Personal Protective Equipment, PPE
First and most importantly, PPE is a last resort. When confronted with a workplace
hazard, there are three alternatives that must be considered in this order:
1. Eliminate the hazard via engineering controls.
2. Eliminate the exposure via administrative controls."
3. Only after the above two have failed is PPE appropriate.
So, if we have a tanning vat that gives off hydrogen cyanide gas, the first thing we would do is eliminate the cause of the hydrogen cyanide. Perhaps change the chemicals used in the process. If we can't eliminate the hazard, we try to eliminate the exposure. Perhaps putting the process within an unvented tank. Only when the exposure cannot be eliminated do we place personnel into personal protective equipment. In general most PPE is itself a hazard. It increases stress on the worker and may decrease dexterity, mobility and communications. Worker compliance is always an issue.
Some important questions:
Do we know what chemical we are protecting against?
Do we know how much?(Routes of exposure and exposure concentrations.)
Who evaluates the hazard and the PPE?
Module 05 Index
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