Many workplace accidents often have a common denominator – failure to use personal protective equipment. Let’s take a closer look at how this should work in terms of provision and use.
What is personal protective equipment (PPE) ?
PPE is any device worn, held or otherwise used by an employee at work, including its accessories and attachments, if it is designed to protect the safety and health of the employee.
When is PPE allocated ?
The employer shall provide PPE to the employee if the hazard cannot be eliminated or reduced by technical means, means of collective protection or methods and forms of work organisation.
What PPE to use ?
The allocation of specific types of PPE is based on an assessment of the hazards (Risk Analysis, Risk Register) associated with the activity. If the hazard cannot be eliminated or reduced in any other way, the employer shall allocate PPE. A list of the necessary PPE is then drawn up for each position. Each employee must be made aware of it – usually by the employee’s supervisor.
In which activities ?
Activities requiring the use of assigned PPE are also listed in the hazard
assessment itself. This document contains all the necessary information. The hazard
assessment documents and the list of PPE are among the basic OSH documents, and
every employee must be aware of the hazards that affect them in the workplace
and how to protect themselves from them.
Allocation of PPE
All PPE must be given to the employee prior to the actual performance
of work in the workplace. The receipt should be in writing with the date of
receipt and the employee’s signature.
Of course, all PPE has a useful life. It is usually specified by the
manufacturer, but the working conditions of the employer must be taken into
account. The lifetime of the PPE in question is therefore determined by the
employer itself, but it must not be longer than that specified by the
manufacturer. You may ask yourself: What if, for example, I take off my gloves
before the lifetime specified in the PPE list? Of course the employer is
obliged to replace them.
Choosing a specific type of PPE
The employer is obliged to cooperate with the employees or the
employees’ safety representatives on the selection of PPE itself, i.e. to
submit supporting documents and to allow adequate time for comments on the PPE.
Correct use of PPE
Many times it happens that an employee uses PPE, but in an
inappropriate manner, which reduces the effectiveness of the PPE. Along with
the acceptance of the PPE, the employer is also obliged to make the employee
aware of the correct way to use it.
Once all the employer’s obligations have been met, the employee is then
required to use the assigned PPE in the correct manner and for the activities
based on the risk analysis.
Checking the use of PPE
The employer shall continuously monitor and require employees to use
PPE often restricts the employee at work. However, it should be
remembered that PPE is only really provided when the hazard cannot be
eliminated or reduced in any other way.