Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Protect yourself with the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) for the job.  Each department is responsible for providing this equipment to each employee.  All employees have the right and obligation to request proper personal protective equipment as well as the right and obligation to refuse to do a task, if proper safety equipment and training is not available or provided.

Personal protective equipment acts as a barrier between you and potentially hazardous chemicals, machines, tools, and processes.  To be effective, PPE must be carefully selected to protect against each particular hazard you may face.  When you use the right PPE and use it properly, you greatly reduce the risk of job-related injury and illness.

Types of Personal Protective Equipment:

Hand - gloves can protect your hands from exposure to different types of hazards such as blood, chemicals, shock, pinch points, and machine guards.  There are many many available types depending on your job function.

Feet - protective footwear can keep your feet safe from many hazards.   Wear shoes with puncture proof soles in areas with nails, scrap metal, or other sharp objects.  Steel toe shoes protect your feet from heavy items that could crush your foot.  Wear chemical resistant boots when working with or around chemicals.   Rubber boots provide traction on wet and icy surfaces and insulated shoes protect against cold weather.  The ANSI label inside your safety footwear means that your shoes or boots meet recognized safety standards.

Head - hard hats should be worn to protect against falling objects, when working below machinery or processes, and around exposed energized conductors.  Make sure the hat fits right and the suspension is adjusted properly.

Eye and Face - eye protection is available in choices such as spectacles, face shields, welding masks, and goggles.  In some cases, eye protection can be used over prescription eye glasses and contact lenses.  Use eye protection to avoid flying objects or particles; electrical arcing or sparks; chemical gases or vapors; liquid chemicals, acids, or caustics; dusts or powders; swinging objects; harmful light or from welding, cutting, brazing, or soldering.

Hearing - long term exposure to noise can damage your hearing.  Use ear plugs, ear muffs, or canal caps when needed and reduce the length of time you are exposed to noise.

Skin - wear protective clothing, such as an apron or smock, that is chemical resistant.   Protective clothing can also protect the body from sun exposure.

Respirators - respirators will protect against exposure to inhaled hazards.  All employees that use respirators must be evaluated and properly fitted by appropriate medical personnel.

Equipment Fit
Personal protective equipment comes in all shapes and sizes and are available in a variety of colors and materials.  Good fitting equipment ensures comfort, effectiveness, and use.  The more you wear PPE, the better it will protect you.

Use of Equipment
You and your supervisor are the key to the use of personal protective equipment.  You have to wear the PPE to make it  work.  Put it on, leave it on, and take care of it.

Cleaning and Maintaining Equipment
Always clean and maintain personal protective equipment according to the manufacturer's specifications.  Some items can be cleaned by hand while others will require special attention.  Always check PPE regularly and replace any equipment that is cracked, torn, or shows signs of excessive wear.

Storage of Equipment
Always store personal protective equipment away from heat, dust, sunlight, and moisture.  Wrap safety goggles in a clean, soft cloth, protective case, or storage cabinet.  Personal protective equipment can safeguard you from exposure to hazards, so please give it the care and attention it deserves!