Scand J Work Environ Health 1979;5 suppl 2:21-23    pdf | Issue date: 1979

Need for protective clothing and equipment in small workplaces.

by Vaaranen A, Kolivuori T, Rossi K, Tolonen M, Hassi J

Some kind of protective clothing and personal safety items was needed in 90% of the 163 workplaces surveyed. Protective clothing was used in 31%, ear protectors in 28%, eye protectors in 22%, respiratory tract protectors in 18% and other safety items in 1% of the firms. Gloves were the most commonly used type of protective clothing. Protection against risks was proper in one-fourth of the firms, satisfactory in half, and poor or lacking in the rest. Ninety-five percent of the protectors available were appropriate, but only in a few companies were they properly cared for. Seven (12%) industrial firms, 15 (20%) service establishments and 1 (7%) other firm lacked proper protective clothing or safety items. Faults were generally attributed to insufficient knowledge or negligence of responsibilities on the part of the employers. Management should provide more appropriate instruction for workers in the use and, particularly, the maintenance of personal protectors. To be effective, the inspection of the appropriateness of the protectors requires suitable training. This training should also be received by the staff providing occupational health services. Visits to workplaces, as well as health examinations, provide an opportunity to discuss protection and to advise employers and employees on protection. The problems of protection against harmful exposures is closely connected with health counseling. Yet, the provision of proper protectors and the supervision of their use is still the responsibility of the employer.