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IMA Executive News & Views Blog

Safety Shield! Personal Protective Equipment Requirements (PPE)

by Maria Bond

LP Management Services is an IMA member business to business service…

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for enforcing laws to ensure employers provide a safe work environment for employees.  OSHA requires employers to provide a safe and healthful work place to all of their employees.  In order to meet this requirement, the following three step process is used:

  1. Engineering Solutions: Utilize design features of the facility and its equipment to provide safety to employees.  Engineering solutions should be used to either entirely remove hazards or reduce their impact.
  2. Administrative Solutions: Develop training and work controls, such as hot work permits and lockout-tagout (LOTO) programs, to account for hazards that are unable to be entirely removed by Engineering Solutions.
  3. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):  Implemented as a “Last line of defense” to protect against hazards that are unable to be entirely removed by Engineering and Administrative Solutions.

General personal protective equipment requirements mandate that: employers conduct a hazard assessment of workplaces, identify what hazards are present that require the use of protective equipment, communicate and provide workers with appropriate protective equipment, and require employees to use and maintain it in sanitary and reliable condition.

As set out in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 29 CFR 1910.132: “protective equipment, including PPE  for eyes, face, head, and extremities, protective clothing, respiratory devices, and protective shields and barriers, shall be provided, used, and maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition wherever it is necessary by reason of hazards of processes or environment, chemical hazards, radiological hazards, or mechanical irritants encountered in a manner capable of causing injury or impairment in the function of any part of the body through absorption, inhalation or physical contact.”

Prior to performing work requiring the use of PPE, employers must ensure each worker has demonstrated an understanding of the PPE training topics, as well as the ability to select and use the correct PPE.  PPE training topics must include:

  • Proper uses of PPE
  • Being aware of when PPE is necessary
  • Know what kind of protective equipment is necessary
  • Understand the limitations of PPE in protecting workers from injury
  • Properly put on, adjust, wear, and take off personal protective equipment
  • Maintain, care for, store or dispose of protective equipment properly

In addition to initial training, employee retraining must be performed in the following situations:

  • Changes in the workplace render previous training obsolete.
  • Changes in the PPE types that make the previous PPE training obsolete.
  • Inadequacies in an affected employee’s knowledge or use of assigned PPE indicate that the employee has not retained the requisite understanding or skill.


Source: LP Management Services