Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
From Artisan's Asylum
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is required when in any shop area. Several general categories of PPE include eye, foot, hearing, hand, and respiratory protection.
Types of PPE
Eye protection protects your eyes from sawdust, splinters, sparks, and other foreign objects. Different types of eye protection include:
- Safety glasses.
- Cover goggles.
- Prescription safety glasses with side shields.
- Face shields.
Regular prescription glasses without side shields are not an acceptable form of eye protection. However, it is possible to purchase prescription safety glasses here. Further, most opticians can get OSHA-grade prescription eyeglasses, so check your local eyeglass store for info.
Foot injuries can occur when working in shops due to dropped objects, trip hazards, or sparks.
- Close-toed shoes will offer a degree of protection from dropped objects, trip hazards, and sparks.
- Good-quality work boots with steel toes or other protective qualities are the best option for preventing foot injuries.
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDOCD) warns that long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss. Wearing hearing protection helps prevent both short- and long-term hearing damage due to harmful decibel levels, and also prevents debris from entering the ear.
- Disposable foam earplugs are a good choice for blocking sound and, when welding, for keeping sparks from traveling down the ear canal.
- Earmuffs are usually the best choice for hearing protection, as they will keep all foreign objects out of the ear.
- When working in areas with very high noise, both earplugs and earmuffs can be worn to provide better protection.
Exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings when wearing hearing protection, since it will be harder to hear people talking, auditory alerts on machines, and alarms.
Gloves can prevent injuries in certain situations, while increasing the likelihood of injury in others.
- Gloves must not be worn when using tools such as bandsaws, lathes, drill press, and grinders. If a glove gets caught in a tool you can be pulled in and seriously injured or killed.
- Leather work gloves are ideal when handling material to protect from splinters and cuts. They often have nylon backs and should not be used for welding or handling hot metal.
- MIG welding gloves are made of heavy material to resist sparks and heat.
- Oxy fuel gloves are slightly lighter to resist heat while allowing for greater control of the filler wire.
- TIG gloves are the thinnest and allow finer control of the filler material. They are more sensitive to heat.
- Rubber gloves may be needed when working with chemicals. Ensure you use non-latex gloves if you or someone you are working with has a latex allergy.
Airborne contaminants pose a serious risk to health. Particulates less than 10 micrometers, known as PM10, can cause nose and throat irritation. Particulates less than 2.5 micrometers, known as PM2.5, can penetrate deep into the lungs and cross into the bloodstream, causing health problems such as asthma, lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, and premature death. Wood dust can be as small as .01 micrometers and is recognized by the US National Institutes of Health as a known human carcinogen.
Respiratory protection helps prevent the inhalation of harmful particulates, chemicals, and gases. Respiratory protection can range from a disposable N95 face mask to a reusable full-face supplied air respirator, and should be selected based on the type of material you will be working with. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) sets standards for respiratory protective equipment and is a good source for information on respiratory protection.
PPE Available at Artisan's Asylum
Several types of PPE are available for borrowing when working in the shops. These include:
- Safety glasses
- Welding masks
- Welding sleeves
- Welding gloves
These items must be returned to their storage location in the shop when you are done with them.
Several consumable safety supplies are available at the safety station near the woodshop. These include:
- Foam earplugs
- Dust masks
These items can be kept for your use.
PPE You May Need to Bring
Certain types of PPE are not provided by the Asylum and may need to be purchased. These include:
- Chemical resistant gloves
- Prescription safety glasses