Essential Factors to Consider for an Effective PPE Program
How frequently do you review your personal protective equipment (PPE) program? PPE is designed to minimize employee hazard exposure when administrative and engineering controls become infeasible and ineffective in reducing the exposure to acceptable levels. Periodical reviews of your PPE program are vital to ensure your program is up-to-date and PPE is working properly. Read on to learn more about the essential factors that you can implement for an effective PPE program.
- Hazard Assessment
Perhaps, you cannot know what safety measures to take if you do not know what hazards exist in your workplace. Conduct hazard assessment to determine any hazards present, those likely to be present, and which require the use of PPE. Consider all the hazards that could necessitate head-to-toe protection – sharp, falling, rolling, and flying objects, or chemical exposure. You need to understand every hazard identified and their specific impacts to enable you to make informed decisions in selecting the most appropriate PPE.
- Equipment Selection
For every hazard identified, ensure to select the relevant PPE to use to protect against such hazards. You’ll need to communicate the selection decision to your workers and supervisors, as well. Each PPE selected should fit the affected worker properly. Most of the PPE used should be provided by the employer at no cost to the worker. It’s important that you understand your responsibility to avoid putting your workers’ health and life at risk. When looking for PPE and other essential health and safety equipment, consider CE marked fabrications – products designed and manufactured as per the relevant health and safety standards across Europe.
- Employee Training
Employers should ensure to train their workers on different types of PPE before any employee is allowed to perform any task that requires the use of PPE. Your PPE training should include information such as the circumstances requiring the use of PPE, what type of PPE is necessary, limitations of a particular PPE, how to properly adjust, wear, and remove PPE, and how to properly care, maintain, and dispose of old and PPE damaged beyond repair.
You must retrain your employees whenever there are changes made in the type of PPE to be used, making the previously provided training obsolete and when the changes in the previous processes may render the training obsolete. Retraining is also necessary if you notice the worker has not retained the requisite knowledge or skill of using assigned PPE, or if you notice inadequacies in the worker’s knowledge.
- Follow-Up, Reinforce, and Enforce
No matter how effective your PPE program may be, you won’t miss a few workers who forget to use the recommended PPE, fail to follow the rules (including using the right PPE that fits properly), or who believe that accidents cannot happen to them. Some also think that PPE is for newbies in the workplace and experienced workers can do without. To ensure this doesn’t happen to your workforce, ensure to closely monitor your workers and punish the rule-breakers accordingly to motivate the workers to prioritise their safety.
Use a behavioural approach during your daily walks where you can speak to them about the importance of using PPE. Design a program to recognise and reward employees who follow all the PPE guidelines provided. Workers may be less motivated to wear PPE if it’s a hassle for them to get or exchange (worn or damaged) PPE. You can use performance appraisals to recognise the proper use of different PPE and insist that they will be examined on the same.