This week’s Safetip is about making sure that an effective personal protective equipment (PPE) program is designed by using a checklist.
PPE Is Not the Most Effective Control Method
Before designing a PPE program, it’s important to remember that PPE is the least effective control method to protect workers. PPE does not eliminate or reduce a hazard. It simply places a barrier between the worker and the hazard to reduce exposure to chemicals, air contaminants, noise, sources of heat, etc.
Other methods from the hierarchy of controls should be considered before opting for PPE-based protection. However, PPE may be inevitable in some cases if all other control methods are not feasible, especially within existing processes that can’t be changed.
Also, many regulations around the world include requirements to provide workers with the appropriate PPE.
Use a Checklist to Verify the Design of a PPE Program
Since the use of PPE may be inevitable, you have to design an effective PPE program. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety (CCOHS) has a helpful PPE program checklist that you can use to make sure that all elements are taken into consideration. Here are the things to check for:
- PPE Program Design
- Make sure that elimination, substitution, engineering controls, and administrative controls are considered first. PPE is the “last line of defense” in the hierarchy of controls.
- Secure the active participation of all parties.
- Ensure that a program coordinator has been appointed.
- Re-evaluate the program on an ongoing basis.
- Promotional Strategy
- Publicize commitment to the program.
- Make sure a clear, concise company policy has been formulated.
- Selection of PPE
- Choose PPE to match the hazard.
- Get advice on proper selection.
- Have a workplace trial, whenever possible.
- Consider the physical comfort of PPE.
- Evaluate cost considerations of PPE usage.
- Ensure PPE meets standards/certification (e.g. CSA, CGSB, NIOSH, ANSI).
- Make sure that workers know how to perform regular maintenance and inspection of their PPE.
- Make sure that workers can identify potential problems or defects with their PPE during the pre-use inspection or while wearing/using.
- Education and Training
- Verify that all users, supervisors, selectors, buyers, and stock keepers are educated and trained.
- Make sure that education and training programs are ongoing.
- Audit Plan
- There should be at least one review of the program planned each year.
By going through the checklist, you can make sure that the design of your PPE program is effective.
Each week we publish a Safetip where we share a safety tip or best practice that contributes to safety excellence. Visit Enablon Insights again next Wednesday for a new Safetip!
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