Safety of human life in a production environment is associated with the risk assessment of technical systems and technologies. Scientific and technological progress introduce into practice technical means which meet the growing needs of a variety of people in their everyday life. The work environment is saturated with increasingly powerful technical systems and technologies which make human labor more productive and less severe in physical sense. In such a way, the development of technical novelties forces people to think about personal protective equipment (PPE) with more details. Thus, the main aim of this project is to discuss the needs for PPE and the ways how to protect workers in confined spaces.
Nowadays, there are many kinds of work or working conditions under which the worker can be injured or hurt by dangerous to his health influences. There are quite a few traumatic and dangerous for the health professions, where a person needs to know the precautions and safety measures to protect oneself from injury, so this topic is quite relevant in our time. There is no doubt that exactly protection of human health and environment are the most pressing issues of daily life.
For the acknowledgement of the previously stated information it is possible to say that, according to Berry (2011), various hazards always exist in every working place; they can be found in chemicals, sharp edges, noise or flying sparks (ingress of foreign bodies in eyes or skin), falling objects and a big majority of other potentially dangerous situations. It is a well-known fact that OSHA (The Occupational Safety and Health Administration) obliges employers to take care of their employees, to protect their physical and mental health from various workplace hazards that can cause harm or injury. In this case, the most effective way to protect workers from various workplace hazards is to use PPE in proper way.
PPE includes special devices and special clothing designed to protect people from environmental hazards. It will protect the worker against fire and heat, from the poisonous gases, corrosive liquids, electrocution, and even radiation. In such a way, we can state that PPE is used for the different needs and its use depends on the likely source of danger. Howie (2005) said that it becomes understandable that PPE also includes all types of equipment used to maintain and even increase individual safety while performing potentially hazardous tasks. For instance, speaking about various types of PPE we may think about lab coats and safety glasses, respirators and hard hats, gloves, or any equipment used to protect the worker against injury or illness. PPE can be divided into: protection of the body (head, hand, and foot protection), eye and face protection, respiratory protection. Also, it may include special medications.
Basing on the above presented facts and determining the needs for PPE it is possible to say that, in general sense, PPE protects the respiratory system, eyes, face and skin from exposure to vapors, aerosols, droplets, and agents, as well as from contaminated dust, pathogenic microbes and toxins. As a result, PPE must provide maximum security, and inconvenience associated with its use should be kept to a minimum. This is achieved by compliance with the instructions on its use, while the last regulate when, why and how to apply PPE, and how to take care of it for the purpose of to continue the term of its use.
Observing confined spaces, according to ‘A guide to working safely in confined spaces’ (2010), it is necessary to mention that this term refers to protection of labor and designates the spaces bounded on all sides, ins and outs of which are limited, and prevent rapid passage of workers and air exchange through them. For instance, it can be manholes, sewers, reservoirs, tunnels and various production tunnels, etc.
Confined spaces are dangerous for workers because limited replacement of air in them can accumulate toxic and explosive gases. Rusting, burning, decomposition and accumulation of heavy gases simply lead to reduced oxygen content, while a difficulty of going out there can not allow an employee to leave the confined space independently in a case of fire, worsening of health or injury. Therefore, people who work in confined spaces must comply with safety rules for the purpose of to protect their own health from possible hazards.
Answering the question how to protect workers in confined spaces, the first step is to provide ventilation of the space before starting the work there. The next step is to use special gas-measuring equipment and PPE for personal respiratory protection. In addition, it is no less important to wear protective clothing for body protection and other types of PPE depending on situation.
In conclusion, we have proved that the development of technical novelties forces people to think about personal protective equipment, and in this case the worker must not ignore the instructions and use PPE in ordinary conditions of work and during the work in confined spaces in proper way in order to avoid work-related injury.