Personal Protective Equipment – Hazard Assessments
OSHA’s standards for personal protective equipment, also known as PPE, are designed to help protect workers from the hazards of exposures to harmful levels of chemicals, noise, or radiation, as well as from injury due to hazards such as, but not limited to, flying particles, hot or sharp objects, and falling objects.
An important section of the OSHA PPE standard is a requirement that employers perform a hazard assessment of the jobs their employees perform to determine if hazards are present, or are likely to be present, which necessitate the use of PPE. If such hazards are identified, then the employer must select, and then have each affected employee use, the types of PPE that will protect them from the hazards identified in the hazard assessment.
Finally, the employer must also communicate PPE selection decisions to each affected employee. The company has already performed these PPE hazard assessments, and then selected PPE for the jobs and tasks we perform. And in the next few toolbox talks, we will discuss the proper use of individual types of PPE that we are required to use when performing our jobs. But our workplace and individual jobs evolve over time, so I want to encourage each one of you to alert me (or your supervisor) if you are aware of any of the following situations:
- If you feel the PPE we have previously selected for use when performing a particular job or task is not adequate to protect you when you perform your job
- If you know of a non-routine job or task (one performed on very few occasions) that we may have overlooked when conducting our PPE hazard assessments
- If you know of a recently revised job or task you perform that you believe may necessitate PPE which has not been already been provided
- If you know of a new job or task (involving new equipment, chemical, and/or process) you perform that you believe may necessitate PPE which has not been provided
These are the types of jobs or tasks that the company is looking to identify, so that we can schedule a new or subsequent PPE hazard assessment, and make changes where necessary.