Personal Protective Equipment

If you’re unable to eliminate or minimize a safety hazard in your workplace through engineering controls or the use of safe work practices, you’ll need to ensure that workers have and use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect themselves from that hazard. So it’s important that workers understand their responsibilities as to PPE.

Ear Plugs are Important!

  • Use earplugs or earmuffs to protect you from loud noises
  • Long-term exposure to 80-85 decibels or more can cause hearing loss without protection. It is not recommended to be exposed to 100 decibels without any protection for more than 15 minutes.

Examples of decibel levels of common sounds:

  • Aircraft takeoff: 180
  • Lawnmower: 90
  • Chainsaw: 110
  • Amplified music: 110
  • Normal conversation: 60

Eye Protection

  • Eye hazards include metal slivers, dust, wood chips, nails and staples. To protect yourself you should wear glasses, goggles or face shields.
  • Make sure that eye protection is adjustable so that it can fit properly and have good coverage for your eyes.

Hand Protection

  • Make sure that you are wearing the proper gloves for the task since some gloves are designed for certain activities and may not protect you well enough when used for another task.

Types of gloves and their uses:

  • Leather, canvas or metal mesh – can protect against cuts or burns
  • Fabric and coated fabric – more general protection from dirt, chafing and coated gloves provide slip resistance. Not recommended for rough, sharp or heavy materials.

Head protection includes wearing a helmet or hard hat to protect from impact, electrical shock or burns. Body protection includes coveralls, vests, aprons and full body suits to protect from cuts, burns as well as impact from tools or machinery.

Supervisor Responsibility:

  • Shall regularly monitor workers for correct use and care of PPE
  • Obtain/provide follow-up training if required to ensure each worker has adequate skill, knowledge, and ability to use PPE.
  • Shall enforce PPE safety rules.

Employee Responsibility:

  • Workers must wear the required PPE. The worker shall wear or use, as the case may be, the individual or collective protective means and equipment. Wearing of required PPE is a condition of employment.
  • Inspect the equipment before use.
  • Complete a worksite hazard assessment card before starting work.
  • Recording and reporting defective equipment or malfunction to the supervisor or DSS.
  • Reporting changes in exposure to hazardous conditions that might require a follow-up assessment of the task for PPE.
  • Take reasonable steps to prevent damage to the PPE.