PPE – Personal Protective Equipment
Personal protective equipment is used in daily work activities to protect us from hazards that can not be eliminated with engineering controls.
OSHA gives employers responsibility for ensuring that employees wear appropriate PPE to reduce exposure to hazardous conditions such as toxic atmospheres, falling, eye injuries, burns, noise exposure, falling objects etc.
Your safety is the purpose of personal protective equipment and each of us must follow our employer’s safety requirements and wear the appropriate gear.
One form of Personal protective equipment is a hard hat. This safety device provides us with an impact resistant covering that protects our head. We know that all of our body functions are controlled by our brain, so don’t take chances — wear your hard hat at all times!
Many other forms of PPE are available to you. Ear plugs or ear muffs provide hearing protection that reduces the amount of noise reaching your ear drums, thereby preserving your hearing. Steel or composite toed boots protect your toes from being crushed and respirators provide protection against toxic substances that might enter our bodies through our respiratory systems but they only work if we use them.
The eyes and face are another area that needs to be protected. There are many types and sizes of safety glasses and goggles that protect the eyes and each has a special application. Be sure you read the manufacturer’s instructions before wearing them and choose the right type. Face shields should be worn as well if potential danger exists from physical, chemical or radiation agents.
Personal Protective Equipment can be uncomfortable, bulky, or make you hot. Employees occasionally don’t wear it even though they know they may be risking injury but as a safety director/coordinator, it is your job to protect them from themselves. Any worker who fails to wear required PPE should be disciplined.
Evaluate your working conditions and define the hazards. Get the proper PPE to make for a safe workplace. An ounce of protection is worth a pound or cure.