SAFETY SOLUTIONS: Personal Protection - Storage, Maintenance and Care
OSHA 29 CFR 1910.132 requires all employers to
provide personnel protective equipment including
personal protective equipment for eyes, face,
head, and extremities, protective clothing, respiratory
devices, and protective shields and barriers.
This equipment shall be used, and maintained in a sanitary
and reliable condition wherever it is necessary by
reason of hazards of processes or environment, chemical
hazards, radiological hazards, or mechanical irritants
encountered in a manner capable of causing injury or
impairment in the function of any part of the body through
absorption, inhalation or physical contact. Depending on
the occupational safety and health hazards encountered
while performing assigned job tasks, your employer may
require you to use properly fitting personal protective
equipment (PPE) to avoid injuries and illnesses.
Some of the most common types of PPE are:
- Eye protection
- Face protection
- Hearing protection
- Head protection
- Hand protection
- Foot protection
- Respiratory protection
Each of the above is designed to provide a certain level
of protection if used and cared for as intended by the
manufacturer. One of the factors, which help maintain the
level of protection, is that the device is kept in a clean and
sanitary manner. Usually, unless otherwise directed by the
manufacturer, this entails washing the components of the
device in warm water with a mild detergent on a regular
basis (daily, weekly, monthly as conditions warrant).
If more than one person shares the safety device, it
must be cleaned and sanitized after each use.
Cleaning and sanitizing will do no good, however, if the
device is not properly stored in-between uses. For
instance, safety glasses or face shields which are left out
in the open in a dusty or otherwise contaminated environment
will become dirty and may compound an injury
rather than prevent it (dust falls into eyes from unclean
safety glasses). Or a respirator fitted with an organic cartridge,
left out on a workbench, will become ineffective as
the cartridge absorbs contaminants from the atmosphere.
Most of the devices noted above can be safely stored in
resealable plastic bags, clean cans with lids or storage
cupboards with tight-fitting doors.
Personal protective equipment should be inspected frequently
according to the manufacturerâ€™s recommendation
and any defective parts or devices immediately removed
from service until repaired and in good operating condition.
Should you have any questions concerning personal
protective equipment, please feel free to write me.
For more information, click on the author biography at the top of the page.