PPE stands for Personal Protective Equipment
Personal protective equipment, more commonly referred to as PPE, is required for many farm tasks. It is important to purchase quality products that meet safety standards and are appropriate for work you will be doing. It is equally important to purchase products that fit well and are as comfortable as possible. If the equipment is not comfortable, you or your employee will be less likely to wear it.
Working with chemicals
Labels of crop-protection chemicals specify the types of PPE you will need. Generally, at a minimum, you should wear goggles and unlined chemical gloves when handling chemicals. You should use a chemical-resistant apron and face shield while mixing and loading. With some chemicals, you may need to wear some type of protective suit. You might need a respirator — a dust/mist respirator for a dry chemical, or a cartridge-type respirator for filtering vapors. Remember to purchase replacements for disposable respirators or cartridges and keep them in a convenient place.
Working with Anhydrous Ammonia
When applying anhydrous ammonia, you need unvented goggles (to prevent vapors as well as liquid from reaching the eyes) and heavy, lined chemical gloves that are resistant to the ammonia and insulated against the cold. The law requires anhydrous nurse tanks to carry a 5-gallon reservoir of clean water, to flush eyes or skin in case of an exposure. Make sure it’s there when you pick up the tank from your supplier. In addition, carry a small pocket-sized water bottle at on your person at all times. If you are exposed, you can use this water to begin flushing your eyes while you are going to the 5-gallon reservoir.
For other hazards
You should wear eye protection while working in your shop or whenever there is a possibility that flying material could hit your face and injure your eyes. Use some kind of hearing protection while using open-station tractors or when using loud tools like chainsaws and grinders. There are many types and styles of eye and hearing protection available. Wear steel-toed shoes to protect your feet. Use sunscreen or wide-brimmed hats to protect your skin from burning and the long-term risk of developing skin cancer.
Where to purchase PPE
It is important to purchase good quality products that fit well and do the job properly. Without the proper fit, you’ll be reducing the protection provided by the equipment. Local farm supply or safety supply stores may have the PPE you need. Excellent catalog suppliers carry large selections of products and offer fast service. Two excellent catalogs are “Gempler’s” and “Lab Safety Supply.” Both of these catalogs are readily available with just a toll-free call. The Gempler’s “master catalog” is aimed at the agricultural market, while the Lab Safety “safety supplies catalog” is one of the largest in the nation and serves all industries. The phone number for Gempler’s is 800-382-8473. The number for Lab Safety Supply is 800-356-0783. (Note: Mention of these suppliers does not imply endorsement or imply superiority to other suppliers.)