As a small business owner, it is your responsibility to be sure your employees are safe while performing all business duties. In many cases, their job and work practices provide the necessary protection needed.
However, for some duties, you will need to provide them with special personal protective equipment (PPE).
PPE include equipment is worn by employees to minimize hazards and reduce injuries. There are many types of equipment that can help protect your employees, from eye protection to hearing devices and hard hats. Here is more information about personal property equipment.
Types of Personal Protective Equipment
The type of personal protective equipment you provide to your employees will depend on their job and what hazards they might face. If they are working with dust and air particles, they will certainly want safety glasses and a face dust mask at a minimum.
Others might need earplugs or muffs if they are working with loud noises, such as with jackhammers, or in an industrial warehouse. Other types of personal protective equipment includes steel-toe shoes, full body suits, vests, coveralls, respirators, gloves, and hard hats. The purpose is to protect your workers from mechanical, electrical, physical, chemical, and radiological hazards in the workplace.
The Importance of Training
Not only do you need to provide the right PPE, but you also need to train your employees on how to use it. They need to be sure all equipment fits properly and comfortable, and that they are encouraged to use it during certain tasks where hazards might be an issue.
You might not be there to be sure they are wearing their equipment at all times, so you should show them the importance of protecting themselves and really explain the hazards when they don’t wear their PPE. During training, make sure every employee knows when they must wear their equipment, how to put it on correctly, what equipment to wear depending on the tasks, the limitations of each type of PPE, and how to care for and maintain it.
OSHA Requirements for PPE
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), you must also do the following:
- Get the right equipment according to your type of business. There are different requirements for guarding employees against construction hazards, electrical hazards, machinery hazards, and chemical hazards. Be sure the PPE you choose is for their type of job and what hazards they might face.
- Have the right respirators on hand. There are different respirators to choose from, and you must follow OSHA’s guidelines for choosing the right one. Like other equipment, the type of respirator will depend on the industry and the type of hazards in the workplace.
- Ear plugs or other ear protection must always be used for any type of business that has loud noises, such as warehouses and mills, manufacturing plants, construction sites, and assembly lines.
Take the time to learn OSHA’s guidelines for your type of company, and know exactly what hazards or potential injuries your employees could be facing. As always, be protected with workers’ compensation insurance in the event that an employee is injured while on the job.