What is PPE?
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is utilized by nearly every organization to keep workers safe.
PPE is loosely defined as any type of equipment used to protect workers from hazards in the workplace. This includes harnesses, hard hats, safety glasses, gloves, and more.
Employers are responsible for not only selecting the necessary safety items for the given job, but also for mandating and ensuring workers make the best use of their equipment. PPE gear cannot be an optional choice for employees.
A successful PPE program is not just simply supplying equipment. It also includes training, maintaining the equipment, and adapting to changes in the work environment.
Regular inspections and evaluations of safety equipment is crucial to maintain their effectiveness.
As mandated by OSHA, employers must provide any required equipment for their employees. This includes most items outside of prescription eyewear and footwear.
There are even specific regulations mandating the use of identification labels on protective equipment. For example, OSHA guideline 1926.102(c)(2)(ii) states that a label must be adhered to safety goggles with information about the type of laser and wavelengths they are made to protect the wearer from.
Hard hats are another common example of equipment which requires labeling. Hard hats must be marked with class type, manufacturer, and ANSI designation.
Nearly every industry relies on safety gear or equipment of some type. From basic glasses to full protective suits and respirators, there are a wide range of applications.
A few examples of industries which rely on PPE for their workers:
- Oil & Gas
- And Many More
Asset Traceability for PPE
Just as many warehouses utilize a barcode scanning system to keep track of inventory levels in real time, larger organizations that go through a lot of expendable PPE need to keep track of the quantity being used.
This enables buyers to get supplies restocked before they run out. If the organization does not properly maintain their inventory of protective equipment, work may have to be postponed. Integration with computer systems allow for real time inventory checks.
Workers may also just try to work without the safety equipment if it is unavailable as they do not want their work to be delayed.
As with any useful or expensive asset, protective equipment is a target for theft.
This can be not only a drain on company resources but also takes away from other workers who need the items to perform their job safely.
Tracking expensive protective items with barcodes can help mitigate this potential risk.
Mixed resources between multiple contractors on a job site can mean equipment is accidentally taken by another organization. Using branded labels can help prevent accidental theft.
Marking Processes for PPE Tags and Labels
Photo anodization is one of the most commonly used methods for durable PPE identification. These tags and nameplates are very resilient, with the ability to last upwards of 20 years outdoors.
Resistance to wear and tear, as well as weather makes this process ideal for PPE applications.
In addition, photo anodization can include any information. This includes barcodes and QR codes for scanning purposes.
The printing process is used for producing custom PPE labels and decals. These labels are flexible and can be adhered to nearly any surface, offering a very versatile identification solution.
Printed labels also provide the opportunity for the addition of color in the design.
The downside to this marking method is that the topical ink will fade and wear over time when exposed to harsh environmental and industrial conditions.
For more simplified tag designs, embossing is a solid choice. The embossing process utilizes a male/female die set. This creates a raised design which is extremely durable.
These tags can be mounted to equipment using screws or attached via a wire or chain. Embossed tags are a great option when equipment is exposed to the harshest conditions.
The goal above all others for every organization should be safety for its workers. This includes providing protective safety equipment for every job site.
Personal protective equipment plays a large role in preventing accidents and injuries from taking place. Using PPE asset tags helps organizations ensure that equipment is accounted for and properly maintained.
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