Personal protective equipment (PPE) is the last line of defense for protecting workers. Health and safety hazards should be eliminated at the source (if possible) through engineering controls. The second line of defense should involve intervention along the path, that is, adjustment of the work procedure itself and/or the introduction of mechanical devices to minimize the exposure of workers to occupational health or safety hazards: e.g., dust collectors, welding fume extraction units, exhaust fans, welding screens, etc. The implementation of safe work practices and safe job procedures should also include the proper selections care and use of PPE.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is widely used in construction because the hazards cannot be effectively controlled by using engineering or administrative controls. An example of an engineering controls is designing the job/task/tool to eliminate the risk such as using tools equipped with dust collectors or using a guard on a saw. An example of an administrative control is posting signs to restrict access to an area.
Companies should have clear requirements regarding the provision and use of PPE. These requirements should be effectively communicated to all affected employees. The company should have a program in place to ensure that the requirements are being met.
Most construction companies have basic requirements for PPE. For example, all persons on site should be required to wear:
- CSA Grade 1 Safety Footwear ( "Green Tag" safety boots)
- CSA Class G or Class E Hard Hat
- CSA Safety Glasses
Additional PPE or specialized PPE is often required. In some cases specialized PPE requires specific training as well as regular maintenance and inspection. This may include:
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The samples provided are intended to be modified to meet company or site-specific requirements. Without such modifications, they may not be appropriate. Although IHSA believes that the information provided is consistent with the legal requirements and/or good industry practices which prevailed at the time the information was compiled, users of this information are urged to check with current regulations, local/trade practices and the most recent edition of the reference material to ensure that it is still appropriate.