The US Department of Labor recommends that workers should be provided with and trained to use PPE (personal protective equipment) correctly. This can minimize their exposure to severe workplace injuries. Machine-related injuries at the workplace may typically result from physical, mechanical, electrical, or chemical hazards.
Protecting Your People
PPE such as safety glasses, gloves, shoes, hard hats, earplugs, respirators, vests, coveralls, and full body suits can significantly reduce the risks of working with machinery and materials. Employers must recognize the critical need to protect workers because they are the people who matter the most to their business. However, many employers try to cut corners on safety and choose cost savings over safety requirements, which results in more workers getting injured at work.
Low Incidence of the Use of PPE
Data published by the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) reveals that in a typical year:
- Only 16 percent of the workers who suffer head injuries would be wearing hard hats (even though 40 percent of them are required to wear them at specific locations).
- Only one percent of 770 workers who suffer facial injuries would be wearing face protection.
- Only 23 percent of workers who suffer feet injuries would be wearing safety boots or shoes.
- Only 40 percent of workers who suffer eye injuries would be wearing safety glasses.
Most of these workers sustain injuries while carrying out their normal job at their regular worksite.
What can Employers do to Ensure PPE Compliance?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards require every employer to provide appropriate personal protective equipment and also require workers to use this equipment wherever there is a reasonable chance that potential injuries could be prevented by the use of such equipment. OSHA standards have also set provisions for various types of equipment.
OSHA requires that all PPE must have a safe design and construction. The PPE must be maintained in a reliable and hygienic manner. It should fit properly and be comfortable to use to improve worker compliance. Ill-fitting PPE can make the difference between being protected and dangerously exposed. When a machine does not provide adequate protection, the employer must provide appropriate PPE to the machine operators and ensure its correct use.
Training Workers to Use PPE
Employers are required to train the workers to use PPE correctly and to know:
- When the PPE is necessary.
- What type of PPE is necessary.
- How to properly wear it, adjust it, and remove it.
- The limitations of the PPE.
- The estimated useful life of the PPE.
- How to care for and maintain the PPE and how to dispose of it.
A comprehensive PPE program must be implemented wherever PPE is required to be used. The plan should address the potential machinery hazards; the selection, use and maintenance of the PPE; the training of the workers; and program monitoring to ensure its continued effectiveness.
Various PPE categories, as per OSHA requirements, must meet the standards developed by the ANSI (American National Standards Institute). All machine operators and other workers should be aware that the law requires their employer to provide them with a workplace that is free of any known danger.
Watch YouTube Video: Personal Protective Equipment – PPE – Health and Safety. This short video explains why workers should take PPE seriously to avoid devastating consequences.
Machine Accident Lawyers in Sacramento
I’m Ed Smith, a machine accident lawyer in Sacramento. PPE can significantly reduce the risks of working with dangerous machinery. If you or someone you know has been injured in a machine accident at work, call me for a free consultation at 916-584-9355.
I’ve helped many North California residents with wrongful death and personal injury cases for more than 36 years. My team and I work tirelessly to assist injured workers and their loved ones in earning the compensation that they deserve.
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