The Importance of Personal Protective Equipment

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safety-310664_1280Personal protective equipment is monitored by the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA regulates personal protective equipment with Standard 1910.132. This standard sets minimum requirements for personal protective equipment, including storage, maintenance, replacement, and who is responsible for supplying personal protective equipment. Additionally, certain OSHA standards have further clarifications for personal protective equipment for specific situations.

The reason there is such an emphasis on personal protective equipment is that it is literally the last line of defense for employees in some of the most hazardous areas of occupational safety and health. If machine guarding, for instance, fails, a pair of gloves might be the only thing protecting an employee’s hands from serious amputation risks. In a hazardous environment with toxic chemicals, proper breathing masks or protective suits could be the only thing protecting employee lives.

So when reviewing Standard 1910.132 or other standards which have specific personal protective equipment, it is important to understand the reason for the personal protective equipment. This will help when trying to create policies and procedures and implementing safe practices.

As you review and create your personal protective equipment policies and procedures, please keep in mind both Standard 1910.132 and the additional, standard specific clarifications. And if you run into an issue where you are unsure of how to properly enforce personal protective equipment policies and procedures, it is important to bring a qualified third party occupational safety and health auditing firm to ensure proper execution.

If you have any questions about the importance of personal protective equipment or how to ensure your facility has adequate policies and procedures relating to personal protective equipment, or the importance of personal protective equipment in the concrete industry let us know.

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