Personal Protective Equipment: Are you covered?
Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE as it is often referred to, is more than just a suggestion, it's the law. PPE is safety equipment worn in order to use certain products and perform certain jobs in the safest way possible once all other options have been exhausted. These options include: elimination, substitution, engineering controls and administrative controls. Although it may seem obvious as to which PPE to use for certain tasks i.e. using hearing protection while operating loud equipment or safety glasses when cutting or grinding metal, it can come as quite a surprise to see some product's PPE requirements
Personal Protective Equipment can include:
- Headwear/Hard Hats
- Hearing Protectors
- Safety Glasses/Goggles
- Face Shields
- Body Belts, Harnesses, and Lanyard
- Chemical/Personal Protective Clothing
- Fall Protection - Travel Restraint System
- High-Visibility Safety Apparel
- Safety Footwear
In 2017, the Association of Workers Compensation Boards of Canada reported a staggering 251,625 lost-time injuries, 326 work-injury related fatalities, and 625 occupational disease related fatalities. Under the OHSA, Occupational Disease/Illness is "defined as a condition that results from exposure in a workplace to a physical, chemical or biological agent to the extent that the normal physiological mechanisms are affected, and the health of the worker is impaired."
An important factor to remember is the maintenance of your PPE. For example, a respirator will need regular maintenance, changing the filters as often as stated on the filter packaging, as well as cleaning the face mask after each use. If PPE is damaged, or left without regular maintenance it is no longer going to protect those using it.
The Ministry of Labour in Ontario has scheduled an initiative focusing on PPE running from January 6 to March 13, 2020. During their last blitz focused on PPE in 2017 the MOL issued 7,483 orders from January 1 to December 31.
Is your workplace compliant with the PPE requirements?
Find the legal requirements for PPE in the workplace in Ontario HERE.