Personal protective equipment (PPE) is an integral part of keeping workers safe on a job site. Working with hazardous materials can be extremely dangerous. Beyond general environmental safety, there are extra precautions that must be taken to make sure employees remain safe. So when it comes to PPE, who is responsible for what?
Employers Provide PPE
Per OSHA guidelines, employers in the United States are required to provide a safe working environment for all employees. This includes, but is not limited to: ensuring all machinery is in working order, providing all available safety equipment relevant to the job, and ensuring the safety equipment is in line with OSHA standards. If PPE is required for job safety, employers must provide what is necessary to ensure safety. There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as prescription eyewear. For a complete list of regulations and exceptions, see OSHA guidelines. It is also the employer’s responsibility to train the employees on the proper use of the PPE, and to obtain written confirmation of that training.
Employees Use PPE Properly
While it is the employer’s responsibility to provide PPE, it is the employee’s responsibility to keep it clean and maintained and to use it properly. All employees should pay close attention during safety training so that they know how and when to use the PPE to keep themselves safe. Full participation in training is required to ensure certification. Without being certified in the use of the provided safety equipment, employees will not be legally allowed to work. Knowing the limits of the PPE is also highly important. If items are pushed too far, they may no longer be safe. In the event that equipment has become too old or worn, the employee must notify the employer so that it can be replaced.
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