Personal protective equipment (PPE) in the workplace: An overview

Each industry typically has its own PPE requirements based on the hazards that are present.

four hard hats

Each industry typically has its own PPE requirements based on the hazards that are present. Here are examples of some commonly found personal protective equipment:

Eye and face protection

  • Safety glasses have safety frames constructed with plastic or metal and impact-resistant lenses.
  • Goggles are tight-fitting eye protection with complete coverage of the eye and surrounding area. They provide protection from impact, dust, and splashes.
  • Welding shields protect against serious and sometimes permanent eye damage caused by the intensity of light or radiant energy produced by welding, cutting, or brazing. The shade of the lens needed for proper protection will vary based on the type of work being performed.
  • Face shields cover the area from the eyebrows to below the chin and ear-to-ear. They protect against dust and splashes or sprays of liquid but are not impact-resistant. They are generally used in conjunction with safety glasses for full protection.

Head protection

  • Hard hats are divided into three industrial classes. All classes will protect against impact from flying or falling objects. However, each class differs in protection against electrical hazards.
    • Class A - impact-resistant with limited voltage protection.
    • Class B - impact-resistant with high-voltage and shock protection.
    • Class C - lightweight comfort and impact protection with no protection from electrical hazards.

Foot and leg protection

  • Safety shoes will vary depending on the industry, but generally include protection against impact from falling or rolling objects, excessive heat, and puncture wounds.
  • Toe guards fit over the toes of regular shoes to provide protection from impact and compression.
  • Metatarsal guards protect the instep area from impact and compression.

Hand protection

  • Leather and canvas gloves can protect against heat or cold, rough objects, and abrasions.
  • Fabric gloves come in coated and uncoated. Coated gloves provide stronger protection against handling rough, sharp, or heavy materials. Uncoated protect against dirt, slivers, chafing, and small abrasions.
  • Chemical and liquid-resistant gloves are made from various kinds of rubber and plastic. Different blends of these materials provide for better performance against certain chemicals and hazardous liquids. These gloves are generally single-use.
  • Metal mesh gloves are also known as cut-resistant and provide protection against deep cuts and abrasions.

Hearing protection

  • Single-use earplugs are self-forming and disposable. They must be inserted correctly to provide proper protection.
  • Pre-formed or molded earplugs must be fitted by a professional. They can be reusable or disposable. Reusable plugs should be cleaned after each use.
  • Earmuffs must have a perfect seal around the ear to be most effective. Facial hair, glasses or facial movements, such as chewing, may reduce protection against noise.

Body protection

  • Protective clothing comes in a variety of materials, each to protect against specific hazards.
    • Paper-like fiber protects against dust and splashes.
    • Treated wool and cotton adapt well to changing temperatures and provide protection against dust, abrasions, and rough surfaces. Can also be fire-resistant.
    • Duck is a closely woven cotton fabric and protects against cuts and bruises when handling sharp, heavy, or rough materials.
    • Leather is primarily used to protect against dry heat and flames.
    • Rubber and plastic blends are used to protect against chemical hazards. Each blend specifically protects against certain hazards.

It is your responsibility to properly wear and care for your PPE. Inform your supervisor or safety person if you need to repair or replace any damaged equipment, and ask for help if you are uncertain how to appropriately use the PPE you are given.
Which types of PPE are you required to wear for your job? Can you explain why? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, be sure to talk with your supervisor or the person in charge of safety in your workplace. It is important for you to understand the exposures you face and how you will be protected.

Download construction ppe safety talk
PDF safety-talks-construction-ppe.pdf (168 KB)

Find an agent

Our independent agency partners will help you compare coverages and share industry insights as you shop for the right insurance policy for your needs.

Related articles

5 wildfire mitigation strategies for businesses

Hot and dry temperatures can make for ideal wildfire conditions. Don’t let your property be another statistic. Take these wildfire reduction measures to prevent damage to your farm or business

Coverages may not be available in all states. Coverages described are subject to all the terms and conditions of the policy, including deductibles, exclusions, and limits of liability. Not all agents are authorized to write all types of insurance. Policies may be underwritten by SECURA Insurance Company or SECURA Supreme Insurance Company, affiliated companies referred to collectively as SECURA Insurance Companies. Please read the policy carefully. Any claim example is for educational and informational purposes only. The information in this document will not be used to determine the coverage of an actual claim presented. All claims are adjusted based on the relevant facts, conditions and coverages at the time of loss. For specific terms and conditions, please refer to your coverage form. Coverage is also subject to applicable deductibles and limits of coverage.

The information provided by SECURA on its Website (the Site) is for general informational purposes only. All information on the Site is provided in good faith, however SECURA makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability, or completeness of any information on the Site. The information contained on the Website is to the best of our knowledge true and accurate at the time of publication, however it is generally to be used solely for informational purposes. The materials on this website are not guaranteed to be correct, complete or up to date. You should not act or rely only on information on this website.

The Site may contain (or you may be sent through the Site links to other websites or content belonging to or originating from third parties or links to websites and features in banners or other advertising. Such external links are not investigated, monitored, or checked for accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability or completeness by SECURA. SECURA DOES NOT WARRANT, ENDORSE, GUARANTEE, OR ASSUME RESPONSIBILITIES FOR THE ACCURACY OR RELIABILITY OF ANY INFORMATION OFFERED BY THIRD-PARTY WEBSITES LINKED THROUGH THE SITE OR ANY WEBISTE OR FEATURE LINKED IN ANY BANNER OR OTHER ADVERTISING. SECURA WILL NOT BE A PARTY TO OR IN ANY WAY BE RESPONSIBLE FOR MONITORING ANY TRANSACTION BETWEEN YOU AND THIRD-PARTY PROVIDERS OF PRODUCTS OR SERVICES.


SECURA would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time or accurate.

SECURA and any provider of the data contained in this website will not accept liability for any loss of damage as a result of your reliance on the information contained within this website.