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Four-Step Plan for Better Deployment of PPE

Original article from http://safetydailyadvisor.blr.com

By Chris Kilbourne

Here’s a simple four-step plan to improve PPE deployment in your workplace and help ensure that employees always use the right PPE for the hazards they face.

1.   Assess. Section 1910.132(d)(1) of the OSHA standard says that employers must “assess the workplace to determine if hazards are present, or are likely to be present, which necessitate the use of personal protective equipment.”

Think head-to-toe protection and be sure to consider all the hazards—falling objects, chemical exposures, flying objects, sharp objects, and rolling or pinching objects—as well as all the protections—hard hats, safety glasses and goggles, respirators, gloves, safety shoes, and other clothing and equipment. The better you identify and understand the impact of specific hazards, the better able you will be to take the next step and select the most appropriate PPE.

2.   Select. Section 1910.132(d)(1) also says that if such hazards are present—or are likely to be—you must:

  • Select, and have affected employees use, the types of PPE that will protect them from the hazards you have identified
  • Communicate selection decisions to employees. Select PPE that fits each affected employee properly

3.   Train. Section 1910.132(f)(1) requires you to train employees concerning each type of PPE before allowing them to perform any work requiring its use. At a minimum, your PPE training program must include the following information:

  • When PPE is necessary
  • What PPE is necessary
  • How to properly don, doff, adjust, and wear PPE
  • Limitations of the PPE
  • Proper care, maintenance, useful life, and disposal of the PPE

The regulations [1910.132(f)(3)] require you to retrain whenever:

  • Changes in the workplace render previous training obsolete
  • Changes in the types of PPE to be used render previous training obsolete
  • Inadequacies in an employee’s knowledge or use of assigned PPE indicate that the employee has not retained the requisite understanding or skill

4.   Follow up, reinforce, and enforce. You have to accept the fact that no matter what you do, a few employees will still forget to use their PPE, ignore the rules, think that PPE is for wimps, or believe that accidents happen to someone else. Daily monitoring is essential to see that employees are actually wearing their PPE. Try these suggestions to motivate your employees and keep your PPE program from going down the drain:

  • Use a behavioral approach. As you walk around the department every day, give employees positive feedback for using PPE.
  • Make it easy to get and exchange PPE. If it’s a hassle for employees to get PPE or exchange damaged or worn articles for new ones, they probably won’t bother and will opt for just not using it.

Make PPE a Priority

PPE is essential in so many jobs to protect workers from hazards that can’t be engineered out or eliminated in any other way. Without that PPE, workers could be injured, become ill, or be killed.

So you want to make sure to make PPE a safety priority and do everything possible to assure that:

  • You identify workplace hazards requiring the use of PPE
  • The best PPE is provided for each hazard
  • Employees are trained to use it properly
  • Employees are required to use it (and supervisors check daily to make sure they do)
  • PPE is replaced as necessary and new and improved PPE is purchased when available

PPE is one of the best ways to protect employees from many hazards, and OSHA is strict about enforcing its PPE standards. Find out what you need to know to protect your workers with the FREE Best Practice Report Personal Protective Equipment.You’ll learn about:

  • OSHA requirements
  • Hazard assessments
  • Employee training requirements
  • Steps for effective employee protection
  • And more

To access your FREE copy of Personal Protective Equipment, click here.