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Personal Protective Equipment Guidelines: How to Use PPE Properly

persoanl protective equipment

Personal Protective Equipment Guidelines: How to Use PPE Properly

Employers have an obligation of prioritizing the safety and protection of their employees. Eliminating safety hazards are done by controlling the work environment and ensuring that no external factors will cause injury to the workers.

It is also the responsibility of the employers to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to their employees when certain safety hazards cannot be completely controlled. Personal protective material is any piece of clothing or equipment that protects the user from physical injury brought about by the nature of their work and the type of environment they work in. For any further information please speak with a personal protective equipment specialist.

Here we’ll be discussing personal protective equipment guidelines and how to use them properly to ensure maximum worker safety:

What are the different types of personal protective equipment?

Depending on the occupation and nature of the workplace, there are tons of different PPE that provide adequate protection to the user. PPE is mainly categorized into four main types which are:

  1. Facial PPE– Safety goggles, ear plugs, welding helmets, and impact goggles are used to protect the worker’s face from external harm. Chemical splashes and sparks can cause serious damage to the worker’s face if not protected properly which is mitigated by wearing PPE designed for face protection.
  2. Hand PPE – Operation of certain tools and equipment can pose danger to the worker’s hands. Circular saws, harmful chemicals, rotary machines and sharp objects might cut or pierce the skin. Thick gloves protect the worker’s hands from industrial work and latex gloves prevent irritation to the skin when dealing with chemicals i.e. inside a laboratory.
  3. Body PPE – Different kinds of hazards require different body protection. Helmets, coveralls, safety shoes, lab coats, and construction gear all do a good job of protecting the employee from external work hazards.
  4. Respiratory PPE – Personal protective equipment in this category allow the worker to breathe properly in situations where oxygen is lacking or when it is dangerous to breathe the surrounding air. Respiratory PPE comes in two types which are:
  • Breathing apparatuses
  • Respirators

Respiratory PPE is designed to be used as a last resort when inhalation hazards in the workplace cannot be fully eliminated.

How does PPE fit within the risk management process?

Companies hire safety enforcement officers to run a risk management process to reduce health risks inside the workplace as much as possible. Personal protective equipment plays an important role in the risk management process by:

  • Offering protection for the employees until the safety hazards are fully eliminated.
  • Combined with other safety measures to ensure maximum employee protection.
  • Allowing workers to confidently perform their duties without risking injury or harm.

Personal protective equipment should be provided to the workers when these hazards are present inside the workplace:

  1. Performing dangerous tasks like dealing with live wires, hot surfaces, and using sharp tools.
  2. Handling corrosive chemicals, cleaning pathogens, and exposure to substances that could have adverse health effects.
  3. Environmental hazards like extremely cold or hot temperatures.

Proper Selection of PPE

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing PPE. Safety enforcement officers choose the correct PPE by:

  • Identifying the hazards workers are exposed to.
  • How much exposure the workers will face.
  • How long are they exposed to the hazards.

Workers also play a role when it comes to proper selection of PPE. Before using the equipment, follow these important tips:

  1. Make sure that the equipment fits you correctly. If you are given a wrong size, don’t hesitate to ask your safety officer and replace it with a properly fitting one.
  2. Indicate any allergies and medical conditions that you may have. Some PPE might cause irritation to the skin and allergies might trigger which will hinder your productivity at work.

The nature of the work should also be considered when selecting personal protective equipment. Things such as:

  1. The physical demands of the activities performed. Wearing PPE should not hinder any physical movement so that workers can properly perform their duties.
  2. The number of hazards present when performing certain tasks.

It is the responsibility of the safety officers to routinely inspect the condition of the PPE’s before handing them over to the workers. Strict implementation is of utmost importance so that the employees are well-protected before heading out to the workplace.

Workers should undergo training and instruction on when and how to use PPE by:

  • Knowing how to correctly wear and remove PPE.
  • Proper cleaning and maintenance.
  • Identifying spontaneous safety hazards inside the workplace.

Maintenance of PPE

Personal protective equipments undergo daily wear and tear. Correct maintenance of these equipments will ensure longevity and offer maximum protection during usage. Here is how to maintain your PPE:

  1. Check for damaged or worn-out components. If you see any major damages, don’t hesitate to ask for a replacement. PPE should be in relatively good condition to provide you with the necessary level of protection.
  2. Take note of the lifespan of the PPE. Avoid using personal protective equipment that has reached its lifespan and replace it immediately.
  3. Clean your PPE after each use. Avoid placing it in extremely hot or cold conditions to preserve its lifespan.


Following these personal protective equipment guidelines will not only ensure the safety of the workers, but will also enable them to work productively inside the workplace. Knowing when and how to use PPE will result in a safer work environment where workers can confidently perform their duties without fear of injury or accident.