In any risky job, it is highly important to stay on track with your PPE. If your PPE is lacking, your safety, co-workers safety and employee safety is on the line. Being satisfied with less than sufficient PPE could open your company up to lawsuits and cause other problems.
Before you work on your PPE policy, you need to ensure that you know the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA has put together guidelines and regulations for the type of equipment that has to be used under certain circumstances.
Understanding the kind of risks that are in your workplace is necessary before you put a policy in place for your workers. While it is true that some workplaces are going to need different PPE than others, there are some things that are standard and should be common knowledge. In this article, we will share ten things your PPE must have.
1. Protective Clothing
If a worker is working around hazardous substances like hot oil, hot water, welding sparks, etc. then protective clothing like a coverall is important to have on the list of must wear PPE. There are different types of protective clothing that you can use depending on the substances in the workplace. Make sure the right type of protective clothing is being used to properly protect the whole body from injuries, burn or other dangers.
2. Hard Hats
Keeping the head safe is a must since the most important part of the body is the head. Ensuring hard hats are worn in dangerous areas will make sure the head is protected at all time. Hard hats should have chin straps to make sure the hard hat stays on even if the crew member trips or takes a fall.
3. Safety Gloves
In area that dangerous chemicals are being handled or even substances that irritate the skin are worked with, safety gloves need to be used at all times. Depending on the situation that you are dealing with, you may need gloves that are resistant to hot surfaces, welding gloves or special gloves for working around chemicals.
4. Safety Shoes
Safety shoes are one of the first things that come to mind when you think of PPE. Steel toed shoes keep workers from breaking their toes from objects falling on their feet or from kicking a hard surface.
5. Safety Goggles or Safety Glasses
Since eyes are extremely sensitive, you need to protect them with either safety goggles or safety glasses. Depending on what tasks a worker is going to take on, they may only need glasses, goggles or special goggles for welding.
6. Ear Protection (Plugs or Muffs)
In factories or other loud areas, the sound can get well beyond the recommended decibels of a safe listening environment. Even if a worker is only exposed to the high sound for a short time, it can lead to headaches, pain and even long-term loss of hearing. Using ear protection like ear plugs or ear muffs can keep workers from dealing with these challenges.
7. Safety Harness
If workers are going to be working in environments where a fall might cause serious injury, a safety harness is important. Safety harnesses can help employees safely reach areas that might otherwise have been impossible to reach.
8. Shield for Welding
Welding can be a dangerous job and requires special PPE like a welding shield. These shields protect the eyes from coming in direct contact with harmful ultraviolet rays that come from the sparks of the welding process.
9. Chemical Suit
If a worker is required to work around or handle chemicals, a chemical suit should be worn to avoid the chemicals coming in contact with human skin.
10. Face Mask
If hazardous particles are inhaled, they can be damaging to the body. There are many jobs that require workers to be around things like paint, insulation, dust, smoke and other dangerous substances that are in the air.
Always Use Quality PPE
While it might seem like a good idea for the bottom line to buy your PPE product in bulk from a discounted source, you need to make sure all of your PPE is up to quality standards. If you use PPE that is less than the quality needed to protect your employees, people could get hurt, and your company could stand to lose a great deal of money in a settlement.
The amount of money you will save by investing in high-quality PPE will outweigh the money you put into taking good care of your employees.
Once you have your PPE policy in place and everyone understands what he or she need to wear for their position, it is still important to train your employees and show them exactly what is expected of them and how to implement. Training your employees on the importance of the PPE that will be wearing and how to properly use it is a key part of the process.
PPE is Your Responsibility
It is the employer’s responsibility to provide PPE to the employees. Many employers provide a certain amount of money to go to the employee to buy their own PPE, and others provide them directly to their employees. Whichever way you decide to go with your PPE policy, it is legally the employer’s responsibility to provide PPE to ensure the employee’s safety.
As you are considering what you need for your PPE, making sure that you pay attention to OSHA’s guidelines and requirements are only part of the process. You also want to make sure that you are going above and beyond to lead your employees into a safe environment and not just doing the minimum so that your business is legally protected.
Taking care of your employees isn’t only the morally ethical thing to do, but it is the financially smart thing to do. The less you have people out of work with injuries; the more productive people are able to be which means that you are going to get more accomplished.