In order to make sure employees are adequately protected while on the job, OSHA has come up with a set of regulations regarding personal protection equipment, such as clothing and safety glasses. While employees are responsible for making sure they are properly equipped with the regulatory safety gear before they begin working, the employers have specific obligations towards being compliant with OSHA’s 29 CFR 1910.132.
It is ultimately the employers responsibility to assess the workplace and decide what personal protective equipment is needed on the job. The employer must assess the hazards that are present and that could pose harm to the employee. For each job, the employer needs to choose the best personal protective gear that will properly protect the employee from all the hazards identified in the hazard assessment. Employees must communicate their findings to the employee, and if the employee feels the personal protective equipment is in adequate in any way, he should let his employer know this. Both parties should be in agreement with the type of personal protective equipment needed for the job.
Once the hazard assessment has been performed and the employer and employee are in agreement with the type of personal protective equipment needed, it must be obtained for the employee. The PPE purchased needs to be in compliance with OSHA and ANSI standards. This will vary depending on the specific job of the employee and what situations and materials he daily comes in contact with. The employer needs to make sure the employee always has access to compliant PPE before beginning any job. Employees should never begin working without donning the required PPE.
Though personal protective equipment does not have a specific shelf life, it will need to be replaced whenever it gets worn down. Worn, broken or cracked PPE will not offer the same level of protection as it did with it was new, which means its rating will decrease as the PPE ages. It is up to the employee and the employer to do regular inspections of PPE to ensure that it is in good condition and offers a high level of safety to the worker. If an employee notices that any of his personal protective equipment has become cracked or broken, he should immediately notify his employer and replace the PPE with a new one.
It is the responsibility of the employer to make sure all employees are properly protected with personal protective equipment as mandated under OSHA’s 29 CFR 1910.132. Employers should make sure that each employee understands the type of PPE he needs for his job, as well as why. PPE should be available to employees and it should be properly rated to their specific job. While it is also up to the employee to don the PPE while working and to make sure it is in good condition, employers are ultimately held responsible for employee safety so it is important for employers to take employee safety seriously. Many accidents can be avoided in the workplace when employees use their personal protective equipment properly.