PPE includes anything someone can use or wear to mitigate the threats that workplace hazards pose to health and safety.

Depending on the tasks and environment, workers use PPE such as:

Boots
Gloves
Ear plugs
Respirators
Safety harnesses
Hi-viz clothing
Helmets, hardhats and facial protection
The nature and purpose of these equipment pieces vary between jobs and worksites. For example, workers in the oil and gas industry need gloves that protect against crushing and pinching. On the other hand, glass-handling gloves help the wearer properly grip glass to prevent cuts and strains.

Employers typically use PPE as a final measure to protect employees against apparent dangers, whereas hazard-control techniques – such as substituting faulty equipment – are a first-line of defense.

The answer to this question depends on where you work. Country to country and region to region, it can greatly vary.

In Canada, for example, the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations state that employers must provide PPE to each employee who needs it. But this does not explicitly mean the employer must purchase equipment for each worker.

Furthermore, the regulations do not clarify which pieces of equipment employers must provide. Many construction and factory workers buy their own hardhats and steel toe boots. Equipment that’s not as widely sold is typically given to them.

So, who pays for PPE can depend on equipment-by-equipment and workplace-by-workplace bases.

Generally, this is not an issue you should face.

In the aforementioned Canadian Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, many employers interpret the rule to provide PPE as a requirement to purchase it for workers.

If this is not the case and you cannot afford to buy a certain piece of PPE, discuss the issue with your boss.

In the United States, OSHA mandates that employers must pay for all PPE. This rule has been in effect since 2008, also requiring that employers make sure that any employee-purchased PPE provides adequate protection.

Employees must use PPE as outlined in their workplaces’ guidelines, which should largely follow government protocol.

In this respect, employers should mandate the use of the PPE as a:

Last Resort: There are no other control measures to mitigate risks
Back-up Measure: PPE supplements other, more-effective control measures
Temporary Policy: An effective control measure is currently being implemented
Most work environments mandate the use of PPE as a back-up measure, protecting employees from danger if other defense mechanisms fail.

However, speak to your employer if you feel the PPE you are required to use is not effective in this sense.

Your employer, in accordance with the above-mentioned act or standard, should decide the kinds of PPE you should wear for a specific job.

If you feel you need another – or different – piece of PPE, talk to your manager

Yes. Each kind of PPE plays a role in workplace safety, but all help contribute to worker safety.

Consider that 8.1% of fatal work injuries in the US are caused by being struck by an object, according to a 2014 United States Department of Labor study. What’s more, 8.2% of fatalities were electrocutions.

In many cases, the damage could have been lessened with appropriate PPE such as hardhats and electrical gloves.

The answer to this question varies depending on where you work. Generally, the legal onus falls on your employer to ensure you’re properly using PPE.

For example, the United States Department of Labor mandates that employers must train each worker who is required to use PPE. They must know how to use each piece of necessary equipment, as well as the limitations of said equipment.

Canada’s Occupational Health and Safety Regulations also state that employers must:

Provide PPE and other protective devices
Make sure these resources are used as prescribed
Maintain these resources in usable conditions
The second point in the above list indicates that, legally, employers must ensure employees properly use PPE.

But if you flagrantly disregard workplace guidelines, your employer will likely determine the consequences.

Still question?

Fill the form to ask you more questions, our suppoters will respone as soon as possible.