Proper Personal Protective Equipment

Proper Personal Protective Equipment

Why Wear Protective Equipment?

Personal protective equipment is worn to minimize exposure to a list of hazards. These include:

  • Electrical shock
  • Heavy chemicals, which can lead to an increased risk of different cancers
  • Mechanical Machinery
  • Electrical inter-workings within the poultry processing plants


Even where engineering controls and safe systems of work have been applied, some hazards might remain. These include injuries to:

  • The lungs, from breathing in contaminated air
  • The head and feet, from falling materials
  • The eyes, from flying particles or splashes of corrosive liquids
  • The skin, from contact with corrosive materials
  • The body, from extremes of heat or cold


Properly fitting and clean equipment encourages worker usage, thus making employees safer. Employees should be trained on what kind of equipment is necessary for specific tasks, when it is necessary, how to properly adjust, wear and take off equipment, and the maintenance required to maintain the integrity of the equipment.


Types Of Personal Protective Equipment

Protection equipment must be properly maintained and cleaned. It should also fit securely as ill fitting equipment can result in exposure to the risks even when properly following safety procedures.

Equipment is specific to tasks and the kinds of hazards at risk. Here are some examples of the types of personal protective equipment worn for poultry processing:

  • Eyes- Safety spectacles, goggles, face screens, face shields, visors
    • Make sure the eye protection chosen has the right combination of impact/dust/splash/molten metal eye protection for the task and fits the user properly
  • Head and neck- Industrial safety helmets, bump caps, hair nets and firefighters’ helmets
    • Some safety helmets incorporate, or can be fitted with, specially-designed eye or hearing protection
    • Don’t forget neck protection, like scarves for use during welding
    • Replace head protection if it is damaged
  • Ears- Earplugs, earmuffs, semi-insert/canal caps
    • Provide the right hearing protectors for the type of work, and make sure workers know how to fit them
    • Choose protectors that reduce noise to an acceptable level, while allowing for safety and communication
  • Hands and arms- Gloves, gloves with a cuff, gauntlets and sleeving that covers part or all of the arm
    • Avoid gloves when operating machines such as bench drills where the gloves might get caught
    • Some materials are quickly penetrated by chemicals – take care in selection
    • Barrier creams are unreliable and are no substitute for proper PPE
    • Wearing gloves for long periods can make the skin hot and sweaty, leading to skin problems. Using separate cotton inner gloves can help prevent this
  • Feet and legs- Safety boots and shoes with protective toe caps and penetration-resistant, midsole wellington boots and specific footwear, like foundry boots and chainsaw boots
    • Footwear can have a variety of sole patterns and materials to help prevent slips in different conditions, including oil – or chemical-resistant soles. It can also be anti-static, electrically conductive or thermally insulating
    • Appropriate footwear should be selected for the risks identified
  • Lungs- Respiratory protective equipment (RPE)
    • The right type of respirator filter must be used as each is effective for only a limited range of substances
    • Filters have only a limited life. Where there is a shortage of oxygen or any danger of losing consciousness due to exposure to high levels of harmful fumes, only use breathing apparatus – never use a filtering cartridge
    • You will need to use breathing apparatus in a confined space or if there is a chance of an oxygen deficiency in the work area
  • Whole body- Conventional or disposable overalls, boiler suits, aprons, chemical suits
    • The choice of materials includes flame-retardant, anti-static, chain mail, chemically impermeable, and high-visibility
    • Don’t forget other protection, like safety harnesses or life jackets

Ensuring that employees know the proper steps for safety and the appropriate equipment is critical to everyone’s safety. Employers are required to purchase personal protection equipment when needed.


Prevention is cheaper, more effective and better for employees than waiting until an issue occurs. Poultry processing is a work environment that poses many risks unless proper care and concern is taken. Making sure employees are effectively trained, protected and re-trained will minimize risk and ensure that a safe working environment is maintained for all. Make sure to educate yourself and your staff by checking the OSHA standards for personal safety and maintaining a clear line of communication between employees and employers.


At DeLong’s, and at all meat processing plants across the country, equipment safety and safe working environments are essential parts of the day-to-day operations. By addressing these concerns, taking steps to prepare workers for potentially hazardous conditions, and looking for creative solutions, processing workers can safely produce and provide for consumers. If you’re ready to order rollers, contact us.

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