Personal Protective Equipment
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When exposure to hazards cannot be engineered completely out of normal operations or maintenance work, and when safe work practices and other forms of administrative controls cannot provide sufficient additional protection, a supplementary method of control is the use of protective clothing or equipment. This is collectively called personal protective equipment, or PPE. PPE may also be appropriate for controlling hazards while engineering and work practice controls are being installed.
PPE must be evaluated to determine what equipment is needed to protect against the hazards at the workplace. The evaluation should be used to set a standard operating procedure for personnel. Laboratory staff must be trained on the protective limitations of the PPE, and on its proper use and maintenance.
Using PPE requires hazard awareness and training on the part of the user. Laboratory staff must be aware that the safety equipment does not eliminate the hazard. If the equipment fails (e.g. gloves tear!), exposure will occur. To reduce the possibility of failure, equipment must be properly fitted and maintained in a clean and serviceable condition (wash your goggles!).