PPE stands for "personal protective equipment," and it includes clothing items worn over the top of your street clothes. In an industrial setting, you are very likely to need such clothing because you never know when a chemical will spill or a product will ignite. If you are just starting a job in the industrial sector, your employer may or may not provide you with these clothing items. If your employer requires that you find your own PPE clothing, here are three qualities you need to look for to get the right items.
Flame Resistant Safety Apparel
First and foremost, your PPE clothing should be flame resistant. That is very different from flame retardant. Flame resistant means that it is very difficult to set on fire or catch on fire. Flame retardant means that it can catch on fire, but it will put the flames out on its own in a few minutes. Meanwhile, the flame retardant material will slowly burn through, burn your regular clothes, and possibly singe your skin. It is better to look for and purchase PPE clothing that states it is flame resistant.
The next thing you need to look for is non-porous material. This is material that refuses to absorb liquids. There are no "pores" in the material to absorb liquids, so chemicals cannot sink into or through the material to your skin. That is vital in protecting your skin and your street clothes from the harmful effects of some of the chemicals you may be working with or working around in the plant.
Limited Points of Access
The final quality you want to look for in your industrial PPE clothing is limited points of access. This means that no matter what happens while you are on the job, nothing can get through the seams or openings in the clothing. You can get in and out of the clothing via zippers or overlapping flaps and snaps, but it would be otherwise very difficult for anything to get into and under this clothing to your skin and your street clothes.
One such example is an industrial coverall. It is flame resistant, non-porous, and allows you to step into it as a one-piece article with only the front zipper as an access point. The cuffs around the wrists and ankles prevent anything from reaching your skin, too. These coveralls usually have a drawstring hood to cover your head and close most of the way to help protect your face and neck. Not much is getting into or under the material of this suit!
Keep these tips in mind as you look at safety apparel from suppliers like Oil & Gas Safety Supply.