What Are OSHA’s PPE Requirements?
OSHA developed PPE requirements to ensure that employees stay as protected as possible in the workplace.
When it comes to the health and safety of employees, employers are responsible for:
- Performing a workplace “hazard assessment” to identify and control potential hazards
- Providing appropriate PPE for employees
- Training employees on how to use and take care of PPE
- Replacing worn or damaged PPE
- Routinely reviewing and updating the company’s PPE program
On the other hand, employees are responsible for:
- Properly wearing PPE
- Attending PPE training sessions
- Cleaning and maintaining PPE
- Communicating with a supervisor about repairing or replacing PPE
What Is a Hazard Assessment?
A hazard assessment is the first step in developing a comprehensive health and safety program. Through the assessment, you can identify potential hazards that may affect the wellbeing of your employees.
In addition to possible risks throughout the facility, things to look for during a walkthrough include:
- Sources of electricity
- Sources of motion, such as machines or processes, that could result in a direct impact between workers and equipment
- Sources of high temperatures that could result in burns
- Types of chemicals used in the workplace
- Light radiation sources, including welding, brazing, cutting, furnaces, heat treating, high-intensity lights, and more
- The potential for falling objects
- Sharp objects that could cut, stab, or puncture an individual’s skin
- Biological hazards, such as blood or other potentially infected material
After a walkthrough is complete, an employer must organize and analyze their findings so they can determine the best types of PPE for their operations. A workplace should also be reassessed in case there are any changes in working conditions, equipment, or procedures that could affect the wellbeing of employees.
Why Do We Need PPE?
PPE is crucial for supporting the health and safety of your employees. It provides a barrier between your employees and hazardous substances and processes, and can include various articles of clothing or protection, including:
It’s important to note that every industry has different components in their PPE kits, because not every industry works with the same types of hazardous material. For further information on what should be in your company’s PPE kits, refer to infection control or the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
When Do You Need PPE?
PPE needs to be used whenever you and your employees are in hazardous areas of the facility or are handling hazardous materials.
Hazardous areas could include:
- Potentially dangerous machines or processes
- Highly contagious areas
- Places where things could fall without warning
- Areas where sharp objects are used
Hazardous materials could include:
- Toxic chemicals
- Biological solutions
- Significantly hot or cold materials
How To Launder Reusable Personal Protective Equipment Safety Gloves
Laundering reusable safety gloves is a great way to cut costs, reduce waste, and promote long-lasting hand protection. Each type of glove offers its own laundering process to extend its longevity.
Kevlar® gloves are inherently cut-resistant. The cut resistance of the gloves doesn’t degrade over time, no matter how many times you wash or use them, and washing them doesn’t affect their size, weight, or strength. These gloves are also resistant to most chemicals and solvents; however, they are not resistant to strong acids, bases, or oxidizers.
- Use approximately 5 pounds of commercial laundry soap or detergent per 100 pounds of Kevlar®
- Rinse in hot water that is at least 170 degrees Fahrenheit
- Soak the gloves in soap and hot water for 20 minutes
- Rinse with hot water
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 if necessary
- Rinse the gloves in cold water
- Tumble gloves dry for 35 minutes at 155 degrees Fahrenheit
- Pre-wash the gloves using perchloroethylene for 5 minutes
- Drain the perchloroethylene
- Wash the gloves for 20 minutes using perchloroethylene and 12 ounces of anionic surfactant per 100 pounds of Kevlar®
- Tumble the gloves dry at less than 140 degrees Fahrenheit
Dyneema® gloves can be washed, dry-cleaned, or bleached without affecting quality. However, these gloves are sensitive to temperature, and have a melting point between 290 to 306 degrees Fahrenheit. They should be treated with care if high temperatures are involved.
Standard detergents do not affect the quality of Dyneema® fiber, so you can wash and reuse the gloves frequently. In addition, conventional laundering practices do not pose a problem for Dyneema® gloves, so they should remain in good condition if they’re properly maintained.
Protect the Health and Safety of Your Employees With Closed Loop Recycling
Closed Loop Recycling helps businesses in industries like yours protect their employees with PPE laundering. Our PPE laundering process keeps your employees healthy and safe while also supporting the wellbeing of the environment. Our laundering won’t reduce the lifespan of your PPE, so it stays as good as new each time you get it back. Reach out to Closed Loop today to get started!