PPE Storage, Maintenance, & Care
Depending on the occupational safety and health hazards encountered while performing assigned job tasks, your employer may require you to use properly fitting personal protective equipment (PPE) to avoid injuries and illnesses.
Some of the most common types of PPE are:
- Eye protection
- Face protection
- Hearing protection
- Head protection
- Hand protection
- Foot protection
- Respiratory protection
Each of the above are designed to provide a certain level of protection if used and cared for as intended by the manufacturer. One of the factors which helps maintain the level of protection is that the device is kept in a clean and sanitary manner. Usually, unless otherwise directed by the manufacturer, this entails washing the components of the device in warm water with a mild detergent on a regular basis (daily, weekly, monthly as conditions warrant).
If the safety device is shared by more than one person, it must be cleaned and sanitized after each use.
Cleaning and sanitizing will do no good, however, if the device is not properly stored in-between uses. For instance, safety glasses or face shields which are left out in the open in a dusty or otherwise contaminated environment will become dirty and may compound an injury rather than prevent it (dust falls into eyes from unclean safety glasses). Or a respirator fitted with an organic cartridge, left out on a work bench, will become ineffective as the cartridge absorbs contaminants from the atmosphere.
Most of the devices noted above can be safely stored in reclosable plastic bags, clean cans with lids or storage cupboards with tight-fitting doors.
Personal protective equipment should be inspected frequently and any defective parts or devices immediately removed from service until repaired and in good operating condition.