PPE is essential to keeping your employees safe and healthy. Find everything you need to know about PPE, its different types and requirements, and standards from OSHA.
Published 12 Oct 2022
PPE stands for Personal Protective Equipment and refers to the clothing, equipment, and accessories used to protect against a variety of hazards. Working in a hazardous environment can be very dangerous, which is why employees need to wear PPE. This type of gear is designed to protect a person from potential workplace hazards.
Let’s first define OSHA, It stands for Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA has a regulation that requires employers to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to employees who are exposed to hazards
The OSHA has a standard for the use of PPE which is found in the general industry standard for personal protective equipment Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulation 29 CFR 1910.132.
According to OSHA, “Employers must provide PPE whenever employees are exposed to hazards that necessitate its use. The type and amount of PPE required will depend on the specific hazard.”
All PPE must meet some of these minimum requirements when used to effectively protect from workplace hazards:
The protective equipment or gear must have no protruding parts that could snag, puncture, or abrade the skin. It must fit well so that it does not move around or fall off.
PPE must be of the correct size for the person who will be wearing it. It must comfortable to use and fit snugly to avoid interfering with the movements of the wearer.
The materials used in PPE must be tested and found to be safe for use by humans. They must also be able durable enough to withstand the wear and tear of repeated use.
PPE must be easy to clean and disinfected so that it can be kept free and safe from contaminants, and biological hazards that could cause infection.
PPE must be distinctly marked with the manufacturer’s name, trademark, or other symbol indicating the identity of the manufacturer.
The PPE is used as a hazard control measure. It is divided into four categories or levels. These are:
These are PPEs that offer the highest level of protection from airborne diseases or skin infections and include items such as:
When selecting level A PPE it is important to consider the severity of the hazard and how much exposure the user will be subjected to. For example, a full-body suit would be required if there was a risk of chemical exposure or a high-risk infection.
Protection at level B is necessary for during times when the highest level of respiratory protection is required. However, lesser level of skin protection is necessary. These include items such as:
For example, an abandoned outdoor hazardous waste sites have vapors or gas levels that have not reached concentrations high enough to warrant level A protection.
Level C PPE is used when there is concentration and type of airborne substances is present or there is a need to use air purifying respirators in the area. Level C includes:
This Level D of PPE usually used in a workplace as a uniform for daily protection or potential risk of hazardous contamination. These may include:
There 6 basic PPEs that are usually required for employees that are exposed to hazardous environments. These includes:
Shella Marie Ang
Shella Marie Ang is a content contributor for SafetyCulture. Cultivating her experience in social media marketing, virtual assistance, and SEO has helped her create compelling content for websites and blogs. Her medical background also has given her an edge when it comes to writing medical and health-related content. She loves reading in her free time and being around other creatives.
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