Written by Steve Hudgik
Safety equipment, known as personal protective equipment (PPE), is required by OSHA to reduce employee exposure to hazards when engineering and administrative controls are not feasible or effective in reducing exposure to safety hazards to acceptable levels. Employers are required to determine if safety equipment should be used to protect their workers.
If safety equipment is to be used, a PPE program should be implemented. This program needs to address the hazards that are present; the selection, maintenance, and use of all safety equipment; the training of employees; and monitoring of the safety program to ensure it is effective in protecting people.
OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.132 requires employers to assess the workplace to determine if hazards are present, or are likely to be present, which necessitate the use of safety equipment. Employers must first institute all feasible engineering and work practice controls to eliminate and reduce hazards before using PPE to protect against hazards
Examples of PPE include:
Thousands of people are blinded each year from work-related eye injuries that could have been prevented with the proper selection and use of eye and face protection. Eye injuries alone cost more than $300 million per year in lost production time, medical expenses, and worker compensation.
Eye protection is used to protect the eyes from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation. The most common types of eye protection are:
A respirator is a protective device that covers the nose and mouth, or the entire face or head, to guard the wearer against hazardous atmospheres. Respirators are required when people need to work in environments with insufficient oxygen or where hazardous or harmful dusts, fogs, smokes, mists, fumes, gases, vapors, or sprays are present.
Respirators may be:
Tight-fitting - these may be half masks, which cover the mouth and nose, or full face pieces that cover the face from the hairline to below the chin.
Loose-fitting - these are hoods or helmets that cover the head completely.
In addition, there are two major classes of respirators:
Air-purifying - these use filters to remove contaminants from the air.
Atmosphere-supplying - these use an uncontaminated source to provide clean, breathable air.
You must provide head protection for your employees if:
The head protection that is used must be appropriate for the hazards that are present. In general the head protection must:
Foot and leg protection is used to protect against hazards such as:
Types of foot and leg protection safety equipment:
Gloves and arm protection are used to protect the hands and arms. The nature of the hazard(s) and the work to be performed will determine the type of gloves and arm protection that needs to be used.
There are a number of different types of gloves, with each designed to protect against certain types of hazards. These include:
Workplace hazards that could injure employees' bodies include the following:
The types of available body protection devices include:
The types of materials use for protective clothing include:
Hearing protection is required when:
Common types of hearing protection include various styles of ear plugs and earmuffs.
OSHA requires that a safety equipment (PPE) program be implemented to systematically assess the hazards in the workplace and select the appropriate safety equipment to protect workers from those hazards.
As part of this safety equipment program, you must do the following:
Labels and signs are an integral part of using safety equipment. They provide warning and reminders when safety equipment is needed. They identify safety equipment and provide checklists for inspection and proper use of PPE. They warn people, who are not using required PPE, away from safety and health hazards.
The best way to get the labels and signs you need is by having a DuraLabel printer. With DuraLabel you not only get the best printers, you get the best supplies, support and service. For example, DuraLabel has the only tough-tested vinyl that is backed by a five year warranty of the labels you make. And with DuraLabel all current customers always get free support – there is never a need for a service contract.
Call 1-888-326-9244. today and ask about a DuraLabel printer for making your safety and health signs.
The information presented in this document was obtained from sources that we deem reliable; Graphic Products does not guarantee accuracy or completeness. Graphic Products, Inc. makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied. Users of this document should consult municipal, state, and federal code and/or verify all information with the appropriate regulatory agency.
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