The use of P.P.E.

Written by rebecca s. mcclinton
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The use of P.P.E.
Some P.P.E. equipment (John Howard/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

P.P.E. (personal protective equipment) is a requirement for employees that are routinely exposed to hazardous materials. OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) requires that employers actively protect their employees by providing them with the appropriate P.P.E. required for them to perform their jobs safely. There are various types of personal protective equipment suited to each hazardous task.

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Employer requirements

Per OSHA, employers are to perform routine assessments of the work environment to determine potential health hazards. Based on the hazards identified, the employer must then purchase and maintain an adequate, high-quality supply of appropriate personal protective equipment. Employers are also responsible for providing training for employees on how to use P.P.E. As with any safety measure, the employer should perform regular evaluations of his P.P.E. system to determine its overall effectiveness.

Employee requirements

Per OSHA, employees should make sure they fully understand the requirements and instructions for wearing P.P.E. and where to locate the supply of P.P.E. They should understand how to properly take care of the equipment and have knowledge of how to immediately inform their supervisors of damaged or lost equipment.

Eye protection

Eye protection is a common form of P.P.E. and is used in many different industries. Electricians, carpenters, plumbers, loggers, tree trimmers and surgeons are all required to wear eye protection. Regular glasses and contact lenses are not sufficient for P.P.E. use. Goggles, face masks, safety glasses and welding shields are examples of eye protection.

Head and ear protection

Head protection is another common type of P.P.E. Many of the types of jobs listed above also require protective head equipment such as hard hats and welding masks. Hard hats have three classes---A, B and C---and each is suited for specific tasks. Ear protection is P.P.E. for use with employees in work environments where loud noise has the potential of causing hearing loss and damage.

Hand and arm protection

One of the more frequently used forms of P.P.E. is for the hands and arms. Gloves---surgical, latex and non-latex---are all forms of P.P.E. Employees in the health-care industry are the biggest users of this type of hand protection. In other industries, such as welding, electrical and landscaping, workers use heavier gloves made of special materials to protect themselves from injuries.

Foot and leg protection

Foot and leg wear is another form of P.P.E. Employees who are at risk of being hurt by rolling objects, crushing objects, hot or cold temperatures or chemical exposure should wear this type of P.P.E. Leggings, safety shoes, leg guards and toe guards are all examples of foot protection.

Body protection

There are different types of body protection, each with a specific function. One form of protection is used by employees who are routinely exposed to (or have the potential to be exposed to) bodily fluids such as blood and urine, radiation and hazardous chemicals. There are also types of body P.P.E. that protect employees from extreme temperature and also from any potential impacts from machinery or tools.

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