Wednesday, April 11, 2012

PPE - Your Last Line of Defense!

PPE stands for personal protective equipment.  PPE is your last line of defense against injuries so it is important that you wear it.  Just a couple of PPE reminders for all employees to keep in mind to help fight the battle against injuries.  We feel that safety starts with the hard hat.  We liken it to getting in your car and fastening your seat belt.  Head protection can save your life. 
Hard hats are required 100%.
Work boots are required 100%
Long pants and shirts with sleeves are required 100%.  No tank top style shirts allowed. 
Eye protection – ANSI Z87.1 approved safety glasses or goggles must be worn when required by the general contractor.  They must also be worn when the tool or process you are doing requires eye protection.  Examples of tools and processes that you might use that require eye protection are TrakFast guns, staple guns, saws, welding, handling insulation, etc.  We cannot name every tool or process that might take place.  You must follow the tool manufacturer’s safety recommendations for eye protection.  You should also wear eye protection when drilling overhead, sanding overhead, when using corrosive liquids or corrosive paints and when the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) requires them to be worn.  Other times you might wear safety glasses are when it’s windy outside, as dust and debris can get in your eyes.
Dust Mask type respirators are to be worn by employees performing sanding operations and when handling insulation.  Voluntary use in dusty conditions. 
Half Mask and/or Full Mask organic vapor respirators are required to be worn by painters when performing any spray type applications.  Also required with some painting products when not spraying.  Painters must refer to the MSDS to determine if an appropriate respirator is required for the product they are using.  If you are unsure, then seek assistance from your Foreman, Superintendent or our Safety Director.  Painters or anyone wearing a half or full mask respirator must have been fit tested, trained and medically approved to wear these types of respirators. 
Gloves – required when handling insulation.  Nitrile coated or dipped gloves required when handling Thermafiber type insulation.  Rubber type PVC coated gloves are required when handling corrosive type liquids.  All employees working with unfamiliar products need to review the MSDS for the products you are using to check the glove requirements.  Gloves are required for carpenters/framers and all employees handling or working around sharp objects.  Your Superintendent has the authority to require gloves and other PPE as deemed necessary for your protection.
Hearing Protection is required when noise levels exceed OSHA acceptable levels.   Examples of when to use hearing protection would be when you are working next to someone who is jack hammering, when you are using a chopsaw to cut steel studs for an extended period of time, when the work environment has unusually high noise levels, etc. As always, you should check the operator’s manual of the various power tools you are using for the hearing protection requirements.
Face Shieldyou must always were safety glasses under a face shield.  Face shields are required when ever using a gas partner saw.  Face shields shall be worn whenever a tool or process requires one to be worn.  Examples of situations when a face shield should be worn are when sparks are flying toward you while cutting steel, when there is a chance debris could strike you on the face or eyes.  You should refer to the tool operations manual for the tool you are using to see if a face shield is required.

This article does not name every situation in which you would be required to wear PPE, however, the above is a good start.  Don't wear PPE just because you are required to; wear PPE because it's your last line of defense against injuries.  Wear PPE for the sake of your loved ones who count on you coming home from work alive and in the same condition as you arrived. 

Should you have any questions regarding PPE, you are encouraged to call our Safety Director, Safety Pete at (847) 417-1689.

Have a Safe Day!