Personal Protective Equipment Training (Hands-On-How-To)
PPE Training (Hands-On-How-To)
You are told to mix a certain chemical with water to use as a cleaning agent to wash down your company trucks. You check out the chemical. It looks like water, doesn’t feel any different than water… so you assume PPE isn’t really necessary. So, you go about washing the trucks. Your hands and arms get pretty wet with the solution you’ve mixed, but, heck… no pain, no sting… must be safe. No worse than water, right? Wrong, very wrong.
You’ve been using a mixture of hydrofluoric acid and water. By the time you get home your arms are hurting like crazy. You hurry off to the hospital, but by the time you arrive, it’s too late. The hydrofluoric acid has penetrated your skin on both of your arms, clear through to the bone. Fluorine ions have replaced calcium ions in the bone, effectively turning it into a sponge like consistency. But, you are lucky; only one arm must be amputated. The doctors were able to save the other arm.
This scenario would not have occurred had you been properly trained in using PPE. The PPE standard mandates the employer must provide “hands-on-how-to” (practice) training to each employee who is required to use Personal Protective Equipment. To meet the minimum training requirements, each employee receiving PPE training must be trained to know at least the following:
1. when PPE is necessary;
2. what PPE is necessary;
3. how to properly don, doff, adjust, and wear PPE;
4. the limitations of the PPE; and
5. the proper care, maintenance, useful life, and disposal of the PPE.
So far, we meet minimum OSHA requirements… but one very important element is missing: The PPE standard does not specifically require education on “why” PPE is necessary.
So, why is this element so important? Because study after study tells us the most common
reason employees don’t follow rules in the workplace is because they don’t know why the rules are important.