Personal Protective Equipment’s

Various types of personal protective equipments and clothing’s are extensively used by the personnel working in industries as protective measures against injury (both fatal and non-fatal). The ideal personal .protective equipments and clothing’s are those which are safe, convenient to users (i.e. light, easy to wear etc.), economical, durable, free from discomfort when in use and easy to clean. Various types of personal protective equipments and clothing’s along with their specific application to different body parts or body organs or body as a whole are being mentioned and described as follows:

Head Protection:

The following personal protective equipments are extensively used by the personnel for the protection of head (including hairs and ears) Read Sop of Personal Protective Equipment

Helmets – These must be strong and sturdy enough to save workers from head injury especially due to falling objects, flying splinters, rotating machine parts etc. Metal (steel) helmets are commonly used in industries. However, non-metal helmets are also in vogue in less hazardous operations or tasks.

Hard hats – These protective headwear’s are quite effective and are generally lighter as compared to steel helmets and offer reasonable protection against injury to head including face and neck.

Caps – Caps are specially used to prevent worker’s hair from being caught by rotating parts of machines. These caps if properly designed can completely enclose the tufts of hair or loose ends of the hairs satisfactorily.

In general, these protective head wears should be fire resistant. In such cases where electrical hazards (as for example live wires carrying high currents, live electric wires, electrical equipments under operation etc.) are present, the protective ‘ headwear’s (hard hats etc.) should be made of non-conductors or should be electrically insulated.

Ear Protection – For ear protection the following protective devices are commonly used in industries:

Ear-muff – Ear-muff is a very effective personal protective device which covers the entire ear when worn. This device is however uncomfortable to workers.

Earplug – This is in the form of rubber/plastic plug which can be snugly fitted into the ear-passage.

Cotton/wool – A piece of cotton or wool (in some cases even waxed) can be snugly placed in ear-canal.

Finger, Hand and Arm Protection: The following personal protective equipments are extensively used by the workers for the protection of finger, hand and arm:


These are used to save individual fingers or thumb from injuries. Mittens are usually made of leather, rubber etc.


These are used for complete protection of hands (including fingers) and are usually provided with wristbands to ensure a snug fit. Gloves are usually made of rubber, leather, plastics, cotton etc. The choice of the material of the gloves depends upon the task or operation to be performed.

Hand guards and hand pads:

They are commonly used to save hands from possible injuries while working with hand-trucks, gritty, sharp as well as highly heated objects. Abrasions, nicks and cuts, bruises, blisters etc. can be prevented if properly designed hand guards and hand pads are used.


These snugly fitting coverings are meant for protection to arms (excluding hands) against Injuries. Sleeves are usually made of leather, asbestos, plastics etc. The choice of materials depends upon the nature of task or operations to be performed.

Eye Protection:

Eye protection equipments connote those equipments used for exclusive protection of eyes. These are goggles and spectacles. The type of goggles depends upon the specific protection needed in a particular case. The protection for eyes needed may be from sparks, glare, dust, noxious gases and vapors etc. The hazardous operations or tasks which warrant use of eye protection equipment may be cutting, grinding, welding, galvanizing etc. The requisites of materials to be used in eye protection equipments are manifold. Depending upon the situation, the lens used in goggles or spectacles should have fairly abrasion resistance, impact resistance, anti-glare properties etc.


The cuff guards protect the lower part of the forearm from injuries specially when working in the proximity of heat sources (as for example furnaces) including sparks. The materials used for these cuffs are varied in nature and depend upon the task or operation to be performed. Some materials commonly used for guard-cuffs are plastics, metal, rubber, asbestos, leather etc. As for example a plastic guard-cuff is a suitable choice when working with oils, water and even irritating fluids.

Face and Eye Protection: Basically there are two types of face and. eye protection equipments in vogue namely the face shield and the hood. The face shields provide protection to the entire face including eyes. Such hazardous jobs like welding operations (in this case welder’s helmet could be used), grinding operations, operations involving fairly big size of flying particles etc. It is obvious that the face and eye protection equipments should be fairly heat resistant, scratch resistant, impact resistant etc. Hoods are used under special circumstances for face and eye protection to deal with extremely hazardous situation as for example working with highly corrosive substances. The hood provides a thorough protection against serious hazards with suitable provisions for the worker to see through a specially designed window filled with the hood itself.

Foot and Leg Protection:

The following personal protective equipments are extensively used by the industrial workers for the protection of foot and leg:

Safety shoes:

The safely shoes may be of various types depending upon the nature of operation to be performed. Some safely shoes may be meant for protection against toe injuries, crushing of feet etc. This type of safely shoe is reinforced by suitable steel-box and is safe against loads to be borne by the said shoe. Some other types of safety shoes which guard against electric shocks or harmful chemicals or inflammable materials etc. are also extensively used by workers.


Boots usually of rubber are extensively used to provide protection against, chemicals, slush etc. Gum boots are commonly used to work under wet conditions or while making bituminous roads etc. These boots may protect the lower legs (including feet) and in some cases protection up to knee or beyond is also common.

Foot guards:

The foot guard is a protective device (generally made of steel) meant to protect the toes up to the ankles from injuries inflicted due to falling or striking objects. These are extremely useful in foundries.

Leg guards or leggings:

Leggings are wrapped around the legs up to knee or even up to the hip. Materials like plastics, fabrics, leather etc, are used for leggings. The choice of the material depends upon the nature of the protection to be provided as for example to protect against acids and alkalis etc. Plastics could be the ideal choice.

Lungs and Respiratory Tract Protection:

There are various types of respiratory protective equipments which are used in different industries lo protect the workers from hazards. The selection of a particular type of respiratory protective device depends upon the nature of the hazard, the severity of the hazard as well as upon the type of contaminants in the working atmosphere. Some of the commonly used respiratory protective equipments in industries are as follows:

Breathing apparatus: The breathing apparatus is a very effective device as compared to other types. The breathing apparatus could be a self-contained one with provisions of compressed oxygen cylinders. This is one of the best protective devices particularly in emergency situations which protect the users completely from hazards due to gases, dusts, fumes etc. The emergency situation may be a serious fire hazard, hazard associated with entering poorly ventilated pits, wells, enclosures etc. In certain cases the compressed oxygen cylinder may be provided with a canister (instead of compressed oxygen cylinder) maintaining the required oxygen supply. However, the compressed air-line breathing apparatus or air-line respirator is helpful only in case of’ non-emergency situations. These are used to protect against air-borne particulate matters as well as gases, fumes etc. This device essentially consists of a compressed air­line, a fresh air hose along with a suitable valve to maintain suitable pressure of air-supply to the users.


The usual type of respirators are of chemical cartridge type, canister type, manually operated bag type, hose mask type and mechanical filter type. Chemical cartridge respirators comprise of a face piece connoted to a filter chemical cartridge. The user attaches the face piece over the nose and the mouth and thus gets protection from hazards. These respirators are meant for comparatively less hazardous conditions as for example spray painting. The canister type respirators also called gas masks are devices that cover the mouth, nose and eyes and are connected to. a canister containing a suitable chemical absorbent. The type of chemical absorbent depends upon the type of harmful gases or vapors to be absorbed. These are used for emergency situations such as industrial operations involving toxic gases or vapors. The manually operated bag type respirators essentially consist of snugly fitting piece which can cover mouth, nose and the eyes. Fresh air is supplied in the system through a hose pipe by means of a bag or blower which is manually operated. This type gives complete respiratory protection no doubt but with a restricted use in view of the limited length of hose-line. However respirators with only a hose mask, the air-tube leading to a source of fresh air is also used. This type is without any bag and hence not suitable for emergency situations. Mechanical filter type respirators basically give protection against particulate air-borne contaminants as for example dust of cement, coal, toxic dusts of metals etc. in addition to fumes. This type essentially consists of a filter element and a face piece. When the air to be inhaled passes through the filler element, the particulate matters are eliminated by the filter substances. These mechanical filter type respirators are used in non-emergency situations.

Body Protection:

There are various types of body protective clothing’s which are used in different industries to protect the workers from hazards. Some of the body protective clothing’s are explained hereunder:


Aprons made of different types of materials are extensively used as protective clothing’s in various Industries. These aprons provide adequate protection to the body of the workers engaged in various hazardous jobs. The selection of a particular type of apron depends upon the nature of hazard arising out of radiation, acid and alkali exposure etc. Commonly used aprons are as follows:

Lead-rubber aprons for protection against radiation as for example X-rays.

Personal Protective Equipment

In extremely hazardous situation and emergency conditions workers use specially designed suits. The material of the suit depends upon, the hazardous environment. The materials are asbestos, rubber etc. Rubber suits are suitable for body protection in hazardous chemical plants whereas asbestos suits are suitable in case of fire-hazards. .