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Personal Protective Equipment

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is the last line of defense for protecting workers. Health and safety hazards should be eliminated at the source (if possible) through engineering controls. The second line of defense should involve intervention along the path, which means adjusting the work procedure and/or using mechanical devices to minimize the exposure of workers to occupational health or safety hazards. These devices can include dust collectors, welding fume extraction units, exhaust fans, welding screens, etc. The last line of defense is to control the hazard at the worker, which involves the use of PPE. PPE only provides protection against the hazard. It reduces the risk but does not eliminate the hazard.

PPE such as hard hats, safety glasses, and safety boots 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. Implementing safe work practices and safe job procedures should also include the proper selection, care, and use of PPE.

PPE is widely used in construction when hazards cannot be effectively controlled by using engineering or administrative controls. An example of an engineering controls is designing the job/task/tool to eliminate the risk such as using tools equipped with dust collectors or using a guard on a saw. An example of an administrative control is posting signs to restrict access to an area.

Companies should have clear requirements regarding the provision and use of PPE. These requirements should be effectively communicated to all affected employees. The company should have a program in place to ensure that the requirements are being met.

 

Basic Requirements

Most construction companies have basic requirements for PPE. For example, all persons on site should be required to wear:

  • CSA-approved Grade 1 Safety Footwear (Safety boots with a green triangular tag )
  • CSA-approved Class E Hard Hat (Type 2 preferred)
  • CSA-approved Safety Glasses
 

Specialized Requirements

Additional PPE or specialized PPE is often required for certain jobs and situations. In some cases, specialized PPE requires specific training as well as regular maintenance and inspection. They may include:

  • Safety Vests
  • Face Shields
  • Goggles
  • Gloves
  • Respiratory Protection
  • Safety Harnesses
  • Hearing Protection
 

Samples

 

Links to other topics

 

Links to existing IHSA and MOL material

 
Caution/Disclaimer

The samples provided are intended to be modified to meet company or site-specific requirements. Without such modifications, they may not be appropriate. Although IHSA believes that the information provided is consistent with the legal requirements and/or good industry practices which prevailed at the time the information was compiled, users of this information are urged to check with current regulations, local/trade practices and the most recent edition of the reference material to ensure that it is still appropriate.

 
Last Updated: March 19, 2020

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