PPE testing is critical to ensuring the safety of any equipment designed to protect workers and community members.
When workers are exposed to dangerous situations, companies have the legal and, more importantly, the moral obligation to protect their workers to the highest standard. There are many industries in which workers require such personal protective equipment (PPE).
Also, there is equipment for the general public that requires rigorous compliance to the most current standards.
• Healthcare and Pharmaceutical
• Gas and oil
• Emergency Responders
• Sports Activities – baseball, football, hockey
• Playground equipment
All of this equipment must comply with safety regulations, but it should also be comfortable for every individual to perform the work task or to engage in a preferred activity.
It is essential to consult with your staff to determine if the equipment you will purchase is suitable. Often there are choices of different types of equipment. Keeping your workers comfortable will help them to perform to their potential.
Similarly, sports teams or individuals need to be mindful of the appropriate safety gear for their chosen endeavor. Personal safety is of utmost importance.
How Do You Know that the Equipment is Up to Standard? PPE Testing
In most jurisdictions of the world, PPE has to comply with rigorous standards. Testing of the equipment validates its integrity so that certification can be obtained. Certification qualification has several different aspects.
a) Impact Protection – Testing and Certification
The safety equipment must be designed to protect individuals from objects that could fall on them or be thrown at them. The PPE must also protect the individual if he or she falls to the ground or is pushed into a hard object. Testing to prescribed standards and certification is required before the equipment can be identified as approved. Typically, the equipment tested is a range of helmets for both industrial and sports activities and body gear such as elbow pads or shin guards.
b) Respiratory Protection – Testing and Certification
State of the art test rigs ensure that the products are tested to the highest standards.
Respiratory equipment is tested for:
• Breathing resistance
• Penetration through filters
• Carbon dioxide build-up
• Clogging by dust particles
• Extent of the field of vision
The respiratory safety equipment is critical for maintaining a safety net for the workers involved with dangerous chemicals or in a chemical mishap at the workplace.
c) Hearing Safety Equipment – Testing and Certification
The decibel rating for an acceptable level of noise varies with the activity or situation and can range from 80 to 87 decibels or higher. All ear protection must be tested including ear muffs and ear plugs.
d) Eye Protection – Testing and Certification
There are testing procedures for many different types of eye protection such as personal eye protection, various filters, mesh screen protection and eye protection for sports.
What Type of PPE Needs to be Tested?
Personal Protective Equipment is needed in the workplace and for a myriad of leisure activities. Some of the common circumstances for this type of equipment include:
• Athletic Equipment: Of course, our professional athletes demand excellent safety gear. But many community members of all ages depend on safety testing to keep them protected for vigorous, leisure activities. There is the obvious testing of sports equipment but such items as playground items and track and field equipment also need to meet safety standards too.
• Ballistic Resistance Testing: Emergency responders, military personnel and others can be required to step into dangerous situations. It is paramount that they have the best equipment available.
• Fall Protection: There are two different aspects of fall protection. First, there is the equipment that protects you if you do fall, and then there are the harnesses that prevent falls whether you are at work or climbing for pleasure.
• Protect Clothing and other Wearable Items: Often clothing needs to be highly visible, fire resistant, impervious to rain, flexible and comfortable. Testing procedures cover all of these aspects.
• Safety Footwear: Safety regulated footwear is required by many industries. Testing from a competent facility protects many people from accidents at work. The extensive methods include testing for rips, tears, and penetration, good grip, hot and cold parameters, and ergonomic qualities.
• Biological and Chemical Resistance: Some workers are exposed to the potential of harmful chemicals on a daily basis. Their health depends on the strict safety standards in combination with rigorous testing procedures. The situations include chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear job placements.
Unfortunately, in today’s marketplace, there is PPE equipment for sale that resembles the thoroughly test equipment from a credible source, but the counterfeit material is substandard. With safety concerns, there should be no reason for doubt about the quality of the equipment. In the event of any incident in which workers might be hurt, it is vital to have all of the safety precautions in place to avoid large insurance or legal claims. Representatives from reputable companies are available to advise anyone who has questions about the validity of their protective gear.
The Changing Safety Standards for PPE Testing
As the standards change, so will the guidelines for the professional safety standard companies. Progress and change are inevitable. Keeping informed of the industry regulations is critical to providing suitable testing for PPE items. The flow of the latest safety information needs to be channeled throughout the sector to reinforce compliance at all times for all situations. Industry leaders make it their prime objective to monitor the latest regulatory upgrades and then they do inform their clients of the new practices.
Added Value for the Industry
PPE testing companies can also be a source of knowledge for industry participants. It is unquestionable that at times the regulations can be confusing, especially for smaller firms or companies that are just entering this sector. The PPE testing companies are well positioned to provide the latest information to guide decisions about safety. For example, a representative from a PPE testing facility can evaluate your existing equipment or suggest sources for compliant equipment for the varied situations that demand personal protection.