Do you actually know that using certain type of PPE – e.g., respirators for a longer period of time, and non-breathable protective outerwear – puts you at great risk for fatigue, even when used properly? If you choose the wrong type of PPE – e.g., a respirator that is heavier than necessary, or clothing that is heavier/bulkier than necessary and traps body heat – you may become fatigued even more easily.
To reduce your risk of being fatigued while using PPE, follow these guidelines:
- Allow yourself sufficient recovery time after wearing PPE before beginning another activity.
- Select the minimum effective level of PPE for the situation (i.e., the lightest, most comfortable, most easily used, etc.)
- Limit the duration of any task that affects your performance or places additional physical demands on you.
- Take sufficient rest breaks, especially in difficult environments (e.g., when wearing fire-resistant clothing in hot, confined spaces).
- Ensure that your PPE fits properly, is properly maintained, and is worn correctly.
- When compounded by work-related factors, personal risk factors have an even greater effect on people.
So if fatigue affects us so much, why don’t we just find ways to ensure we are never fatigued? The answer to that is complicated. Often, people are influenced by personal factors that are a challenge for them to manage.
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