Nearly two million people have a debilitating work-related injury each year, with more than a quarter of these injuries involving the hands, eyes, head and feet. Over 41 million people have accidents that require an emergency room visit per year and approximately 5,000 people die from occupational injuries every year! Personal protective equipment (PPE) is designed to protect workers from health and safety hazards that cannot be removed or engineered out of the working environment. No matter what you do, personal protective equipment can help you stay safe and healthy in spite of workplace hazards.
Many Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards require employers to provide personal safety equipment to protect employees from job-related injuries, illnesses and fatalities. OSHA’s personal protective equipment (PPE) standard, revised in October 2009, mandates that general industry, construction and maritime employers must provide all required PPE at no cost to employees, with a few exceptions.
Employers are responsible for assessing the workplace to determine if hazards are present or are likely to be present and establish requirements for PPE. Management must also establish and review related training and programs at least annually and when equipment or facility additions or modifications cause changes in PPE requirements. Both upper management and supervisors are responsible for enforcing these programs.
In addition to the initial and yearly assessments, employers also have a duty to train their employees in the proper use of the PPE. This training is to include:
- When and what PPE is necessary;
- How to put on, take off , djust and wear the PPE;
- PPE limitations; and
- The proper care, maintenance, useful life and disposal of PPE.
Employers are required to obtain written certification (signed paperwork) that employees attended and understood the training. OSHA can issue citations to employers that fail to comply with these requirements. OSHA issues citations on a “per-employee basis,” meaning an employer could receive a separate citation and fine for each employee not in compliance. This can result in severe penalties. The exact amount of these penalties is difficult to assess because they can vary, depending on the employer’s industry and the type of violation.
If you are unsure about whether or not you are in compliance with OSHA standards and guidelines? FBinsure has the resources to help you stay on top of all OSHA regulations and stay in compliance.
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