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If you are looking for free guidance in the selection and use of PPE for safety and to comply with the OSHA requirements, you've come to the right place. This OSHA standard, included separately in the standards for each industry segment (except agriculture), requires that employers provide employees, at no cost to employees, with personal protective equipment designed to protect them against certain hazards. This can range from protective helmets to prevent head injuries in construction and cargo handling work, to eye protection, hearing protection, hard-toed shoes, special goggles (for welders, for example) and gauntlets for iron workers.
(a) Application. Protective equipment, including personal protective equipment for eyes, face, head, and extremities, protective clothing, respiratory devices, and protective shields and barriers, shall be provided, used, and maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition wherever it is necessary by reason of hazards of processes or environment, chemical hazards, radiological hazards, or mechanical irritants encountered in a manner capable of causing injury or impairment in the function of any part of the body through absorption, inhalation or physical contact.
Employers are required to provide a hazard free environment for employees. Anyone encountering hazardous conditions must be protected against the potential hazards. The purpose of personal protective clothing and equipment (PPE) is to shield or isolate individuals from the chemical, physical, and biological hazards that may be present in the workplace.
The adverse effects chemical substances may have on the human body necessitate the use of protective clothing. The predominant physical, chemical, or toxic property of the material dictates the type and degree of protection required. For example, protection against a corrosive compound is different than that for a compound which releases a highly toxic vapor. The work function and the probability of exposure to the substance must also be considered when specifying protective clothing. As with the selection of proper respiratory protective apparatus, the hazards encountered must be thoroughly assessed before deciding on the protective clothing to be worn.
Once the specific hazard has been identified, appropriate clothing can be selected. Several factors must be considered, most important being the safety of the individual. The level of protection assigned must match the hazard confronted. Other factors include cost, availability, compatibility with other equipment, suitability, and performance.
In general, it is just good common sense to have PPE available for whatever emergency situation could arise in your operation. The use of PPE is specifically required by OSHA in 29 CFR 1910, in at least the following places:
1910.94(a)(5) - Abrasive Blasting
1910.95(b)(1) - Noise Exposure
1910.120 - Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response
1910.156(f) - Fire Brigades
1910.252(a)(5) - Welding, Cutting, and Brazing
1910.261(b)(2) - Pulp, Paper, and Paperboard Mills
1910.262(qq) - Textiles
1910.266(c)(1) - Pulpwood Logging
1910.1000(d) - Asbestos Exposure
1910.1200(h)(2)(iii) - Hazard Communication Standard