Personal protective equipment, abbreviated as PPE, are used to minimise hazards exposure to avoid serious workplace illnesses and injuries. Some common injuries will result from contact with radiological, electrical, chemical, and mechanical workplace hazards. PPEs may include things like safety glasses, safety shoes, gloves, and full body workwear.
All PPEs should be safely constructed and designed and, most importantly, should come from a reputable manufacturer like Engelbert Strauss. Employers can get a wide variety of professional work, outdoor, and safety wear from Engelbert Strauss’s online shop. It is the leading safety workwear and PPE manufacturer in Europe. You can make your order and get top-quality tools, work equipment, and safety workwear from Engelbert Strauss online shop.
Even though employees need PPEs the most, employers play an essential role in the provision and use of PPEs. It is the employer’s responsibility to provide and ensure the use of PPEs in the organisation. Also, employers should make sure all PPEs are used effectively and properly through the training of employees. If an organisation is to use PPEs, it should implement some PPE programs. Employers need to make sure the programs set forth address important issues like the proper use of PPEs, monitoring the effectiveness of the programs, maintenance, and possible hazards in the workplace.
PPEs are addressed in OSHA standards for general construction and industry. OSHA expects all employers to meet the required professional standards of PPEs for effective use.
Do Employers Have To Provide PPE?
The answer is yes. According to OSHA, all employers must protect employees from workplace hazards that can cause illnesses or injuries. The best way an employer can protect their employees is by controlling hazards at the source. However, most workplaces are feasible; hence there is no sufficient protection from hazards. Employers are obligated to provide PPEs to employees and ensure their use.
Employers Have Some Obligations to Carry Before Buying PPEs
• Hazard assessment to identify any physical and health hazards in the workplace.
• Identification and provision of the right PPEs for employees.
• Provision of training on PPE use and care.
• PPE maintenance, including the replacement and repair of damaged or worn-out PPEs.
• Constant updating, evaluating, and reviewing PPE effectiveness.
Employers have the responsibility of paying for PPEs as stated in the new OSHA. Excluding a few exceptions, employers are required by OSHA laws to pay for PPEs used to ensure they comply with the set professional standards. Therefore, employers should not expect workers to buy and pay for their PPEs. However, workers can use their own PPEs voluntarily, and employers should ensure that they comply with the standards to provide maximum protection from underlying workplace hazards. For some of the PPEs that can be worn outdoors and out of the workplace, like prescription eyewear, they are not the employer’s responsibility to pay for. Also, when an employee has intentionally damaged or lost the PPE and needs immediate replacement, the employer is entitled to ask the responsible employee to pay.
Worker regulation state that all employers should ensure their employees have the correct workwear if exposed to workplace risks.
Does The PPE Protect The Wearer Against The Risks They Will Face?
According to the management of health and safety at work regulation 1999, employers need to follow a particular hierarchy of controlling and preventing workplace hazards. Personal protective equipment should come into play as the last option. PPEs are designed to help the wearer of the risk but not to control the situation. Although PPEs are supposed to protect the wearer, the employer needs to encourage the prevention and control approach before landing on PPE.
There are a number of issues that can arise when employers skip steps that can eliminate the use of PPEs.
• PPE will only protect the wearer, while controlling and preventing hazards will protect everyone in the workplace.
• It is easy to achieve maximum PPE protection level in practice, which is challenging in real-life situations.
• PPE for men and women might cause some discomfort since it can introduce serious hazards.
• If the PPE is not maintained correctly, not suitable, used improperly, and fitted incorrectly, it can be ineffective.
• PPE can restrict the wearer by regulating vision or mobility or by causing muscular-skeletal issues.
• Also, PPE can cause discomfort on the wearer leading to being discarded.
• PPE may fail by not fitting correctly. Most PPE manufacturers don’t consider the reality of men and women wearing them. Different workers have unique structures; for example, people with beards will not benefit from some PPEs that don’t cover their whole face.
However, PPEs are very important as the last resort as they come in handy when all other measures have failed. Therefore, they have an important role in the prevention of many workplace injuries and illnesses.
How To Correctly Identify Hazards and Use The Correct PPE?
When all measures have failed, it is not advisable to provide extra protection since it is the duty of employers to provide PPE. Organisation departments are responsible for hazard identification and assessment of the workplace for hazards. The right way of hazard identification is by using PPEs, ensuring proper wearing of PPEs, ensuring adequate PPE provision and maintenance. In PPE hazard assessment activities, PPE training is the first aspect.
All employees are entitled to PPE training.
How Do You Maintain PPE?
Cleaning and maintaining PPEs is vital in ensuring their effectiveness and proper operation over time. Each PPE has a specific standard that defines its care and maintenance practice. Most PPEs require soap, wet cloth, and either warm or cold water to clean. Before storing your PPE, it is essential to ensure it is dry. Therefore, you can use a clean, dry towel to remove any wetness. It is good to keep PPEs away from direct sunlight.
Before taking any PPE to storage, you can check for any damaged parts or cracked surfaces. In case of any damage, you should either repair or replace it. If the damage is beyond repair or it can affect its efficiency in protecting the wearer. For PPEs like earmuffs, you need to avoid wetting them with any liquid. You can use a damp cloth to wipe the surface before drying.
In taking care and maintaining of PPEs, both employees and employers play an essential part. Employers’ duty is to ensure that PPEs are available in good condition for use while employees ensure the PPEs stay in that good condition for a long period. For employees to take care of the PPEs, they need to follow the set rules and maintenance practices established by the employer and manufacturer. Therefore, before buying PPEs, it is important for the employer to train employees on the dos and don’ts of maintaining and caring for PPEs.