What is a PPE hazard identification & assessment?
How to conduct a PPE hazard identification & assessment?
Industries always consider safety to be one of the most important aspects. Emphasis on industrial safety is important for the well-being of the employees as well as the industrial equipment. Ensuring a safe & sound work environment prevents any accidents or mishaps. For a safe workplace, the industry ensures that a PPE hazard assessment is performed.
Industries have started to give more importance to safety due to the stringent laws that have been imposed for maintaining the standards of safety. Moreover, industries benefit monetarily due to maintaining safety as it drastically reduces any chances of any mishaps and avoids any workers’ compensation. According to OSHO, more than $300 million are spent by industries every year for workers’ comp just for eye injuries at the workplace.
The failure of a PPE hazard identification & assessment can cause huge losses for the industry. So, the industries don’t hesitate in invest in safety. One of the initial steps that any industry invests its time & money in safety is a thorough PPE hazard assessment. In this article, we will understand PPE hazard assessment and the procedure followed for it. Let’s start without any further ado.
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What is a PPE hazard identification & assessment?
PPE hazard identification & assessment is a technique used to collect information about the industrial workplace for the identification & assessment of any possible hazard and subsequently planning PPE gear accordingly for the employees of the industry.
PPE hazard identification & assessment is performed for the safety of employees & workers. PPE hazard identification & assessment helps in understanding the possible hazards for an individual working in a particular industry. This helps in planning a PPE kit for the workers so that they can work without any danger. Wearing appropriate PPE reduces the risk of any injury if any mishap occurs. This makes PPE hazard identification & assessment important for the industry as well as for the well-being of the worker.
What happens if a PPE hazard identification & assessment is not performed? The major problem would be how will the industry decide which PPE the worker should wear? Moreover, what level of safety is required for a particular PPE. For example, high temperatures mean that workers should don heat-resistant clothing. But, the range of temperature at the workplace helps in the proper selection of material used in heat-resistant clothing.
Another example can be the use of eye safety goggles for protection against light & radiation that a worker is exposed to in the industrial workplace. Now, the estimation of the intensity of light & radiation is enough to propose the use of eye safety goggles. But, the proper PPE hazard identification & assessment helps in the selection of correct eye safety goggles.
Four steps of PPE hazard identification & assessment
PPE hazard assessment can be performed in 4 easy steps,
- Collect any previous reports & information on PPE hazard assessments.
- Collect information of mishaps & accidents.
- Collect records of previous injuries and near-misses.
- Review available PPE equipment.
- Use MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) for chemicals.
- Follow the rules & regulations laid down by government agencies like OSHO, NIOSH, and others for proper PPE hazard assessment.
Process & Modifications -
- After reviewing all the reports, information, MSDS, rules, and regulations, a PPE hazard assessment can be performed.
- Identify the potential hazards of the industrial workplace by scanning the area thoroughly.
- Shortlist the hazard in two ways. One way is based upon the type of hazard. The types of hazards in a typical industrial workplace are:
- Temperature (Hot & Cold)
- Light & Radiation
- Chemical exposure
- Dust, PM, and other substances
- Falling objects
- Sharp objects
- Motion of Machines
The second way is based upon the body part that PPE protects. They are:
- Respiratory System (Including Nose & Mouth)
If you are interested, then find out more information on types of industrial hazards.
- Have an honest and heart-to-heart discussion with workers and employees for understanding their situation. It also helps in understanding their perspective as they are the ones who are exposed to the hazard. It is found that quite a few times, hazards that are difficult to pinpoint are pointed out during such conversations.
- Check whether the hazard can be eliminated by any modification like changing or upgrading the existing equipment. If there is any chemical that poses a hazard, then look for its replacement.
- Once you are sure that the hazard cannot be eliminated, then organize all the information collected.
- The organized information can be used to analyze workplace safety and aid the selection of PPE gear. Now, look for the PPE that can protect the workers from hazards.
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- Once the PPE is shortlisted, ask the employees about their concerns (if any) about PPE.
- Ensure that (if possible) the employees have an option of choosing the PPE. This can be based on size, comfort, or any other factor.
- Employees may not like PPE if they feel uncomfortable wearing them or if it slows their work. Sometimes, the employees may be allergic to the material of PPE. To avoid any of these, involve the workers during the selection of PPE. Enquire about their issues such as allergies, size, and other aspects.
- Choose PPE that has no damages. PPE should have a comfortable fit, else it can cause discomfort to the employee.
- PPE hazard assessment should be reviewed and revisited if there is any change in the industrial workplace or if any injury occurs. Anyhow, a PPE hazard assessment should be periodically performed.
- Check for updates in rules & regulations of OSHO, NIOSH, and other government regulatory agencies.
- Arrange PPE training for the employees bi-annually or annually.
For more information, check out more about PPE training.
- Ensure that the employees are imposed fines if they do not wear PPE at the workplace. This ensures a positive atmosphere in the workplace for wearing PPE.
PPE is used in industries for protection against any possible hazard. Hence, it is important to understand the criteria for the selection of appropriate PPE. This is done via a PPE hazard identification & assessment. This identification & assessment helps in understanding the possible hazards that may occur in an industry. Subsequently, it also provides the list of PPE that the employee should wear for their protection against possible industrial hazards.
The key aspect of a properly conducted PPE hazard identification & assessment is the involvement of the employees who face the hazards on the daily basis. A well-documented PPE hazard identification & assessment should be followed by formal PPE training. This helps in ensuring safety at the industrial workplace.