When engineering and administrative controls are not effective at controlling hazards in the workplace, the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) protects workers from injury. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires all workers to use PPE whenever they are exposed to any potential risk. Having a checklist for workers to follow helps them know what the proper PPE is for each situation.
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Eye and Face Protection
Any workers who operate in an area with a potential risk of flying particles, dust, hazardous liquids or light rays must wear eye protection. Workers in environments with flying particles, hazardous liquids and dust should wear goggles or safety glasses. Welders and mechanics should protect their eyes and faces from hot flying sparks and intense light rays with a welding mask or welding goggles in any environment where welding is performed.
Workers with exposure to dust or any hazardous vapours must wear respiratory protection. Large particle hazards such as drywall dust require the use of disposable dust masks. Small particle or chemical fume hazards require the use of a NIOSH face mask. NIOSH masks, also known as N95 facepiece respirators, are custom fitted masks that filter out extremely tiny particles that could potentially cause respiratory damage. Workers with potential exposure to contagious airborne bacteria and viruses must wear and have training for a respirator.
Workers who operate in any environment with a danger of falling or flying objects or risk of fall must wear head protection. Helmets and hardhats offer excellent protection in most situations. Workers who have hair that can become caught in machines must wear hair nets or other restraints to prevent injury.
Workers at risk of hand injury from falling objects, sharp edges and chemical or biological hazards must wear hand protection. Latex or nitrile gloves offer adequate hand protection from most non-solvent chemical hazards and blood-borne pathogens. Heavy-duty rubber gloves protect against acids and solvents. Leather or synthetic "work gloves" protect the hands from injury due to sharp objects or edges, as well as falling objects.
Workers who operate in any environment with a risk of heavy falling objects or any type of foot injury must wear protective shoes or boots. Steel-toe boots protect feet from injury due to crushing or penetrating heavy objects. Workers are required to wear slip-resistant shoes if operating in any area with slick or wet floors.
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