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PPE compliance, occupational asthma and musculoskeletal disorder

It should never be assumed that all workers wear their personal protective equipment (PPE) 100% of the time, or even the majority of the time. One of the reasons cited for this is that PPE can sometimes be uncomfortable. As well as leading to PPE not being worn when it should, discomfort can also mean it gets moved, readjusted or worn incorrectly. Few workers would actively want to wear equipment which is too tight, makes breathing difficult, or irritates the skin, for an entire shift, so it is necessary for employers to take steps to improve PPE compliance.

Asthma is a very serious health problem that can ruin lives. Breathing in certain dusts, gases, fumes and vapours within the workplace can cause asthma. Shortness of breath, wheezing and painful coughing are just some of the symptoms that occupational asthma sufferers may have to deal with every day. Some sufferers are unable to work. However, there are many things an employer can do to reduce the risk of occupational asthma in the workplace.

The most important factor that results in the formation of musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) is the balance between local soft tissue fatigue and the individual’s ability to recover from this fatigue. Sufficient blood supply is a critical factor in controlling local soft tissue fatigue. If an adequate supply of blood flow is maintained to the soft tissues performing work, metabolic balance can be sustained and excessive fatigue can be prevented. Learn how to recognise ergonomic risk factors in the workplace.

If your team needs to use personal protective equipment, check regularly that the appropriate PPE is being used. If it isn’t, it is important to find out why not. It is also critical to ascertain if PPE compliance advice and instructions are being adhered to. Safety signs can be a useful reminder that PPE should be worn. Take note of any changes in equipment, materials and methods in your workplace and how these changes relate to PPE requirements – you may need to update the PPE you provide.

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This occupational safety and health round-up was curated by PPE using stories by the HSE, 3M, HSENI, The Sign Shed and Ergonomics Plus.

Share your thoughts on today’s top safety and health stories in the comments or chat with us on Twitter #PPEtalk.

Main image: 3M UK Safety

Contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence v1.0.

 

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