Refresher in PPE Requirements from OSHA

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires all Michigan builders to provide PPE (personal protective equipment) to their employees. These regulations include guidelines on what types of PPE to use in certain circumstances. Here is a brief review of the OSHA guidelines on PPE.

Employer Responsibilities

Under the OSHA guidelines, employers must:

  • Identify potential physical and health hazards on job sites.
  • Use their knowledge of potential hazards to identify the right PPE to distribute.
  • Train employees in the use and care of assigned PPE.
  • Maintain and replace provided equipment.
  • Review and update PPE programs on a periodic basis.

These simple steps help reduce workplace accidents and ensure full compliance with all applicable regulations.

Types of PPE

OSHA requirements for eye, face, head, and foot protection conform with standards established by the American National Standards Institute.

  • Eye and face protection must provide protection from impact, splashing liquids, and non-ionizing radiation. (ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2015)
  • Foot protection should focus on impact, compression, and electrical conductivity resistance. (ASTM F2412 / ASTM F2413)
  • Appropriate headgear must be worn on all active job sites to avoid potentially life-threatening injuries (ANSI/ISEA Z89.1-2014)
  • Hand protection like gloves and mittens should be chosen to match the specific hazards of the job. (ANSI/ISEA 105-2016)

When distributing PPE, take some time to make sure the employee understands when it should be used. Demonstrate how to put on and remove the item, if necessary, and the proper way to store the piece. Explain the limitations of the equipment and offer some guidelines on how to further reduce the risk of accident or injury.  Not only are these steps required by OSHA regulation, but they are the best way to make sure employees are prepared to work safely.

Body and Hearing PPE

Michigan builders who take part in underground utility installations, commercial property developments, and other large-scale projects that require heavy equipment, body and hearing PPE is necessary for many employees. You may need to provide body covering if your employees are exposed to:

  • Extreme temperatures
  • Molten metal or other hot liquids
  • Potential impact from machinery, materials, or tools
  • Hazardous chemicals

Body PPE comes in a variety of materials and designs. Choose garments that match the specific hazards on your job site.

Hearing PPE is common on most construction sites. Earplugs protect workers' eardrums from loud, sudden noises. However, additional protection may be need if employees:

  • Are exposed to high decibels for a long period of time.
  • Are stationary and unable to move away from loud noises frequently.
  • Are exposed to noises from multiple sources.

Review your PPE program at least once a year. Check for damage or wear and tear and replace expired equipment to stay in full compliance with OSHA safety regulations.