Personal Protective Equipment
One significant means of protecting employees from hazards encountered on the job is use of Personal Protective Equipment. To be effective, the right PPE must be used, and used in the correct manner. PPE includes respirators, hearing protection, safety glasses or goggles, gloves, special clothing, etc. For some PPE, such as respirators and hearing protection, special OSHA requirements exist; information can be found in those programs.
A significant draw-back to PPE is that it only protects the employee(s) using it, and does not protect others in the area. This must be a consideration when relying on PPE for employee protection.
OSHA CFR 1910.132-138
Keys to compliance for Supervisors
- EHS performs OSHA Job Hazard Analyses for each job or task. The analysis identifies PPE needed for that job. This information is maintained in a database, and information can be obtained from the EHS Personal Protective Equipment Specialist.
- New tasks / jobs should be brought to the attention of EHS, so that the Job Hazard Analysis can be done.
- Supervisors are responsible for providing employees with necessary PPE for each job
- Supervisors are responsible for job oversight and ensuring that employees use the required PPE, and in the proper manner
- Most PPE can be obtained from the Physical Plant’s Material Stores. Respirators are obtained from EHS and prescription safety glasses must be approved by EHS and obtained from IU’s School of Optometry.
- Special clothing, such as worn by High-voltage Electrical Workers, must be ordered; factor in the necessary lead time.
- University-provided PPE should not be used away from the work site.
- The IU EHS PPE program contains specific information and forms for obtaining prescription safety eye wear.
Frequently asked questions
Q. Sometimes my employees want prescription safety glasses with features that aren’t approved (for example, tinted lenses), and the request is denied. Why?
A. The OSHA regulation and subsequent information are very specific about what’s acceptable, and we must adhere to the regulation.
Q. Who pays for PPE?
A. If the PPE is required by OSHA, the employer must pay for it.
Q. What if my employees refuse to use required PPE?
A. This can lead to disciplinary action; contact your manager and Human Resources representative.
Links to written programs, further information