There is no question that some professions are more hazardous than others. While anyone can get hurt on the job – office workers may develop carpal tunnels, kindergarten teachers may take a hard fall after slipping on Play-Doh – some occupations are simply inherently dangerous when compared to most others.
Workers who devote their careers to particularly hazardous jobs are almost always outfitted in personal protective equipment (PPE) to better safeguard their health and well-being on a job site. Construction professionals may wear hardhats and steel toed boots. Those who work in laboratory settings may done gloves, masks, and goggles. Firefighters get outfitted in turnout gear before responding to calls.
When PPE fits properly and works as intended, workers benefit from enhanced protection against any number of hazards. However, when PPE isn’t properly sized, is somehow defective, or has been used in ways that render it less effective than it should be, workers can suffer serious harm.
PPE Wear And Tear Is A Serious Concern
A new study released by the National Institute of Standards and Technology details just one of the ways in which too much wear and tear can compromise the effectiveness of PPE. Specifically, the study indicates that turnout gear that is no longer sufficiently intact can expose firefighters to significantly increased levels of carcinogens. As cancer is a well-documented leading cause of death among firefighting first responders, this determination is not insignificant.
Essentially, when turnout gear is heavily used, the gear itself releases more “forever chemicals” and becomes less effective at keeping hazardous substances from infiltrating PPE textiles.
What Workers Can Do
This disturbing conclusion is only one example of how insufficient PPE can impact the health and well-being of workers. As an experienced New Jersey work-related injury attorney can confirm, the safety and well-being of workers in any hazardous environment often hinges on the effectiveness of personal protective equipment. When PPE falls short of providing necessary protection, the ramifications can be severe, extending from acute injuries to long-term health issues. Speaking up about ineffective PPE is not just a matter of personal safety; it’s a cornerstone of workplace safety culture. This kind of proactive communication can lead to immediate corrective actions, such as the replacement or upgrade of equipment, better ensuring that all employees are shielded from potential hazards.
Moreover, raising concerns about PPE efficacy fosters an environment of openness and trust. It empowers workers, enabling them to be active participants in their safety protocols rather than passive recipients. This engagement is crucial for identifying unseen risks and holding employers accountable if they fail to implement comprehensive safety measures.
In essence, speaking up about ineffective PPE is vital for preventing accidents and fostering a culture of safety. It not only protects individuals but also contributes to the overall well-being of the workforce, underscoring the principle that every worker deserves to return home safely at the end of the day. With all of this said, workers may not always know that their PPE is insufficient and employers may not always respond properly even if they are alerted to a problem. As such, workers should always be aware that they can reach out for assistance by connecting with the reputable team at Rispoli & Borneo P.C. if they are concerned that they are being placed in danger unnecessarily due to insufficient PPE.