting safety. The second and most critical factor for safety is to have the authority to stop work. Stop work authority is central for establishing a safe workplace. Many fall incidents are prevented when individuals know that they can stop the job at any time if they feel that the work is unsafe to perform.

    Employers must understand that fall prevention is much more than compliance. Fall prevention is a team effort that requires all forms of leadership to each have a stake in the process to prevent incidents. The way to do that is to get involved. Show interest in your personal safety and the safety of others. Train employees to understand that safety is their personal responsibility. Have everyone get involved in improving safety in the workplace, from the top down. By doing so, you will see a positive change in your safety culture that could lead to fewer safety incidents.

    Atlas Field Services (AFS) has been a vital partner for a public utility company in California in the implementation of its Essential Controls program for vegetation management. The program is built on the premise of "never start a job if controls are not present." The tool was developed for the workers by the workers to use in the field prior to starting work. The controls are broken down by five focus areas when felling a tree, working aloft, performing an uncontrolled drop/controlled drop, and working near high-powered lines. Each control contains thought-provoking questions that are designed to be put into place prior to starting work. If all controls are not present, then work is not started. AFS field safety consultants work closely with the utility and the vegetation management contractors to ensure the tool is being utilized in the field. The consultants also perform safety observations of the work, document their findings, and provide coaching and guidance to the contractors to ensure that safe work is created. This partnership has improved worker safety in the field in a high-risk industry by ensuring that tree workers get a safe start to perform work.



  • https://ohsonline.com/Articles/2019/06/01/Fall-Prevention-Compliance-is-Not-a-Control.aspx?admgarea=ht.FallProtection&Page=1
    Comments | Posted in News Archive By Admin
    Industry leaders in HSE met in Dubai for a series of talks on how digitalisation, and keeping workers connected, can bridge the safety gap for oil and gas companies. Click through gallery for the names and titles of participants

    Roundtable participants

    Miroslav Kafedzhiev:

    VP and general manager, Middle East, Russia, Turkey, Africa, Honeywell Safety and Productivity Solutions (panel co-chairman)

    Abdullatif Albitawi:

    UAE branch treasurer, IIRSM

    Alex George

    : Corporate HSE director, China State Construction Engineering Corporation

    Ephraim Ebodaghe:

    HSE director, Dragon Oil

    Irfan Syed:

    Product marketing leader, Middle East, Russia, Turkey, Africa, Honeywell Safety and Productivity Solutions

    Kaushik Roy:

    Head of risk management advisory, Middle East, DNV GL

    Mahmoud Sofrata:

    Sales director, Middle East, Russia, Turkey, Africa, Honeywell Industrial Safety

    Mike Sutherland:

    Vice president, Offshore Operations, McDermott

    Moheeb Obaid:

    HSE manager offshore, ADNOC Drilling Moderated and co-chaired by Carla Sertin, editor, Oil & Gas Middle East


    When we talk about a “connected worker”, we are talking about a connected, digital, safety solution that integrates smart, wearable sensors with a cloud-based software platform. It represents a new era of safety for workers.

  • What we are talking about here is the critical importance of the human element. If a worker is properly educated and trained, safety improvements can be expected.

  • Leveraging digitalisation for the sake of it, however, is not the answer. There should be clear health, safety and productivity benefits to implementing digital technology.

  • Organisations need to feel confident that their systems can be fully secured when considering investments in connected digital technologies.

  • As the industry continues to evolve and digitisation becomes more widespread, the way we provide safety solutions is changing, too. Providing safety as a service, rather than products, is increasingly gaining traction



  • Comments | Posted in News Archive By Admin
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