What is PPE and what are its characteristics?
When we speak of PPE, we refer to any equipment intended to be worn or held by a worker for the purpose of protecting him/her against one or more risks that may threaten his/her safety or health at work. However, PPIs do not reduce the risk, but contribute to minimizing the consequences of that risk causing an accident at work.
It is essential that PPIs comply with the obligations imposed by the EC market, set out in Article 10 of RD 1407/1992 of 20 November (transposition of Directive 89/686/EEC of 21 December). Only those that guarantee the health and safety of the user without risking that of other people, domestic animals or goods may be imported and marketed.
Furthermore, PPE must be chosen in such a way as to ensure maximum protection with minimum discomfort to the wearer, so it is key to choose the size and design that suit the worker and his situation. Equipment must have respiratory protection, eye protection, gloves and protective clothing.
In what situations is a PPE used?
As previously mentioned, PPE acts as a "protective barrier" against occupational hazards, so it should only be used in cases where these hazards cannot be avoided or controlled by technical means of collective protection or work organization.
The importance of PPE in the face of the COVID-19 virus pandemic
According to the protocol of action of the Ministry of Health against the virus, individual protective equipment must be worn in the following cases:
- When taking clinical samples of the coronavirus
- When caring for or transferring investigational patients (probable or confirmed)
- When accessing the isolation room
The COVID-19 virus is mainly transmitted by airborne droplets and by direct contact with body fluids of infected people. Therefore, any person in the above situations should have the following equipment:
- Waterproof gown
- FFP2 type self-filtering mask or half-mask fitted with P2 particle filter
- Full frame eye protection