The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires that employers provide a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. To identify and control physical and health hazards, employers must first perform a “hazard assessment.” Examples of physical hazards include moving objects, fluctuating temperatures, high intensity lighting, rolling or pinching objects, electrical connections and sharp edges. Examples of health hazards include overexposure to harmful dusts, chemicals or radiation.
Once physical and health hazards are identified, employers must control them. If controlling a hazard is not attainable or does not provide sufficient protection, employers must provide appropriate personal protective equipment for employees. Personal protective equipment, commonly referred to as “PPE”, is equipment worn to minimize exposure to hazards that cause serious workplace injuries and illnesses. PPE may include items such as gloves, safety glasses and shoes, earplugs, hard hats, respirators and full body suits.
Employers are required to train each employee who must use PPE. Employees must be trained to know at least the following:
- When PPE is necessary
- What PPE is necessary
- How to properly put on, take off, adjust and wear the PPE
- The limitations of the PPE
- Proper care, maintenance, useful life and disposal of PPE.
The Personal Protective Equipment Notice helps employees identify when PPE is necessary.