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Safety Gear Must Be Worn Correctly For It To Be Safe

December 10, 2012 General Safety
Fall Protection, PPE, Respirator, safety equipment, Self Retracting Lifeline, SRL

Once you are in the safety business, you start to notice things other folks wouldn’t. Our offices are located in a fairly industrial part of town near a boat repair facility. Along with the workers who are using personal protective equipment (PPE) correctly, I constantly see people misusing their safety equipment.

N95 Disposable Respirator for Workers

For instance, there’s a guy who uses a Genie lift near us all the time. He is always wearing a harness, but it’s so loose he would come right out if he ever fell. But that won’t really matter. He is attached to the lift with a shock-absorbing lanyard that needs 18.5 ft. of fall clearance. If he ever falls, even if the harness stays on, the lanyard won’t even begin to slow his descent before he greets the concrete below. That lanyard would work with the proper fall clearance. But I’ve never seen him take it up that high, and he isn’t protected until he gets there.

A couple companies are making self-retracting lifelines specifically for use in aerial lift work platforms. DBI-SALA just came out with an SRL for a bucket truck or Genie lift that is also arc flash rated. Miller also makes a great kit for those working in lifts and cherry pickers that also comes with a harness and a convenient carry bag. The Miller Personal Fall Limiter Aerial Lift Kit is ideal for these kinds of situations, and require far less fall clearance than a standard shock-absorbing lanyard.

Another head-shaker are the respirators. In the picture above, the worker is at least wearing some kind of disposable respirator. This one looks like a 3M N95 mask. Not bad. The guy who was driving the machine the next day to lay the asphalt had a cloud of tar smoke around him. He couldn’t wear a respirator because he was also smoking as he was driving. That’s one thing about respirators. There just isn’t a good way to smoke while you are wearing one! Apparently the cloud of tar dust just wasn’t delivering the nicotine.

At the end of the day, you’ve got decide for yourself that the goal of safety is one worth pursuing. All the company-supplied safety PPE in the world won’t help if it’s not used correctly. Take the time to review the instructions that come with the equipment you use. And if it’s not available, look up the manual online, or contact us at PK Safety. We are happy to help.