Hazards exist in every workplace in many different forms: sharp edges, falling objects, flying sparks, chemicals, noise and other potentially dangerous situations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that employers protect their employees from workplace hazards that can cause injury. Controlling a hazard at its source is the best way to protect employees. Depending on the hazard or workplace conditions, OSHA recommends the use of engineering or work practice controls to manage or eliminate hazards to the greatest extent possible.
For example, building a barrier between the hazard and the employees is an engineering control; changing the way in which employees perform their work is a work practice control. When engineering, work practice and administrative controls are not feasible or do not provide sufficient protection, employers must provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to their employees and ensure its use. Personal protective equipment, commonly referred to as “PPE”, is equipment worn to minimize exposure to a variety of hazards.
Examples of PPE include such items as gloves, foot and eye protection, protective hearing devices (earplugs, muffs) hard hats, respirators and full body suits. This guide will help both employers and employees do the following: 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. The information in this guide is general in nature and does not address all workplace hazards or PPE requirements.
The information, methods and procedures in this guide are based on the OSHA requirements for PPE as set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 29 CFR 1910. 132 (General requirements); 29 CFR 1910. 133 (Eye and face protection); 29 CFR 1910. 135 (Head protection); 29 CFR 1910. 136 (Foot protection); 29 CFR 1910. 137 (Electrical protective equipment); 29 CFR 1910. 138 (Hand protection); and regulations that cover the construction industry, at 29 CFR 1926. 95 (Criteria for personal protective equipment); 29 CFR 1926. 96 (Occupational foot protection); 29 CFR 1926. 100 (Head protection); 29 CFR 1926. 101
(Hearing protection); and 29 CFR 1926. 102 (Eye and face protection); and for the maritime industry at 29 CFR 1915. 152 (General requirements); 29 CFR 1915. 153 (Eye and face protection); 29 CFR 1915. 155 (Head protection); 29 CFR 1915. 156 (Foot protection); and 29 CFR 1915. 157 (Hand and body protection). OSHA requires the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce employee exposure to hazards when engineering and administrative controls are not feasible or effective in reducing these exposures to acceptable levels. Employers are required to determine if PPE should be used to protect their workers.
If PPE is to be used, a PPE program should be implemented. This program should address the hazards present; the selection, maintenance, and use of PPE; the training of employees; and monitoring of the program to ensure its ongoing effectiveness. PPE is addressed in specific standards for the general industry, shipyard employment, marine terminals, and long shoring . The Requirement for PPE To ensure the greatest possible protection for employees in the workplace, the cooperative efforts of both employers and employees will help in establishing and maintaining a safe and healthful work environment.
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, and
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. Appendix A at page 40 lists those standards that require the employer to provide PPE and those that require the employer to provide PPE at no cost to the employee. United States department of labor Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez