What’s the “close proximity rule?”
Be sure the right PPE is selected, so that you remain protected
The close proximity rule (sometimes referred to as the “4-foot rule”) is a safe work practice adopted by J J White Inc. for PPE. Under the close proximity rule, anyone who is working within 4 feet of another person performing at task that requires a higher level of PPE, must also wear that higher level of PPE protection.
For example, if an individual is required to wear a face shield to conduct a task, then anyone within 4 feet of that person must also wear a face shield when the task is performed.
However, calling the close proximity rule the “4-foot rule” could be misleading. For example, when a regulated area is set up to mandate additional PPE, then anyone within that regulated area must comply with the PPE requirements, even when the distance exceeds 4 feet.
For example, consider a regulated area set up due to a concern for potential benzene or H2S exposure. In this case, everyone within the regulated area must wear the required level of respiratory protection even if the perimeter of the regulated area is more than 4 feet from the source of benzene or H2S.
Also, electrical work has its own PPE requirements that are covered separately.
The close proximity rule was established as a common sense rule to remind us that exposures to hazards aren’t limited to the person performing the task that is creating the hazard.
We need to be constantly aware of our surroundings, including the work others are performing. When necessary we need to take action to protect ourselves. And that includes wearing a higher level of PPE when required due to close proximity to other work.