Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) use is vital in an environment where workers are exposed to hazards. There are several types of industries in which workers are exposed to various types of hazards. If employees wear or use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) properly, they can be protected from these hazards.
Usually, the use of PPE starts when administrative controls, engineering controls, and work practices cannot eliminate a hazard. For example, welders are required to wear safety shields or goggles while performing their duties because the hazard of ultra violet rays can’t be controlled through administrative controls, engineering controls, or work practices.
PPE- Regulations (Standards – 29 CFR) – 1910.132
Protective equipment, including personal protective equipment for eyes, face, head, and extremities, protective clothing, respiratory devices, and protective shields and barriers, shall be provided, used, and maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition wherever it is necessary by reason of hazards of processes or environment, chemical hazards, radiological hazards, or mechanical irritants encountered in a manner capable of causing injury or impairment in the function of any part of the body through absorption, inhalation or physical contact, according to the OSHA, the U.S. Department of Labor.
Common types of PPE
Some of the most common types of PPE include:
o Oxygen Mask
o Safety Vest
Employers are responsible for providing correct, free-of-charge, hygienic and effective PPE to all of their employees who are exposed to uncontrollable hazards. Employers should proactively assess hazards, and should consult with an expert when necessary. Remember that lack of knowledge is not an excuse.
According to the Occupational and Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), it is compulsory that all employees should wear proper PPE when they are likely to be exposed to a hazard.
Once an employer has provided complete knowledge and training of PPE to his/her employees then it is the employees’ responsibility to wear PPE properly whenever they are exposed to a hazard.
Remember that if an employer has provided PPE to an employee but he/she is not wearing it, then the employer is not responsible in the case of an accident. According to the regulation, employees who have been briefed on the rules are responsible for their personal implementation.