Personal protective equipment, or PPE, is designed to protect employees from serious workplace injuries or illnesses resulting from contact with chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical or other workplace hazards. Besides face shields, safety eyewear, hard hats and safety shoes, PPE includes a variety of devices and garments, such as coveralls, gloves, vests, earplugs and respirators.
In order to know what kinds of PPE workers need, it is important to know what kinds of hazards they may encounter on the job. A thorough hazard assessment of the workplace will help to determine what hazards are present that require the use of PPE. Once hazards are identified, supervisors must select protective equipment that fits properly and then communicate PPE expectations and procedures to all workers.
Employees required to wear PPE must be trained on the following:
❑ How to use, maintain, and dispose of PPE properly
❑ When PPE is necessary
❑ What kind of PPE is necessary
❑ The limitations of PPE
❑ How to put on, adjust, wear and take off PPE
PPE can protect workers from head to toe, and protect YOU from compliance-related fines and shut downs. All PPE should be of safe design and construction, and be maintained in a clean and reliable fashion. Most protective devices are available in multiple sizes and care should be taken to select the proper size for each employee. Taking fit and comfort into consideration will encourage employee use. If several different types of PPE are worn together, make sure they are compatible. If PPE does not fit properly, it can mean the difference between being safely covered or dangerously exposed.