Personal Protection must be considered in the context of preventative measures for workplace injuries and diseases.

Personal protection must be considered in the context of workplace injury and disease prevention methods.

The nature of the danger and its link to the broader work environment must be fully understood before personal protection can be an effective solution to a problem of occupational risk. While this may seem self-evident, the seeming simplicity of many protective devices might lead to a strong desire to skip this phase in the review process.

The implications of supplying protective devices and equipment that are inappropriate for the dangers and the overall work environment range from apprehension or refusal to wear the equipment, to poor job performance, to the possibility of worker injury and death. It is necessary to know the composition and magnitude (concentration) of the hazards (including chemical, physical, or biological agents), the length of time for which the device will be expected to perform at a known level of protection, and the nature of the physical activity that may be performed while the equipment is in use in order to achieve a proper match between the risk and the protective measure.

This early assessment of the risks is an important diagnostic step that must be completed before moving on to choose the best protection.

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