Every worker has the right to a safe and healthful work environment including access to the proper equipment necessary to keep them safe. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is vital in minimizing exposure to possible injuries or illnesses.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to conduct hazard assessments of all workplaces to determine the need for PPE and help in selecting the proper PPE for all tasks performed (1910.132(d)(1)). Completing a workplace hazard assessment can help you determine your risks and the appropriate PPE necessary to reduce those risks. So how do you do this? Begin by designating a PPE coordinator to be in charge. He or she will ensure that the proper PPE is available, readily accessible, maintained, and that employees are trained on its usage.
Assess the workplace to identify the hazards present during each task, procedure, or job performed.The types of exposures or hazards that are present will affect the PPE necessary to help protect against them. Workplace hazards may include exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials or hazardous chemicals, as well as the possibility of needle sticks or other sharps injuries. Prepare a written certification that the hazard assessment has been conducted (1910.132(d)(2)).
Select what PPE is necessary to minimize risk of exposure or injury for each hazard that cannot be eliminated through use of elimination, substitution, engineering controls, or administrative controls.
Train and certify employees on the PPE indicated/associated with the hazards of your workplace.They should know when and how to use the PPE as well as its limitations (1910.132(f)). Be sure they are also trained for appropriately disposing of PPE – such as biohazardous laundry bin, hazardous waste container or RMW containers.
Be sure your employees know where they can readily find the information contained in your hazard assessment.
Remember, a safer environment is a smarter environment.
SteriSafe customers can address necessary PPE in their workplace OSHA compliance by completing their Exposure Control Plan and/or their Hazard Communication Program at MyStericycle.com through the Safety Plan Builder.
You can now shop online at MyStericycle.com for safety and infection control products, including gloves, eye protection, gowns, boots, masks, respirators and more!
Want to learn more? Check out:
- 6 Things You Might Not Know About PPE
- Top 4 Considerations for Choosing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Keep Your Team Safe in 2014: OSHA Compliance and More
Regulation 1910.132 also has more details.