Personal protective equipment (PPE) provides a barrier against a variety of potential workplace hazards. OSHA requires that employers provide training to their employees—both existing and new–who must use PPE, and the instructions should cover the following topics:
- When workers must use PPE
- Which type of PPE is needed
- The proper methods for putting on, taking off, adjusting, and wearing PPE The limitations of PPE
- The proper care, maintenance, useful life, and disposal of PPE
PPE training typically involves hands-on demonstrations so each worker can confirm his or her ability to use the equipment properly before doing the work that requires it. If the employees eventually show that they have forgotten certain aspects of the training, or if the practice has become outdated, employers must schedule additional instruction.
What is PPE, and why is its training so critical?
There are various forms of personal protective equipment. Some of the most common examples of PPE include:
- Steel-toed boots
- Hard hats
- Safety goggles
- Face shields
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), only 16% of workers who sustained head injuries were wearing hard hats, even though 40% of them had been required to wear them for the type of work they were doing. Also, only 23% of those workers who sustained foot injuries had been wearing safety boots or shoes.
PPE is essential to keeping employees safe from various workplace hazards. The BLS reports that a nonfatal occupational injury among construction workers requires them to miss an average of eight to nine working days, and this number could be reduced substantially if every worker wore the proper PPE.
Keep a record of all PPE training
Employers must document the training of every worker who is required to wear or use PPE. The certification record should include the type of training, the name of the employee being trained, and the date of the training.
Keep in mind the critical steps of PPE training
- Begin by conducting hazard assessments to ensure all parts of the worker’s body are protected
- Conduct and certify an assessment for each specific job title
- Select the appropriate PPE for any hazards that you have identified
- Train all workers on how to wear and care for the PPE properly
Looking for ways to create a safer workplace?
For more tips on providing a safer work environment through safety training, visit our blog!
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