Employer’s Obligations Towards Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)

OSHA presents guidelines for the use of Personal Protection Equipments (PPE) to save the workers from workplace related hazards. PPE are designed particularly to save workers from specific kind of workplace hazards. PPE includes gloves, vests, earplugs, goggles, hard helmets, etc. Each of these PPE offers protection against a specific hazard. These include protective helmets to protect from objects falling over head, gloves to protect hands from injuries caused due to electrical shocks, goggles to protect eyes from glare and particles coming out of welding equipment and so on.

Employer’s responsibilities towards PPE

  • OSHA holds the employer responsible for the safety of the workers at the workplace. Hence an employer must asses his workplace for safety hazards to determine what sort of hazards are present in the workplace that require he use of PPE. They should also ascertain what PPE should be used to avoid those hazards. He should take into account the workers present at the workplace and provide them with adequate number of necessary PPE.

  • The PPE should suit the workforce. Unfitting PPE can be of little use in protecting the worker against hazards.

  • After arranging for the PPE, the responsibility of the employer extends to ensure that the PPE are maintained in a sanitized and a reliably working condition every time it is being used.

  • Though PPE are good means to save a worker from work related injuries, they are generally considered the last line of defense against all such hazards. Other OSHA recommended safety systems should be in place that will counter the hazard before it comes to the PPE. This includes safe work practices, engineering control mechanisms and administrative controls.
    • Engineering control mechanisms involve changing the work environment with the help of machines to provide better security against hazards.
    • Safe working practices involve training workers to do their job safely without getting exposed to hazards.
    • Administrative controls include scheduling work among workers as per their capabilities to offer minimum risk to the workers.

  • An employer should emphasize the use of PPE by their workforce to ensure that they remain safe during the job. Training has to be imparted by the employer to the workers to teach them what PPE to choose from for a particular hazard and the way to use it. Workers should also be about the limitations of the PPE and the proper way to wear and use them. They should be taught how to maintain PPE in good condition.

  • Employers should invariably display posters at requisite sections at workplace communicating the work hazard associated with the place and the PPE that should be used by the worker while working there.

To be safe at work is right of the worker and it is responsibility of the employer to ensure that it happens. OSHA safety measures provide maximum protection to the employees working under hazardous conditions and saves employer from getting a bad reputation and penalties to be imposed from law agencies.

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