Personal Protective Equipment... and what you should know as a business owner.
As an employer, you have a duty to yourself, employees, and customers to stay safe in the workplace. Without you or your team in good physical condition, the business can’t/won’t run efficiently. As a result, your customers won’t be serviced to the best of your abilities.
A key part to staying safe in the workplace involves the provision of Personal Protective Equipment appropriate for the tasks being completed.
PPE can include items like high visibility clothing, helmets, gloves, eye protection, respiratory protection, footwear, and fall arrest harnesses…. It really depends on the specific tasks and processes associated with what you do.
Please be aware, provision of PPE is not the only thing required to having a safe workplace…In fact, it is the last thing on a list to be checked off when ensuring that you and you team stay safe while at work.
Creating a safe workplace must also involve the following:
- Providing clear instructions on the use of equipment and tools.
- Creating and communication of procedures & policies.
- Provision of training for yourself and your team.
- Continued supervision to ensure people are working safely.
As an employer, your first step is to implement controls and systems to remove the risk from the workplace. However, as you already know, even after you’ve engineered controls and created safe systems/policies, hazards may still remain.
Depending on what your business does, these hazards may pose a risk to the following:
- Head and Feet – At risk from falling materials, or obstacles/objects that can be hit/kicked during regular movements within your facility.
- Eyes – At risk from flying particles or splashes from dangerous liquids.
- Hands & Skin– At risk from cuts, abrasions, and contact with dangerous materials & liquids.
- Body – at risk from extreme temperatures (hot or cold), and contact with dangerous materials & liquids.
Identifying and understanding the risks in your workplace should be your first step. Once understood, the priority should then be the elimination and control of hazards at their source.
Once the hazards are reduced and controlled, then proper PPE can be determined to further reduce risks.