Choosing the Right PPE
Developing a Safety Program
No matter what industry you work in, the implementation of a safety program and ensuring continued compliance to safety standards is a challenge that all safety managers face. In order to create and facilitate a safe environment, safety managers must develop safety programs that not only ensure the safety of their personnel, but also allow for a productive and efficient workflow. Here are some general guidelines to use in the initial steps of developing your safety program:
What role does PPE play in your workplace?
Every workplace is different, has different hazards, and requires different types of personal protective equipment. Are you an industrial worksite where personnel will be encountering extreme temperatures or a food processing plant where cut hazards are everywhere? As we move forward through the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more workplaces will need personal protective equipment that had never needed it before. Each of these work sites would require different levels and types of protection. Cut hazards require cut resistant gloves whereas a chemical hazard would require chemical resistant gloves.
Follow OSHA and CDC Guidelines – When Should PPE be Used?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, provides standards on personal protective equipment for various industries and hazards. General examples for PPE use include using safety eyewear wherever an employee may be encountering airborne debris. If there are falling object hazards, such as on a construction site, hard hats are required. The types of protective clothing you may need – hand protection, body protection, foot protection, or face protection are all dependent on the hazards you face in your specific workplace.
Select the Appropriate PPE
Every work site has different hazards which require different types of personal protective equipment. In order for your PPE to properly protect you, it needs to be the proper equipment for the situation. For example, if you work somewhere with sharp edges, knives, or other cut hazards, cut resistant gloves would be required. Many types of personal protective equipment are required by OSHA to conform to standards laid out by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Cut resistant gloves fall under these ANSI ratings. ANSI Cut Resistance Standards place cut resistant gloves on a scale of A1 – A9 based on the compilation of data from a cut resistance test (see ANSI Cut Ratings Guide).
Let Us Help!
Most sellers or manufacturers of safety equipment will generally inform you of what standards their product is complying with. However, this may not always be enough. Just because a product is rated to withstand heat doesn’t mean it can handle the heat or flame hazards of your worksite. Product specialists at Stauffer Glove & Safety can help you determine what types of materials and products your safety program needs, what safety standards these products should meet, and how to use them correctly.
Instill a Culture of Safety
You've developed your safety program - now what? Selecting and purchasing the right personal protective equipment for your specific hazards is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to safety. You also have to ensure personnel are trained to properly use the equipment, and most importantly, actually wear it. This is why it is vital to establish a culture of safety in your workplace. If a piece of PPE is not worn or use properly, it does not provide the necessary protection. Employees should be trained to frequently inspect their PPE, report any damage or dysfunctionality, and request replacements when appropriate. Supervisors and safety managers must track and maintain the continued training and PPE usage. Involve employees in any sort of safety training. Hold periodic safety meetings to maintain the culture of safety in the workplace. PPE is made to be the last line of defense. The first step is ensuring employees are working and behaving in a safe manner.
Finally, make sure you are consistently inspecting and maintaining your safety equipment. Like anything, PPE wears out over time and use. Worn or damaged PPE will not protect you properly.