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.
OSHA requires that employers protect their employees from workplace hazards that can cause injury. Appropriate clothing & Personal protective equipment, commonly referred to as "PPE", is equipment worn to minimize exposure to a variety of hazards. Examples of PPE include such items as long pants, gloves, sturdy work boots, eye protection, protective hearing devices (earplugs, muffs), hard hats, respirators, and full body suits.
Controlling a hazard at its source is the best protection. 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 is recommended. For example, building a barrier between the hazard and the workers is an engineering control; changing the way in which employees perform their work is a work practice control. When engineering, work practice and administrative controls are not feasible or do not provide sufficient protection, personal protective equipment must be provided, and its use ensured.
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.
OSHA requires employers to establish minimum requirements to protect workers from the hazards of their task. In order to maintain compliance at a minimum all workers must use clothing appropriate to protect from general hazards such as scratches to the body and legs by requiring the wearing of a shirt that covers the torso, upper arm and shoulder, long pants that prevent burns, abrasions, and lacerations to the legs and sturdy work boots that protect the feet from the rough terrain encountered on projects.
Both employers and employees must understand and do the following:
* Know the basics to conduct a hazard assessment of the workplace.
* Select appropriate PPE for a variety of circumstances.
* Understand what kind of training is needed in the proper use and care of PPE.
* Understand the types of PPE.
In general, employers are responsible for:
* Performing a "hazard assessment" of the workplace to identify and control physical and health hazards.
* Maintaining PPE, including replacing worn or damaged PPE.
* Periodically reviewing, updating and evaluating the effectiveness of the PPE program.
* Identifying and providing appropriate PPE for employees.
* Training employees in the use and care of the PPE.
In general, employees should:
* Properly wear PPE Care for, clean, and maintain PPE.
* Attend training sessions on PPE Inform a supervisor of the need to repair or replace PPE.
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