Personal protective equipment (PPE) is designed to protect against safety and/or health hazards. Hard hats, safety glasses, and safety boots, for instance, are designed to prevent or reduce the severity of injury if an accident occurs. Other PPE, such as hearing and respiratory protection, is designed to prevent illnesses and unwanted health effects. It is important to remember that PPE only provides protection. It reduces the risk but does not eliminate the hazard.
While common to all trades, PPE varies according to individual, job, and site conditions. Legal requirements for PPE also vary and the appropriate sections of the Occupational Health and Safety Act or the Regulations for Construction Projects (O. Reg. 213/91) should be consulted. Federally regulated firms should refer to the Canada Labour Code, Part II for legal requirements of PPE.
Occupational Health and Safety Act
Sections 25 and 27 of the OHSA makes employers and supervisors responsible for ensuring that required PPE is worn by the worker. The employer must also provide the PPE and maintain it in good condition. Under section 28 of the Act, workers have a duty to wear or use the PPE required by law as well as any required by the employer. This addresses situations where the regulations may not require PPE but the employer has set additional health and safety standards, such as mandatory eye protection. Workers also have to report any missing or defective PPE to the employer or supervisor and are prohibited from removing PPE or making it ineffective.
Regulations for Construction Projects
The construction regulation broadly requires that such protective clothing, equipment, or devices be worn “as are necessary to protect the worker against the hazards to which the worker may be exposed.” It also requires that the worker be trained in the use and care of this equipment.
Canada Labour Code
Under subsection 122.2 of the Canada Labour Code, Part II, preventive measures should, first, eliminate hazards, then reduce hazards, and finally, provide personal protective equipment, clothing, devices, or materials. Under section 125, the employer is responsible for providing every person granted access to the workplace by the employer with prescribed safety materials, equipment, devices and clothing. Under section 126, an employee must use any safety materials, equipment, devices, and clothing that are provided by the employer or prescribed by the Code.
PPE must be kept in good working order and replaced if it is damaged or has expired. It must also meet the various Canadian standards, such as the following:
- CSA Standard Z94.4-02 – Selection, Care and Use of Respirators
- CSA Standard Z94.3-07 – Eye and Face Protectors
- CSA Standard Z94.1 – Protective Headwear
- CSA Standard Z195-09 – Protective Footwear
- CSA Standard Z94.2.02 – Hearing Protection Devices (Performance Selection, Care and Use)
E-learning and Videos
Basics of Hearing Protection for Workers
In this presentation, you will find out about noise control, noise exposure levels, use of hearing protection and good hearing protection practices. An optional quiz is included to test your knowledge. 20:40 min.
Basics of Hearing Protection for Employers and H & S Reps
In this presentation, you will find out about noise control, noise exposure levels, use of hearing protection and good hearing protection practices. An optional quiz is included to test your knowledge. 21:29 min.
Construction Health and Safety Manual
- Personal Protective Equipment
- Eye Protection
- Head Protection
- Foot Protection
- Hearing Protection
- Respiratory Protection
- Hand/Skin Protection
- High-visibility Clothing
- Personal Fall Protection
- PPE and Winter weather
- Falling-object prevention
- Falling-object hazards
- Designated substances
- Hearing protection