PPE is designed to protect employees from serious workplace injury or illness resulting from contact with chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical, or other workplace hazards that cannot be eliminated. PPE is a supplementary form of protection when hazards have not been controlled through engineering or administrative controls. PPE includes a variety of garments and equipment such as goggles, coveralls, gloves, vests, earplugs, and respirators. PPE, when used properly, protects against hazards but does not eliminate them. Individual standards may require specific PPE.
PPE Assessment and Requirements
A PPE assessment is an evaluation of your workplace that helps you determine what hazards your employees are exposed to and what PPE they need to protect themselves. A PPE assessment should include:
• The jobs (or tasks) that your employees do
• The hazards your employees are exposed to
• Where the hazards are located
• The likelihood that those hazards could injure your employees
• The severity of a potential injury
• The types of PPE necessary to protect your employees from those hazards
Why should you do a PPE assessment?
There are three reasons:
1. A hazard assessment will help you find hazards at your workplace.
2. A hazard assessment will help you determine what personal protective equipment your employees need for protection.
3. OSHA’s requires that you do one.
What are OSHA’s requirements for PPE assessments?
If you are a general industry, construction, or agricultural employer you must determine if your workplace has hazards that you cannot eliminate or control without PPE. If there are such hazards, you must:
• Select the PPE that protects your employees from the hazards
• Communicate your selection decisions to each employee
• Ensure that the PPE fits each employee
• Require your employees to use their PPE when they are exposed to the hazards
General industry employers must also prepare a document that says they have done the hazard assessment. The document must include:
• A heading that says the document is a “certification” of the hazard assessment
• The name of the workplace evaluated
• The name of the person certifying the hazard assessment was completed
• The date of the hazard assessment
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