Personal Protective Equipment
Personal protective equipment, commonly referred to as "PPE", is equipment worn to minimize exposure to hazards that cause serious workplace illnesses and injuries. When engineering, work practice, and administrative controls are not feasible or do not provide sufficient protection, personal protective equipment must be provided to employees. These injuries and illnesses may result from contact with physical, electrical, chemical, radiological, mechanical, or other workplace hazards. Personal protective equipment may include items such as gloves, safety glasses, shoes/boots, earplugs or muffs, hard hats, respirators, vests, coveralls, and full body suits.
All personal protective equipment should be safely designed and constructed. PPE should have the proper markings (CE, NIOSH, etc.) indicating that the PPE is certified and meets all testing and safety regulations. To ensure you are getting quality PPE, buy from a safety distributor like DiVal Safety who can help you out and pick a brand or type of PPE that fits your specific needs. If you ever need to replace a part belonging to your personal protective equipment (for example, a strap on a respirator) make sure that you are getting the strap from the same brand that manufactured the item.
PPE should be properly maintained and cleaned to ensure that it functions properly, and does not create a potential hazard. Everything should fit comfortably, to encourage workers to use it. If the PPE does not fit properly, it can make the difference between being protected or dangerously exposed. If multiple items of PPE need to be worn (for example, safety glasses and a respirator) make sure that they can be used together. Remember to check that the current PPE is still appropriate if anything on the job changes.
Employers are not only required to purchase and issue PPE to their employees, but they must also train each worker on subjects relating to the PPE, such as:
- When it is necessary to wear it
- What kind is necessary
- How to properly put it on, adjust, wear and take it off
- The limitations of the equipment, and what it will protect against
- Proper care, maintenance, storage, and disposal of the equipment
If PPE is to be used, a PPE program needs to be written and implemented. This program should address the hazards present, along with the selection, maintenance, and use of PPE. The program also must cover the training of employees, and the monitoring of the program to ensure its ongoing effectiveness.
For more general PPE information, check out this OSHA fact sheet.
Contact DiVal Safety's Training and Compliance department today to help you write and maintain your PPE program by calling Judy Trent at 800-343-1354!