PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
Hazards exist in every workplace in many different forms: sharp edges, falling objects, flying sparks, chemicals, noise and a myriad of other potentially dangerous situations.
Controlling a hazard at its source is the best way to protect employees. Depending on the hazard or workplace conditions, the use of engineering or work practice controls to manage or eliminate hazards to the greatest extent possible.
When 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 (PPE) refers to protective clothing, helmets, goggles, or other garments or equipment designed to protect the wearer's body from injury and other hazards.
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.
■ 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.
The hazard assessment should survey of the facility to develop a list of potential hazards in the following basic hazard categories: ■ Impact,
■ Compression (roll-over),
■ Harmful dust,
■ Light (optical) radiation, and
In addition to noting the basic layout of the facility and reviewing any history of occupational illnesses or injuries, things to look for during the survey include: ■ Sources of electricity.
■ Sources of motion such as machines or processes where movement may exist that could result in an impact between personnel and equipment. ■ Sources of high temperatures that could result in burns, eye injuries or fire.
■ Types of chemicals used in the workplace.
■ Sources of harmful dusts.
■ Sources of light radiation, such as welding, brazing, cutting, furnaces, heat treating, high intensity lights, etc. ■ The potential for falling or dropping objects.
■ Sharp objects that could poke, cut, stab or puncture.
■ Biologic hazards such as blood or other potentially infected material.
Some of the most common types of eye and face protection
include the following:
■ Safety spectacles. These protective eyeglasses have safety frames constructed of metal or plastic and impact-resistant lenses. Side shields are available on some models. ■ Goggles. These are tight-fitting eye protection that completely cover the eyes, eye sockets and the facial area immediately surrounding the eyes and provide protection from impact, dust and splashes. Some goggles will fit over corrective lenses. ■ Welding shields. Constructed of vulcanized fiber or fiberglass and fitted with a filtered lens, welding shields protect eyes from burns caused by infrared or intense radiant light; they also protect both the eyes and face from flying sparks, metal spatter and slag chips produced during welding, brazing, soldering and cutting operations. ■ Laser safety goggles. These specialty goggles protect against intense concentrations of light produced by lasers. The type of laser safety goggles an employer chooses will depend upon the equipment and operating conditions in the workplace. ■ Face shields. These transparent sheets of plastic extend from the eyebrows to below the chin and across the entire width of the employee’s head.
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