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Personal Protective Equipment in the Workplace

  • Category: In The News
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  • Written By: Kory Krista, Occupational Health Services Accounts Coordinator
Personal Protective Equipment in the Workplace

Safety sensitive jobs will have some level of Personal Protective Equipment, or “PPE." While this is a common term used in health care, it is equally as prevalent in other types of industries.

PPE is comprised of gloves, masks, eye protection, hearing protection, clothing, footwear and head gear. It can be as simple as wearing eye and hearing protection for a landscaper, to a full suit and gear for those handling hazardous chemicals.

While employers are obligated by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) to provide PPE to their employees for all recognized hazards, it is not the first line of defense. OSHA requires that employers reengineer work processes to minimize, if not fully eliminate hazards. Once all viable engineering and administrative efforts have been refined and implemented, employers will then supply the PPE to protect employees from the hazards present.

Hearing Protection

OSHA has specific rules on when and how hearing protection is implemented, and not all types of hearing protection are suited for specific hazards. PPE for hearing can range from one-size-fits-most ear plugs to over-ear protection or both. Also, there are customizable foam ear plugs made to fit the ear canal to ensure maximum protection. Audiologists who manage your hearing conservation program can create custom ear plugs or recommend the most suitable protection.

Eye Protection

Another important type of PPE is eye protection. Not all eye protection is suited to the hazard as the danger may be related to “splashing,” “flying debris” or both. It is important that eye protection is designed properly with the correct materials and be compatible with your glasses.

North Oaks Eye Care Clinic can provide custom prescription eyeglasses to be used in a specific work field. This allows you to see clearly and still protects against hazards. Even better is that this forms good safety habits, and many people also use their prescription safety glasses while doing things at home like yard work.

PPE is vital for safe work practices. A good safety program will manage the recognized hazards and match the appropriate PPE and use it properly. PPE helps avoid many possible injuries, and its use, maintenance and replacement is everyone’s responsibility to ensure a safe and productive workplace.

For more information about how North Oaks Occupational Health Services can help you develop a safety program, call (985) 230-5726 or email