Selection Of Personal Protective Equipment PPE

Selection Of Personal Protective Equipment PPE

PPE Selection – One size does not fit all.

All PPE clothing and equipment should be of safe design and construction, and should be maintained in a clean and reliable fashion. Employers should take the fit and comfort of PPE into consideration when selecting appropriate items for their workplace. PPE that fits well and is comfortable to wear will encourage employee use of PPE.

Most protective devices are available in multiple sizes and care should be taken to select the proper size for each employee. If several different types of PPE are worn together, make sure they are compatible.

If PPE does not fit properly, it can make the difference between being safely covered or dangerously exposed. It may not provide the level of protection desired and may discourage employee use.

Conduct a Hazard Assessment

To help determine the best PPE for the job, conduct a hazard assessment of each employee’s task, the likelihood that the employee would be injured without PPE, and the severity of a potential injury. For example:

The task: A worker uses a plasma cutter to remove the bottom of a 55-gallon drum that contains traces of motor oil. His only PPE is a pair of synthetic gloves. The outcome: The drum explodes and the worker receives severe burns on his face and hands. An effective PPE hazard assessment would produce the following information:

Task: Using a plasma cutter.

Hazards: The plasma-cutting arc produces hot metal and sparks, especially during the initial piercing of the metal. It also heats the work piece and the cutting torch. Never cut closed or pressurized containers such as tanks or drums, which could explode. Do not cut containers that may have held combustibles or toxic or reactive materials unless they have been cleaned, tested, and declared safe by a qualified person.

Likelihood of injury without PPE: High

Severity of a potential injury: Life-threatening burns PPE necessary for the task:

  • Body: dry, clean clothing made from tightly woven material such as leather, wool, or heavy denim
  • Eyes and face: safety glasses with side shield or face shield; welding helmet with shaded eye protection for welding tasks
  • Feet: high-top leather shoes or boots
  • Hands: flame-resistant gloves

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