As a business owner, keeping your employees safe should be a top priority. One key way to protect workers is by providing proper personal protective equipment, or PPE. While PPE should not replace other safety measures, it is a critical last line of defense when hazards can't be eliminated.
What is PPE?
PPE refers to any gear or clothing worn by employees to guard against workplace injuries and illnesses. Common examples include safety goggles, hard hats, gloves, safety shoes, respirators and high-visibility vests.
When is PPE Required?
If other precautions still leave workers exposed to risks, you must provide suitable PPE free of charge. Carefully assess hazards in your workplace to identify when PPE is needed. Also consult employees on choosing PPE they will actually wear.
Choosing the Right PPE
Selecting appropriate, high-quality PPE is crucial. Look for CE marked products made for the specific hazards in your workplace. Also ensure a proper fit for each individual worker. Ill-fitting PPE defeats the purpose.
Training Workers on PPE
Simply handing out PPE is not enough. Train employees on how to properly use, fit, maintain and store their PPE. Supervise to ensure appropriate use. Address any improper use immediately.
Considerations If an employee's religious garment interferes with required PPE, explore alternatives whenever possible. For instance, different types of eye protection may work better with head coverings.
The Bottom Line
While not a standalone solution, properly-selected and fitted PPE is vital for reducing injuries and illnesses when hazards can't otherwise be eliminated. Protect your people by making PPE a priority.