What to Consider When Selecting Different Types of Personal Protective Equipment
Correct selection of PPE is the first critical step. Follow the pesticide product label carefully when certain types of gloves, respirators, and/or other PPE are specified. For example, a specific type of glove material may be highly chemical-resistant to some pesticide products but not others. A respirator suitable for one task may not be suitable for another. “Water-resistant” material is different than a “chemical-resistant” material.
“Chemical-resistant” PPE is “material that allows no measurable movement of the pesticide being used through the material during use.” However, “chemical-resistant” aprons, coveralls, eye protection, footwear, gloves, and headgear are not equally resistant to all pesticides, under all conditions, and for the same length of time.
Read the PPE user instructions carefully to ensure that the PPE meets the specifications on the particular pesticide product label. If in doubt about what PPE to use, call the pesticide product manufacturer, the PPE manufacturer, your county agent, or your state’s pesticide safety education program. Pesticide labels, PPE instructions, and safety equipment catalogs contain phone numbers, and PPE manufacturer websites often contain detailed information on their products.
More is not necessarily better in the case of PPE – select the PPE required by the label.
Make Sure PPE is Working Properly
It is very important to select the correct PPE. Just as important, the PPE must be working correctly every time you use it, either alone or in combination with other PPE. When several pieces of PPE are used together, they must not interfere with each other. For example, protective goggles must not interfere with the operation of a respirator.
Read the PPE user instructions carefully before every use, and seek assistance if needed.
Before and after every use, check for any type of deterioration of, or damage to, all the components, seams, etc. of the specific reusable PPE and, if necessary, dispose of it properly.
Compiled by Wayne Buhler, PhD. and David Jefferson