PPE for Lab Professionals

In a laboratory, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. Taking steps to prevent exposure to hazards comes in many forms; establishing a culture of safety, administering regular inspections, and wearing protective gear, just to name a few. Personal protective equipment (PPE) comes in many different forms and varieties; knowing what equipment to wear and when to wear it is half the battle to keeping everyone in a workplace safe.

As part of a laboratory’s staff, you know that many of the chemicals and substances worked with in a lab are dangerous to handle. Accidental exposure to chemical solutions, biological agents, or other contaminated substances can cause extreme and permanent damage. Of course, taking precautionary steps such as working under a ventilation hood is a good start, but to increase lab safety, workers will also need to wear quality PPE.

Diving into Lab Safety Head-First

Starting at the top, protecting the eyes and face is a simple way to greatly increase safety in your lab. Not only do those working in the lab need protection from splash hazards, they need to increase their defenses against harmful fumes that can irritate and burn the eyes and other soft tissues. Properly using safety eyewear and face shields can significantly decrease these risks.

 Key Considerations
  • Anti-fog coating, or ventilated frames
  • Goggles that seal around the eyes
  • Compatibility with respirators
  • Compatibility with/prescription lens options
  • Heat-reflective face shield window
  • Removable or lift-front face shield design
 Recommended Gear

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2400 Verdict® Goggle

Getting a Grip on Safety with Gloves

Wearing gloves reduces the risk of contact with substances that you may not even know are there. Whether you’re pouring, mixing, or just cleaning up, gloves are an important piece of armor against accidental chemical contact. There are many qualities to think about when choosing the right gloves for the task at hand.

 Key Considerations
  • Reusability
  • Thickness or puncture resistance
  • Durability
  • Resistance to hazardous chemicals and substances
  • Coating
  • Extended or incidental contact coverage
Recommended Gear

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NitriShield Gloves

Dress for the Job

While wearing a hazmat suit should be more of the exception than the rule, being covered from head to toe in protective garments is still a good idea. Of course, clothing that is loose or provides inadequate coverage is never safe. Most, if not all, scientific labs will require hemlines below the knee, sleeves that come to the wrist, and closed-toe footwear. Some labs also require the use of shoe covers to prevent the spread of chemicals from work area to work area.

Key Considerations
  • Intensity of splash hazards
  • Resistance to chemicals and hazardous substances
  • Flame resistance
  • Tight cuffs around wrists and ankles
  • Ease of removability in case of contamination
Recommended Gear

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12WPC Coveralls

PRO3 = PROfessional PROtection PROviders

US Standard Products has a wide selection of top quality protective equipment that provides safer and smarter protection in the lab. Start exploring your options by downloading our free catalog or calling 1-844-877-1700 today.

To stay up-to-date on the latest workplace safety news and trends, follow US Standard Products on social media:

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Reducing Eye Injury: The Basics

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that about 2,000 workers in the US sustain a work-related eye injury that requires medical attention each day. Prevent Blindness America and many other professional organizations maintain that 90% of these accidents could be prevented. As an employer, you are responsible for providing the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) for every person working under your supervision. You can do your part to prevent these injuries from happening by understanding when eye protection should be worn and what type of protection should be used for different tasks.

When to Wear

OSHA requires workers to wear eye protection when “exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation.” If there is even a remote chance that an employee could be struck by an object, exposed to toxic fumes, or ultra-bright light, (like from a welding arc), they are required to protect their eyes to avoid eye injury.

Even with this defined list, however, eye injuries are still occurring in US workplaces at alarming rates. There are many factors that lead to the 20,000 workplace eye injuries reported each year,  including workers wearing old, worn out gear, wearing equipment improperly, and even not wearing any protection at all.

What to Wear

There are three main variables when deciding what eye protection is best for a task: lens color, lens thickness, and type of frame.

  • Lens Color – The lens color used with eye protection should be largely dependent upon the lighting condition. Generally, clear lenses will provide the proper protection. However, when working outdoors, in low-lit areas, or on welding tasks, different colored, coated, and filtering lenses are recommended. To learn more, read our blog dedicated specifically to colored lenses and their applications.

  • Lens Thickness – Some jobs have an increased risk for high-impact hazards. Machinists, millwrights, carpenters, plumbers, and pipe fitters are all positions that should have more than just basic impact protection. High-impact lenses may still require the use of additional protective measures like side or face shields.

  • Type of Frame – While mostly interchangeable, there are some differences that should be considered when choosing what protection to provide workers. Goggles are more prone to fogging up than glasses due to their sealing fit around the eyes, and may require frequent removal to clean the lens. Glasses may not fog as easily, but they leave the wearer open to splash contamination and should be worn with side shields when impact hazards are present.

Eye Protection from the Pros

As an employer, it is your responsibility to create a culture of safety and ensure that all your employees are properly wearing the protection that you’ve provided them. Take the time to train your employees about what tasks in your workplace require which kinds of safety gear. Additionally, when a worker reports that their safety equipment, including eye protection, is worn out, it is your duty to replace the old equipment.

US Standard Products has a wide selection of top quality protective eyewear that provides safer and smarter eye protection. Start exploring your options by downloading our free catalogue or calling 1-844-877-1700 today.

To stay up-to-date on the latest workplace safety news and trends, follow US Standard Products on social media:

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The Must List: Manufacturing Safety

Fast-moving belts, metal-crushing machinery, and scraps potentially flying every which way. In the manufacturing world, safety hazards are plentiful, but fortunately, so is the safety equipment designed to provide protection from the dangers of the job. Here, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of all the equipment your facility should have on hand in order to keep your workers safe, and your assembly line running smoothly and efficiently.

Fit-for-Purpose Gloves – There’s no one-size-fits-all glove. You have to do a little research to figure out which types of glove properties will be most beneficial for your specific need. For example, welders, or those who work with hot metal on the line, are going to want to get their hands on—or in—a pair heat resistant gloves. If someone is working with sharp objects, they are going to need gloves made with cut resistant materials. Learn more about selecting the right gloves for the job.

Spectacular Spectacles – You never know when something on the assembly line could go awry—and that’s precisely why it’s so important to always be prepared with safety glasses. Explore the options for different colored lenses to ensure the best visibility for the specific work environment.

Ear Protection – With so many moving parts, assembly lines are LOUD. Protect employees’ short- and long-term hearing by providing ear plugs or muffs and encouraging them to wear ear protection at all times.

Steel-Toed, Non-Slip Boots – No matter how graceful you may be, no one is immune to the potential of slipping and falling. In fact, falling is the #1 hazard in the workplace, according to OSHA. But, with employees wearing the right boots, you can help to eliminate that risk. And, with steel toes, you can be sure to protect feet from harm, should something heavy or sharp be dropped.

Bonus Tip: Repetitive Motion Stretch – Working on the line is hard work. It requires undivided focus, impeccable attention to detail, and a plethora of repetitive tasks. Keep your workers at the top of their game by providing guidance and opportunities for repetitive motion stretching. Here’s a great resource for eliminating physical stress often caused by assembly line work.

Shutting down the line due to an injury simply isn’t worth it. And at the end of the day, the safety of your employees is what matters most. With US Standard Products as your safety equipment partner, you can ensure that safety remains your top priority, and reap the benefits as they trickle down to your bottom line.

About US Standard Products

At US Standard Products’ core, we believe in keeping workers across all industries safe from the dangers of the job, and do so by providing the highest quality operational and safety products. To stay up-to-date on the latest workplace safety news and trends, follow US Standard Products on social media:

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Stay Safe with this Checklist for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

To reduce workplace accidents and shield workers from potential hazards, it’s important to have a thorough plan for equipping workers with personal protective equipment (PPE).

Without protective equipment plan, employees are at risk of injury and employers could be subject to fines or penalties. OSHA stipulates that employers must pay for personal protective equipment for employees with the exception of prescription safety glasses, safety-toe protective footwear and other equipment or clothing that is personal or worn outside of the job.

To help determine which protective gear is necessary for the job, we’ve prepared a checklist of commonly required personal protective equipment below.

Eye Protection

When thinking about eye protection, it’s important to consider any occupational risk to the eyes or face. Common hazards include dust, liquid or chemical splashes, abrasive particles, sparks or molten metals, and it’s also important to consider comfort and the visibility requirements of the job.

In any situation that involves the hazards above, workers should, at a minimum, have a trustworthy pair of safety glasses, while some jobs may require full face shields or welding helmets. In many instances, certain types and colors of safety glasses can help improve visibility and job performance, so it’s important to consider that as well.

Head & Face Protection

In addition to the eyes, head and face protection is one of the most important areas to consider to prevent significant injuries at the workplace. Generally, a safety helmet is essential in environments where a worker could be struck on the head by a falling or fixed object, if a worker could potentially fall or if they could come into contact with an electrical hazard.

Hearing Protection

Each year, roughly 30 million workers in the U.S. are exposed to hazardous noise levels in the workplace. It’s estimated that about 125,000 workers suffer significant or permanent hearing loss each year while on the job. With these statistics in mind, employers are required to provide hearing protection to workers who are exposed to volume levels at or above 85 decibels for at least eight hours per day. However, even if workplace noises don’t reach 85 decibels, it’s still highly advised to provide hearing protection for workers.

Recommended hearing protection can vary by industry, though we previously outlined some of the best options for hearing protection in various work environments.

Hand Protection

In many professions, hand protection is absolutely essential when working with dangerous machinery or equipment or handling harmful substances or materials. However, there really is no one-size-fits-all glove for protecting the hands, so it’s important to identify the material and type of glove that works best for your industry.

Lucky for you, we’ve previously prepared guides on finding the right gloves for the job. You can find them listed below:

Foot Protection

Finding proper foot protection is essential, though between the protection offered, the thickness of the material, and the type of sole, it’s important to make the right choice based on your industry and work environment. All workers in a laboratory, factory, workshop, construction or outdoor work environments should have enclosed footwear.

In workplaces with chemicals or harmful substances, all footwear should be resistant to hazardous substances. In workshops, construction sites or factory settings, boots with steel caps or increased protection are recommended. 

Skin Protection

Employers aren’t typically required to provide most methods of skin protection (long-sleeve shirts, pants, sunscreen, etc.), though it is still a very important area to consider. Especially in outdoor environments, workplaces with exposure to flames or electricity or environments with hazardous substances and chemicals, employees should have adequate skin protection to ensure they aren’t exposed to potential harm.

To protect your employees from common workplace injuries and accidents, consider all of the areas of protection above and verify that the equipment you are providing is adequate. If you’re in need of safety equipment to protect your team, check out the U.S. Standard Products catalog. We offer a wide range of cost-effective, protective safety gear to help minimize workplace accidents and injuries.

For the latest safety tips, stay tuned to the U.S. Standard Products blog, or follow us on social media:

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Colored Safety Glasses: More than Just a Fashion Statement

While lens tints on safety glasses look fashion-forward, the primary purpose of the colored lenses is actually to enhance a worker’s vision under various lighting conditions. In this blog, we’re exploring different lens options, their applications and the percentage of visible light transmission (VLT), which refers to the amount of visible light that can pass through the lens.

Popular Lens Colors

Whether you work primarily indoors, outdoors, or require specific color enhancement there’s a lens color out there that’s ideal for your situation. Here’s a look at some of the most common lens colors and their uses:

Clear: Provides excellent optics for general applications where impact protection is required. 85% VLT

Grey: Use for outdoor applications where light and glare can cause eye strain and fatigue. 12% VLT

Light Gray: Serves the same purpose as gray lens, yet allows more visible light through the lens for indoor/outdoor use. Reduces glare from artificial light such as halogen and fluorescent. 62% VLT

Amber: Blocks the blue portion of the visible light spectrum, creating maximum contrast enhancement, particularly in low light. 85% VLT

Orange: Excellent for indoor and low light areas as well as cloudy or hazy days. Blocks out the blue and green light portion of the visible light spectrum. 57% VLT

Fire, Blue Diamond, Emerald, Rainbow, Blue, Silver, Banana Mirror and Copper: For outdoor use where sunlight and glare cause eye strain and fatigue. A mirror coating reflects light, reducing the amount of light that passes through the lens. 9% VLT

Brown: Outdoor applications where sunlight and glare cause eye strain and fatigue. Meets color traffic signal recognition requirements. 12% VLT

Indoor/Outdoor Clear Mirror: Allows more visible light through the lens for indoor/outdoor use. Reduces glare from artificial light such as halogen and fluorescent. 55% VLT

Vermilion: Enhances contrast while reducing all colors equally for optimum color recognition. Ideal for indoor inspection. 55% VLT

Light Blue: Allows more visible light through the lens for indoor/outdoor use. Reduces glare from artificial light such as halogen and fluorescent. 70% VLT

Bonus Features

Sometimes workers need a little extra oomph when it comes to their colored safety glasses. Here are some additional features that are available:

Duramass® AF4 Anti-Fog Coating: Exclusive Duramass scratch resistant coating with anti-fog provides excellent fog prevention in high humidity environments where sudden shifts in temperature occur.

Polarized: For use outdoors to protect from excessive glare that can cause eye fatigue.

Filter Shades: Protects against ultra-violet and infrared radiation generated when working with molten metal, and in welding, cutting, soldering and brazing. See guide below for applications and recommendations for filter shades.

Operation Recommended Filter Shade
Torch Soldering 2
Torch Brazing 3
Light Cutting up to 1”* 3
Medium Cutting 1” to 6”* 5
Heavy Cutting more than 6”* 5
Gas Welding, light, up to 1/8”* 5
Gas Welding, medium, 1/8” to 1/2″* 5

*Indicates thickness of material to be cut

For more information about colored safety glasses and to browse our selection of eye protection, download the U.S. Standard Products Safety Catalog today. All glasses available in the catalog pass the ANSI Z87+ standard for coverage, impact protection and optical clarity, while many also meet the EN166 (Europe), CSA Z94.3 (Canada) and AS/NZS 1337.1 (Australia and New Zealand) standards.

The definitions provided above are general descriptions only. Consult your workplace safety director to ensure the proper application.