Personal protective equipment (PPE) is worn to assist a person from physical and health hazards. PPE could be considered a barrier between a hazard and the person, but safety guidelines and proper safety practices are the foundation of protection before PPE. Once the risks and information are understood on how to minimize harm and danger through compliant safety training, it is then the next step to learn about PPE. Effective use of PPE also involves its own training on appropriately donning (putting on), wearing, doffing (taking off), and disposing of PPE.
Four Key Steps for PPE and Safety:
- Understand the types of PPE.
- Know the basics of conducting a “hazard assessment” of the workplace.
- Select appropriate PPE for a variety of circumstances.
- Understand what kind of training is needed in the proper use and care of PPE.
Examples of PPE:
- Safety glasses and shoes
- Earplugs or muffs
- Hard hats
- Coveralls, vests and full body suits
Workers have a right to a safe workplace. Injuries and illnesses may result from contact with chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical, or other workplace hazards. The law requires employers to provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces. Thus employers are fully responsible for assessing their workplace for hazards, providing employees with appropriate protective equipment and the training to use it, requiring proper use of that equipment, and conveying all workplace hazards and safety measures in written workplace hazard communications. OSHA provides all necessary resources to achieve safety compliance, so visit the OSHA website for additional information.