Proper PPE: Are Your Workers Safe?

Workplace injuries cost companies over $62 billion each year and cause significant physical and emotional pain for those injured and their families. By not providing the proper protection or not giving the proper instruction on how to care for or use safety equipment, you are leaving employees vulnerable to injury and your business open to a negative impact on your bottom line. 

Whether its steel-toed shoes, hard hats, goggles, face shields, earplugs, or respirators, employers are required by law to protect their workers.


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According the US Department of Labor, personal protective equipment (PPE) is equipment worn to minimize exposure to serious workplace injuries and illnesses. These injuries and illnesses may result from contact with chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical, or other workplace hazards. Personal protective equipment may include items such as gloves, safety glasses and shoes, earplugs or muffs, hard hats, respirators, or coveralls, vests and full body suits.

It is important to protect the people who mean the most to your business. Not just because you don't want them to get injured, but because of all the negative things that can happen if they do. Yet, we see this in the field every day, business cutting corners or prioritizing small savings over safety that results in employees getting hurt.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports:

  • Hard hats were worn by only 16% of those workers who sustained head injuries, although two-fifths were required to wear them for certain tasks at specific locations.
  • Only 1% of approximately 770 workers suffering face injuries were wearing face protection.
  • Only 23% of the workers with foot injuries wore safety shoes or boots.
  • About 40% of the workers with eye injuries wore eye protective equipment.

It's also reported that a majority of these workers were injured while performing their normal jobs at regular worksites.

OSHA standards require employers to furnish and require employees to use suitable protective equipment where there is a "reasonable probability" that injury can be prevented by such equipment. The standards also set provisions for specific equipment.

How can employers ensure proper use of PPE?

The US Department of Labor shares that all PPE should be of safe design and construction, and should be maintained in a clean and reliable fashion. It should fit well and be comfortable to wear, encouraging worker use. If the PPE does not fit properly, it can make the difference between being safely covered or dangerously exposed. When engineering, work practice, and administrative controls are not feasible or do not provide sufficient protection, employers must provide PPE to their workers and ensure its proper use.

Employers are also required to train each worker required to use PPE to know:

  • When it is necessary
  • What kind is necessary
  • How to properly put it on, adjust, wear and take it off
  • The limitations of the equipment
  • Proper care, maintenance, useful life, and disposal of the equipment

If PPE is to be used, a PPE program should be implemented. This program should address the hazards present; the selection, maintenance, and use of PPE; the training of employees; and monitoring of the program to ensure its ongoing effectiveness.

OSHA requires that many categories of PPE meet or be equivalent to standards developed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). With a right to a safe workplace, workers understand that the law requires employers to provide them with working conditions that are free of known dangers.

Arbill understands the importance of protecting your workers and we provide a variety of PPE products, from the nation's leading safety suppliers, to protect your workers against different hazards. We also provide training, including online courses, on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), that addresses proper selection, hazards present, use and maintenance of PPE. 

Join us for our Manufacturing Day Event, on Friday, October 6th, to learn more about the proper use of PPE and get a sneak peek at new and innovative protective equipment from some of the nation's leading safety suppliers. 

Have a safe day!