8. Personal Protective Equipment

It takes guts to wear personal protective equipment. The first baseball catcher to wear a face mask was laughed out of the game. Fielders who wore mits were jeered by the crowds. Football helmets were worn only by “sissies.” Personal protective equipment has proven itself, and the people who use it are the smart ones – the ones who know the risks.

A crash helmet and seatbelt are mighty comforting when you’re zipping around an auto race track at 150 miles per hour.

A helmet, shoulder pads, and kidney pads make life a lot more enjoyable when you’re being cut down by a 275 pound tackle.

In a nursery/greenhouse operation it is smart to use personal protective equipment. Complaints about wearing personal protective equipment include excuses that it is uncomfortable or unnatural. But think how uncomfortable and unnatural a hearing aid or a glass eye would be.

Every worker should use the personal protective equipment which the operation recommends or furnishes. It is your responsibility to use the equipment properly by following the instructions on the package or carton. You are only cheating yourself if you wear the equipment improperly.

Do not use unapproved hearing protection, such as cotton, as ear plugs.

Disposable equipment may be wasted due to lack of care by employees. Use the equipment wisely and avoid waste so that the supplies will be available when needed. Dust masks are approved for a full shift’s use. Write your name on the mask and store it in a clean location so that it can be suitable for your use another time. Sponge rubber ear plugs can be kept clean in your pocket using the plastic wrapper. Think about first-aid equipment also. Most first-aid supplies are sealed in sanitary wrappers for individual dosages. If you use first-aid supplies, close the package and latch the first-aid box shut to keep dust and other contaminates out of the kit.

Gloves can protect your hands, particularly when handling heavy loads. However, their use presents a real danger if you forget to take them off when working around moving machinery.

Remember, failure to follow safety procedures properly or to pay attention to workplace safety could result in injury to you or your fellow workers.

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