Face Shields Proper Utilization
PPE Focus: Face Shields
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is a facet of safety the place folks are likely to make many mistakes, and for a variety of reasons. Often, we think that the mere wearing of PPE makes us proof against injury. With as much emphasis as we place on eye protection and head protection, will we lose sight (no pun supposed) of protecting our faces? Certainly, eye protection is necessary, since eye injuries can lead to permanent blindness. Equally vital is head protection, preventing fatal head accidents the best that we can. Face accidents may not appear as significant a priority. They don't have the instant, everlasting, and potentially deadly consequences of the others. With that said, although, an employer’s responsibility is to protect all elements of their employees, together with their faces.
That accountability consists of figuring out tasks where face shields ought to be used, providing face shields for workers to make use of, training them to make use of face shields accurately, and to appropriate workers when face shields are used incorrectly or not used at all. The primary components are easy. Our workers will make mistakes. Correcting these errors and imposing your company’s face shield requirements is an essential part of an effective PPE program. Sadly, too typically, this facet of the PPE program isn't enforced until after an employee is injured.
Situations to Use Face Shields
Consider the next situations where face shields should have been used, and the implications for the injured workers and their employers.
An worker was filling ammonia nurse tanks from a bulk plant. The worker was distracted while closing the valves, and mistakenly turned the improper valve, inflicting a pressure release in the line. The release of anhydrous ammonia splashed on the worker’s face. The employee was hospitalized for chemical burns on and around the face.
An worker was installing a water pipe at a multifamily residential construction project. The worker initially was operating an excavator, then climbed down from the excavator to chop a ten-inch water pipe with a cut-off saw. The noticed kicked back and struck the worker’s face. Co-workers called emergency services, who transported the worker to the hospital. The employee was admitted to the hospital and handled for facial lacerations that extended from underneath the left eye to underneath the jaw.
Within the first scenario, the worker suffered serious chemical burns. A face shield would have significantly reduced the chemical exposure, the extent of the chemical burns, and probably could have prevented any ammonia from splashing on the employee’s face. Sure, the employee turned the incorrect valve, however does that mean that the employer is absolved of all duty for this incident? Of course not. The actual fact remains that the employer should provide workers filling ammonia nurse tanks with face shields, train staff to make use of the face shields appropriately, and require them to use them when performing this task. Then they need to regularly and constantly enforce the face shield requirements. Doing so would have provided additional protection to the worker, even from the effects of the worker’s own actions.