Personal Protection Equipment in Workplace Safety

PPE… Very important topic these days.

Personal protective equipment, or PPE, is designed to protect workers from serious workplace injuries or illnesses resulting from contact with workplace hazards of any variety.

Besides face shields, safety glasses, hard hats, and safety shoes, protective equipment includes a variety of device and garments such as goggles, coveralls, gloves, vests, earplugs, etc. But where do the responsibilities fall?

In general, employers are responsible for:
Performing a “hazard assessment” of the workplace to identify and control physical and health hazards.
Identifying and providing appropriate PPE for employees.
Training employees in the use and care of the PPE.
Maintaining PPE, including replacing worn or damaged PPE.
Periodically reviewing, updating and evaluating the effectiveness of the PPE program.

In general, employees should:
Properly wear PPE,
Attend training sessions on PPE
Care for, clean and maintain PPE
Inform a supervisor of the need to repair or replace PPE

Specific requirements for PPE are presented in many different OSHA standards, published in 29 CFR. Some standards require that employers provide PPE at no cost to the employee while others simply state that the employer must provide PPE.