Know how to choose quality PPE and workwear

8th February 2019 By: Khutso Maphatsoe - journalist

Know how to choose quality PPE and  workwear

PROTECTIVE GEAR Companies should ask suppliers for a copy of certifications when purchasing products with specific standards

Personal protective equipment supplier Dromex has launched a specialised range for arc protection, which includes arc workwear and includes a 51 cal-rated suit, arc visors, an arc hard hat and arc gloves, Kimi gas escape mask, denim Conti suits and a flat fold respirator tailored for women and smaller faces.

“We are continually updating our personal protective equipment (PPE) and workwear range to meet the ever-changing needs of our customers, ” says Dromex workwear manager Michael Varikas.

Owing to its reputation of being one of many reputable PPE and workwear providers in South Africa, Varikas adds that there should be no exceptions when requesting and buying quality safety gear such as PPE and workwear for companies and their staff members.

According to Varikas, a company should get a copy of certifications of the quality of workwear, in the case where it requires products with specific standards, one should ask for the certifications from the supplier.

Entry-level workwear garments such as an 80/20 polycotton Conti suit will not have a certification; however, when there is a specific requirement such as a 65/35 polycotton or J54, 100% cotton Conti suit then insist on a fabric certification document, he advises.

Likewise, using PPE that has approved European standards is always the best way to ensure quality safety protection and the supplier should be able to provide the applicable certificates, he notes.

Varikas continues to say that one must know the work that the wearer of the clothing will be doing because workwear can be bought for a few reasons.

The general wear is when employers buy entry-level garments so that staff do not damage their clothes. These are often for low-risk industries such as gardening and warehousing.

“The preferences for these industries lean towards 80/20 polycotton, 65/35 polycotton and J54 100% cotton Conti suits and are generally based on budget, for example, an 80/20 polycotton Conti suit is cheaper than a J54 100% cotton Conti suit, which is more expensive but more breathable and comfortable as a result of the cotton content.

Hazard-specific protection workwear is to protect the user from an incident that will cause them bodily harm such as petrochemicals, electric arc flash, mining and fire. In this regard, arc suits, J54, Nomex and polyviscose suits are required.

This workwear is often governed by specific standards such as the South African Bureau of Standards, South African National Standards, International Organisation for Standardisation and National Fire Protection Association in the case of fire garments.

Apart from workwear being governed by specific standards, health and safety practices are regulated by the Occupational Health and Safety Act No 85 of 1993 and employers can be held responsible for not having the correct PPE or following correct health and safety procedures, which results in injury.

Dromex believes that all employees are entitled to maximum safety protection and that employers should never have to compromise on the quality of the PPE they provide their staff.