Hazards of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

While personal protective equipment is part of the job in some industries—face shields for welding—as a rule, it is considered a last-resort, temporary type of protection. For normal operations, first choice will always be given to eliminating the hazard in the environment rather than using PPE. This is called implementing engineering controls.
No single combination of protective equipment and clothing is capable of protecting against all hazards. Thus, PPE should be used in conjunction with other protective methods. The use of PPE can itself create significant worker hazards, such as heat stress, physical and psychological stress, and impaired vision, mobility, and communication.
In general, the greater the level of PPE protection, the greater are the associated risks. For any given situation, equipment and clothing should be selected that provide an adequate level of protection. Overprotection as well as under-protection can be hazardous and should be avoided.
Using PPE improperly or in a manner unsuited to its design and purpose is worse than using no protection at all. Without any protection, the worker knows he is vulnerable and perhaps, takes precautions. With some protection, the worker may rashly blunder into severe difficulty, thinking he is safe.

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