Share on:   facebook  twitter  linkedin fla 64  google-plus               it  en

Personal Protective Equipment: a barrier against biological risk

dispositivi protezione individuale smallPreserving workers’ health against risk hinges on protection and prevention. This comes with a priority scale, which is contained within the regulation as well: when risks cannot be avoided or reduced significantly by technical prevention measures, by collective protection or by changing work organisation, then Personal Protective Equipment shall be implemented (Legislative decree 81/2008)

 Personal Protective Equipment refers to any kind of equipment or accessory designed to be worn by worker to protect himself/herself from risks that could threaten his/her safety or health at work.
The effectiveness in terms of protection of the PPE has to be certified by the manufacturer by affixing the CE marking (compulsory since 31/12/94), as per legislative decree 475/92.
PPE are classified into three categories:
Category I – the design of this kind of PPE is simple. This kind of PPE protects workers from minor damage
Category III – the design of this kind of PPE is complex. This kind of PPE protects workers from risk of death or severe and permanent injury
Category II – all kinds of PPE that do not belong in the other two categories belong here.
As we know, biological agents can be transmitted in different ways: ingestion, inhalation, droplets, contact, inoculation and through carriers. PPE acts as some kind of armour that impedes these ways of transmission and protects us from infection.
Helmet and shield were not the only defence for Greek soldiers: safety during battle depended on the strategy adopted by their leader, the terrain on which they were fighting, how well they could together with their fellow soldiers, mental and physical condition, the latter being dependent on years of training...however, when a soldier was fighting one on one with the enemy, pelted on by Persian arrows, those two pieces of 'personal protective equipment' were essential.
As any kind of armour, these pieces of equipment need to be worn properly if we want to ensure real protection.
It is important to stress that the device in itself is not effective, unless the person who as to use it has been trained to use it properly, especially during the two most critical moments – putting it on and taking it off. If a device is not put on properly it will not work as a barrier; similarly, if it is not removed in the correct way, the person might be infected by the very same device.

 How does one choose the correct device to use? The first step consist in accurate risk assessment in order to choose the PPE device that best suits our purpose. There are no standard solutions: the right choice and use of a device is essential to ensure complete protection for workers.
PPE devices are classified into different categories on the basis of the body part they protect.
• PPE for the head, protecting against trauma, fall, the elements
• PPE for the hands, usually gloves, protecting against cuts, mechanical trauma, chemicals, biological agents, etc;
• PPE for the eyes, usually goggles, visors and screens, for those activities where splashes or contact with biological agents may be involved, etc.;
• PPE for the legs, usually protective footwear.
When two or more PPE devices are used at the same time, they should not clash with each other, i.e. one should not prevent or decrease the protection provided by the other.
Training the end users in the use of PPE devices is always crucial to prevention: users need to be made aware of risk and effectiveness of the devices and they should be properly trained.
This is yet another example of how safety can be achieved only if all the actors play their part in risk prevention. Therefore awareness, information and training become all the more important since even the device that offers the greatest form of protection becomes useless if it is not handled correctly.


The contents of this website are meant for professionals working in the healthcare sector.

Copyright: 2002-2018 Pikdare S.p.A. a company of MTD Medical Technology and Devices S.A. - C.F. e P.Iva 03690650134

| Note Legali | Privacy Policy | Cookie |