Need toolbox talks on PPE? Here are 4 that you will appreciate – each with a specific focus on Personal Protective Equipment. We all love toolbox talks on PPE, so feel free to use this message during your next toolbox talk discussion.
Toolbox Talk on PPE Clothing
Every worker is required to wear or use personal protective clothing, equipment or device as is necessary for their protection from the particular hazards to which he is exposed. Personal protective clothing reduces the possibility of injury. Using the proper protective equipment or device can prevent injury to others including:
- Safety boots must always be worn. Properly rated hard hats are required when there is an overhead or side impact danger.
- Safety glasses or goggles should be worn when workers are chipping, sanding, welding, cutting, drilling or using power-actuated tools. In fact, they should be worn all the time. Remember, your eyes must last you a lifetime.
- Cuffs on overalls are not only a nuisance but also a hazard.
- It is unwise to go without a shirt in summer (check company or client regulations as a shirt may be a mandatory requirement). Even a shirt of thin light material can protect you from minor cuts and scratches and certainly from sunburn.
- All workers except those working around machinery should wear gloves. Rings, watch chains, key chains and similar items should not be worn on the job since they can be caught in moving machinery.
- In winter, watch out for parka strings. Always avoid wearing loose, torn or ragged garments.
Take care of your protective clothing if you expect it to take care of you.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Can Save Lives
Business reviews would seem to indicate that today we are spending more for clothing than anytime in history. And yet, we take so much pride in the social aspect of our dress – what about the really important angle? What about the manner in which we dress for work with safety in mind?
- Are we meticulous in the protection of our skull, the important guardian of our brain center, through the wearing of a hard hat?
- What about our sight, our most important sense? Do we have our eyes examined periodically if necessary, do we use our glasses when reading, and above all, do we cover them with safety goggles when the occasion demands?
- The shirt, an important piece of apparel. If we operate, or are engaged around moving machinery and equipment, do we wear short sleeve shirts, or have straight cuffs? The same goes for jackets. Never wear a loose-fitting jacket, keep it buttoned or zippered shut at least chest high.
- Our hands are a very vulnerable part of our body. If our work calls for it, do we wear gloves? Also remember, worn or tattered gloves are more dangerous than no gloves at all.
- Wearing overalls or pants with cuffed or rolled up legs is a poor practice. If the legs are too long, have them cut off and hemmed. Straight legs reduce the self-tripping hazard.
- How about boots? They don’t have to shine with a brilliant luster, but they must be practical. A safe working boot has a thick sole; thin sole boots can result in serious foot punctures. To protect against toe injuries, steel capped boots are most practical. Bootlaces should not be too long.
- Watch out for jewelry. It can catch on things, too. Don’t wear loose watch chains, straps, keys on belt, etc., or any item that might hook on something and place you in a hazardous position. Rings, wristlets and other jewelry belong at home and not on the job.
Remember to dress properly for the job you’re doing.
Toolbox Talks on PPE and a Handy Checklist!
Need a checklist to ensure PPE compliance is in place at your work site? Here’s one you’ll find helpful.
Have you identified your workers’ personal protection needs?
Have a good look at the various types of work, the plant, equipment and chemicals used and the locations where work takes place. Any source of danger to workers’ health or safety needs to be eliminated altogether or, where this is not practicable, the risks must be properly controlled. The best and most foolproof ways to control risk is to isolate the source of danger from people or to use physical or presence-sensing guarding to prevent people from
contacting the danger. But where this can not be done, or when it does not fully control the risk, use properly understood safe work procedures and the right combination of personal protective equipment (PPE) to fully safeguard workers.
Have you posted the necessary personal protection signs?
To be on the safe side, declare the entire site a hardhat and protective footwear area, and post the safety signs for these prominently at site entrances. Signpost any particular areas where workers will need hearing protection, safety glasses, gloves or breathing masks. Post signs and notices in trailers to remind workers of the types of PPE needed for various types of work.
Have you made sure the right PPE has been provided?
If you are using PPE as a way of controlling risks, it is your responsibility to supply your workers with the right equipment. Insist that your supplier provides equipment complying with the appropriate Regulations and all necessary information on the correct fitting, cleaning and maintenance of the equipment. So far as possible, allow your workers to select the particular model so that it gives them maximum personal comfort. Comfortable PPE gets worn, while “one size fits all” PPE, which is uncomfortable, is only worn under sufferance.
Do your workers understand why they need PPE?
Take the time and effort to make sure your workers know what the possible consequences to their health and safety may be if they do not use the right PPE. If they properly understand what can go wrong, they are more likely to use PPE without being constantly told. If workers are reluctant to use PPE, encourage them to help you develop a better way to do the work so that they won’t need PPE.
Are workers trained in the use of PPE?
Some types of PPE have particular, fitting, testing, cleaning and inspecting requirements. Where this is the case, make sure workers have been properly instructed in these procedures and can demonstrate them correctly.
Is PPE use being adequately monitored?
PPE is only as good as the degree to which it is properly used. Providing a worker with PPE, and then failing to make sure it is being used, is simply not good enough. Conduct regular checks. Insist that the rules for PPE are always followed. Take appropriate action to make this stick.
Is PPE being inspected and replaced as necessary?
Faulty PPE is sometimes worse than no PPE because it can give the worker a false sense of security. For example, the use of incompatible components in safety harness systems can cause the “roll out” of snap hooks, which may result in a worker falling to their death. Make sure PPE is checked regularly for serviceability and compatibility.
Do you review your PPE needs?
New products come on to the market that may provide you with a way of controlling risks without the need for PPE any longer. For example, recent innovations in temporary guardrailing systems now mean there is a product to suit most types of roofing work, reducing the need to rely on safety harness systems. Also, new and improved PPE products are regularly being introduced. Keep up to date through trade magazines, your safety equipment supplier and your industry association.
Take Care of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Depending on the occupational safety and health hazards encountered while performing assigned job tasks, your employer may require you to use properly fitting personal protective equipment (PPE) to avoid injuries and illnesses.
Some of the most common types of PPE are:
• Eye protection
• Face protection
• Hearing protection
• Head protection
• Hand protection
• Foot protection
• Respiratory protection
Each of the above is designed to provide a certain level of protection if used and cared for as intended by the manufacturer. One of the factors that help maintain the level of protection is if the device is kept in a clean and sanitary manner. Usually, unless otherwise directed by the manufacturer, this entails washing the components of the device in warm water with a mild detergent on a regular basis (daily, weekly, monthly as conditions warrant).
If more than one person shares the safety device, it must be cleaned and sanitized after each use.
Cleaning and sanitizing will do no good, however, if the device is not properly stored in-between uses. For instance, safety glasses or face shields which are left out in the open in a dusty or otherwise contaminated environment will become dirty and may compound an injury rather than prevent it (dust falls into eyes from unclean safety glasses). Or a respirator fitted with an organic cartridge, left out on a workbench, will become ineffective as the cartridge absorbs contaminants from the atmosphere.
Most of the devices noted above can be safely stored in re-closable plastic bags, clean cans with lids or storage cupboards with tight-fitting doors.
Personal protective equipment should be inspected frequently, and any defective parts or devices immediately removed from service until repaired and in good operating condition.
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