Managing Safety Performance NewsFlash

Personal PROTECTIVE Equipment

Hardhat, safety glasses, gloves…..reflective vest: all are examples of PPE. 

Given that the first of those P’s in PPE is Personal, let’s make this personal:

  • What are they protecting you from?
  • How do they protect you?

The obvious answer to the first question – What are they protecting you from? – is harm. Specifically, the hardhat protects your head from harm; the glasses protect your eyes from harm; the gloves protect your hands from harm.

As to how each of those pieces of PPE – gloves, glasses, hardhat – protect you from harm, that’s obvious as well: when something’s about make contact with you, the PPE serves as your last line of defense. Yes there’s contact, but hopefully less harm – to you.

Why “hopefully”? Because that last line of defense is not failsafe. There is no guarantee your PPE will keep you from harm. On the other hand, choosing not to wear your PPE guarantees one thing: by the time you need it, it’ll be too late to put it on. 


Then there’s the reflective vest: What does the vest protect you from? How does it protect you?

Take the time to think about the questions, you’ll appreciate that a vest is an entirely different kind of Personal PROTECTIVE Equipment. That vest makes you more visible to others. When it does, it makes it less likely that some other person – and the equipment they might be operating – makes contact with you. 

A vest doesn’t lessen the harm; it works to prevent the harm from happening!

In other words, a vest “reduces risk.”

Paul Balmert
June 2021


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