Safety First: Personal Protection Equipment

In 2014 the Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded 2,953,500 nonfatal injuries and illnesses and an additional 4,821 fatal injuries. Workplace injuries can result in lost time; they can potentially affect your future health and can even result in death.


While it can be said most workers consider safety a priority in their workday, it is important it is the first thing they think of on a daily basis. This includes the consistent use of PPE. Personal Protection Equipment or PPE refers to protective garments, clothing, eyewear or equipment worn to protect the wearer’s body from injury or infection. As per OSHA 1910.132(a)- Protective equipment, including personal protective equipment for eyes, face, head, and extremities, protective clothing, respiratory devices, and protective shields and barriers, shall be provided, used, and maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition wherever it is necessary by reason of hazards of processes or environment, chemical hazards, radiological hazards, or mechanical irritants encountered in a manner capable of causing injury or impairment in the function of any part of the body through absorption, inhalation or physical contact. OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) offers in-depth information and general requirements for workplace safety with part number 1910 of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards. When working in a dangerous environment one should know exactly what protection is needed and be certain it’s appropriate for the conditions.


An employer is required to assess the workplace ahead of time and determine if hazards exist on the job however, it is every individual’s responsibility to be safety minded for their own good as well as others. Equipment must be determined to be of proper fit prior to use and found to be in good working condition (OSHA 1910.132 (d)(1)(III). It is required by OSHA that defective or damaged equipment not be used and disposed of properly (OSHA 1910.132(e). Prior to use one must determine whether the equipment is in safe operating condition. Equipment failure through improper fit or faulty design can be just as dangerous as not wearing personal protective at all.


Consider dangers encountered in your workplace environment and discuss them with your employer. Know the risks before beginning a job and be certain you’re aware and prepared with the proper equipment. Consider your personal safety priority number one and you’ll avoid becoming a statistic.


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