PPE Training for Employees Is Crucial for Any Organization

Employees are your most valuable resource. Their safety and health are among the essential aspects of an organization.

OSHA expects all firms to offer proper employee training and awareness of the safety gear in the workplace.

Providing PPE training for employees and other stakeholders enhance safety levels in your company. When introducing PPE training in the workplace, one must consider several factors to ensure effective implementation.

Examples of these factors include PPE necessity, durability, limitations, available types, donning procedure, inspection techniques, as well as disposal and maintenance methods. Your training should provide employees with the answers to all these considerations.

OSHA’s requires companies to provide staff with a hands-on demo on the use of PPEs. Also, if previous training becomes obsolete, employers must retrain workers on new equipment and protocols.

Retraining is also important when workers show that they didn’t understand the previous PPE training. Managers should document all details regarding PPE training dates, participants, and the various protective gear types.

Protective tools have different maintenance needs, donning methods, and lifespans depending on their targeted use and quality.

It can be a daunting task to introduce safety equipment in an organization and ensure every personnel follows suit.  For that reason, you should have a proper rollout plan.

This article explains various PPE rollout tips to ensure your staff understand workplace safety.

Seven Critical Factors to Consider When Launching PPE Training for Employees

Launching a PPE training program is simple if you know the specific factors to prioritize. Some of the aspects to consider include:

Type of Hazard

PPE training for employees can only be effective if you know the risks in the workplace, and how they affect individuals and activities. Many employers miss this step because it often seems like an obvious procedure.

Failure to evaluate the risks profile can lead to the provision of wrong tools, which might later cause problems, inconveniences, accidents, or in the worst cases, death. When people are aware of the kind of hazard they face, acting, it is easier to protect themselves and respond to emergencies.

When evaluating the risks, cover the most critical areas like biological, physical, and biochemical threats associated with the danger.

Risk valuation should be the initial procedure before equipment selection. As an executive, it is crucial to inform your workers on every decision taken to curb safety hazards and their role in ensuring workplace safety.

The PPE Type

After identifying the magnitude of the risk at hand, it should be easier to choose the most appropriate equipment. This is the time to seek additional info on the effectiveness of the suggested tools and any uncovered risks even donning PPE.

There are several criteria for selecting various health and protective safety gear. How you pick PPEs for respiratory-related hazards isn’t similar to that of blood-borne or skin infections.

NIOSH formally published a Respirator Choice Logic guide to help pick the right PPEs for respiratory-related threats. This logic is also applicable when choosing equipment for other types of hazards as long as you know their effectiveness, risk extent, and concentration.

Always select appropriate PPE keeping in mind that they will not prevent the danger completely but reduce it. Some PPEs manufacturers include details on the use and performance of every specific tool they produce, i.e., their protection level or attenuation aspects.

How well it Fits

Health protective gear shouldn’t be too small or big; they should fit the areas they are designed to protect. Ensuring these tools fit well will also motivate workers to accept and use them frequently.

Employees are less willing to use PPEs if they don’t fit well. In the long run, the gear might end not serving its purpose.

Using wrong-size PPEs can cause accidents or expose workers to additional life-threatening risks. For example, the protective tools might get stuck in machinery parts or cause a worker to stumble accidentally.

Since people have different sizes and heights, PPE manufacturers make these tools in different designs, lengths, sizes, and colors. Everyone can pick up a PPE of their size or color preference. Every individual should select PPEs that comfortably fit him/her to receive maximum protection.

Other manufacturing firms offer personnel fitting standards for its various equipment. Buying appropriately-sized gear applies to all PPEs, no matter the standards or requirements; PPEs should always fit the wearer.

Training Techniques and Requirements

Workers need comprehensive info on the mechanism, use, and application of the protective tools. It would help if you employed safety administrators with high-level expertise and knowledge about appropriate PPE training for employees and other occupational safety-related issues.

The procurement procedure should closely consider the equipment’s purpose and repercussions that may arise if the tools don’t work well. The management must also know how to recognize faulty PPEs, repair methods, maintenance, and cleaning tips.

Workers also need to be enlightened on the importance of PPEs given, why they should be worn as instructed, other possible protection strategies, and the benefits they’ll enjoy from using them.

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Staff should also be informed of the exact consequences they might face for not using the equipment. Another essential piece of information to provide during this period is the equipment’s limits, especially if it is to be used during emergencies.

Besides the first training, employees can require refresher training after some time. Assessing the effectiveness and use of provided PPE can help to determine if retraining is necessary. During training, you should inform users on how to detect defects and replacement methods.

PPE’s Maintenance and Repair Costs

It is vital to conduct a realistic analysis of the maintenance and repair costs when deciding what workplace personal protective equipment is best for the organization. Usually, when you continuously use PPEs, their performance degrades and can require repair.

Starting a maintenance program will merely cost you a small portion of your budget. Ensuring that everything runs smoothly throughout the program will contribute to the equipment’s protection effectiveness.

In this case, some of the things to reflect upon are whether you’ll be utilizing reusable or disposable protection gear. If you decide to go for a reusable option, it’s better to estimate how long someone can use it.

And if you go for the disposable option, for example, you should inform workers on proper disposal and procurement methods when using single-use gloves.

Your novice employees also need to be carefully advised on what to do when using reusable PPEs. Failing to do so may increase the exposure rate due to PPE degradation or contamination.


PPE Storage Requirements

Proper PPE storage is crucial. Ensure you have enough storage facilities for storing PPES when workers aren’t using them. For some PPEs like clothing and footwear, employees can carry them home.

The storage room should safeguard protective gear from damage, contamination, sunlight, loss, or any other damage. You can set aside one room to store faulty or contaminated tools to prevent additional risk exposure.

PPE training for employees should include instructions on proper storage and procedures to take after encountering a contaminated or damaged PPE.

Enforcement, And Follow-Up Strategies

In most cases, not all employees usually abide by the organization’s rules and culture, including PPE use. Some employees are often arrogant and assume that nothing wrong can happen to them with or without a safety tool.

It’s best to monitor workers to ensure they use given protective equipment effectively and appropriately. One great way to achieve this goal is by employing a behavioral approach. Continuously appreciate and motivate employees using the PPE whenever you meet them.

Another way is by setting up an easy procedure for replacing and acquiring PPE. Companies that have complicated PPE procurement procedures discourage workers from using and obtaining these safety tools.

Six Types of Personal Protective Equipment for the Modern Worker

Different health and safety protective gear are created for various purposes and worn on different body parts depending on the emergency or need. Here are six PPE types for various protection purposes;

Eyes and Facial Area PPEs

You can use safety specs and goggles in specific protection procedures involving risk to the eyes. To protect the facial area from scenarios like radiation, corrosive chemicals, foreign materials, flying tiny elements, gases, lasers, or excess light, you’ll need a sturdy facial PPE.  Such equipment includes; goggles, safety specs, and facial masks.

It might not be the whole face that requires protection; sometimes, it can be only the eyes. If your organization deals with chemicals, radiators, or thermal threats or devices, it’s best to give workers appropriate face shields.

Situations that only require eye-shielding involve; small flying particles, smokes, galvanizing, corrosive vapors, grinding subjected against laser beams, UV light, or incineration. Each of these cases has a particular kind of protection tool.

Helmets and hoodies can offer protection for the whole face.

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One of the trickiest factors you may face when procuring facial safety shields is determining an appropriate and acceptable way to wear the equipment without feeling uncomfortable. Another issue is overcoming or coping with sight obstruction that comes with some face protectors.

Peripheral sight obstruction might occur due to the shield’s side frames, while the nose bridge may hinder binocular vision. Visibility while wearing face-shields during misty days is usually hard too. Using face-shields in an extra hot environment can also be unpleasant.

Sometimes if employees work in brief shifts, they might forget to put them back on or get tired of continuously removing and wearing the PPEs again. Such factors compel managers to closely monitor PPE usage among workers to ensure compliance with the set regulations.

Several variations of the face and eye guards available in the market include;

  1. Specs- you can use them in the presence or absence of side-guards.
  2. Eyecups- come in several designs and shapes depending on the intended tasks.
  3. Face PPEs for eye sockets area and middle of the face, for example, acrylic resin or meshed helmets.
  4. Faceguards protecting the whole face; mostly used by welders.
  5. Face shields you can use while holding them.
  6. Hood-form helmets.

Feet PPE

Leg and foot injuries are always likely to arise in any workplace. Some of the causes of such serious injuries are dropping weighty materials on your feet/toes, burns, or stepping on piercing objects.

However, there are some trivial avoidable leg accidents such as getting injured while working on wet floors.

Donning foot protectors can reduce the instances of such accidents in various ways.  If employees work on wet floors, you should provide them with footwear with a sturdy grip.

The type of footwear to use varies with the kind of risks you encounter. For example, it is simple for ladies working in busy industries to wear low-heeled shoes or something they put on and walk in comfortably.

Some scenarios require boots, whereas others only need regular shoes. How high your boots or shoes should strongly depend on the risk, comfort, and type of work area. In case you’re dealing with tasks involving excess heat or accidents, boots, or footwear that come with steel toe cover should be your best option.

Shoes whose outer soles are made from rubber are best for protection against slippery platforms.  Also, footwear with non-penetrable soles is essential when working in areas with sharp objects on the floor, such as construction sites.

Footwear guarding against electrical threats such as shock is also available. Such PPEs are usually completely tacked, cemented, or vulcanized to prevent injury, related punctures, or electrical shocks.

Cranial PPE

A failure to procure head protective tools can cause severe head wounds when an accident occurs—examples of such injuries include skull perforations, fractures, or lesions. Head injuries often occur in heavy industries and during car-loading activities.

The extent of damage these accidents cause varies with the impact of the hitting object. When the head gets hit by an extra heavy object, it might end up fracturing the skull.

Head-protectors should be worn all the time regardless of risk exposure. It doesn’t mean that the small head injury risks should be ignored.

Examples of these small risks include; Head burns due to hot splashes, chemicals, or melting liquids.

One good example of sturdy head-guards is the safety helmet; its primary purpose is shielding the head from mechanical threats, heat, or electrical accidents. Safety helmets have firm shells with sufficient surface area to minimize damage impact in case of accidents.

A good helmet should be tolerant of harsh weather conditions. It shouldn’t break when a tough object hits it. Helmets meant for hot working areas should be made from strong alloys, and workers should avoid overusing them to prevent unnecessary injuries.

Other forms of head-protectors are meant to avert injuries that come with a lesser impact, like scrapes and light bumps. Light materials like linens and plastics come in handy in the creation of these head-guards.

Such cranial PPE is designed for light tasks like preventing users’ hair from catching dirt or contaminating a product, for example, in bread industries.

Protective Hearing Equipment

Working in places with extremely loud sounds can be distracting, nagging, and unhealthy. People working in such environments should be provided with better hearing safety options like earplugs or earmuffs.

Loud noises can cause serious health problems like hearing loss or inner ear pain.   Hearing protectors prevent the noise from reaching the inner ear. The CDC states that employers should provide staff with hearing PPE without charging them any cost.

Earmuffs among the most preferred because they are portable and easy to remove; however, earplugs are a comfier alternative. When wearing ear protection, workers should be careful to watch out for warning signals from their colleagues or work machinery.

Ideally, your staff should occasionally remove them and check for any signals or communicate or adjust machinery noise to acceptable levels, where applicable.

The Conformability of these devices is also essential when choosing appropriate equipment. Sometimes, wearing hearing-protectors can make cause irritability, intense perspiration, headaches, and the occlusion effect. It is critical to keep such factors in mind when procuring hearing PPEs for your workers.

Respiratory Hazard PPEs

Some working environments can expose workers to hazards that can critically affect their respiratory and cardiovascular functions. Examples of such dangers are; industrial fumes, gases, grime, and smog.

Controlling the effect of these hazards is necessary for reducing the level of respiratory damage suffered by your employees. Most approaches aim to reduce the extent of air contamination through several measures like maximizing ventilation, shutting down operations, or using less-harmful materials.

However, supplementing these measures with respiratory protectors provides a safer and healthier work environment.

Using facial PPE like masks can offer protection against the inhalation of dangerous compounds in the workplace.

Masks vary in designs; there those that cover the entire face, whereas others only cover it partially. Companies often prefer industrial-grade masks such as N95 masks because they have inbuilt filters that sieve out airborne contaminants.

Clothing PPE

Other forms of work-related body injuries can be easily avoided by wearing appropriate clothing PPE. Such wounds can be due to physical injuries, chemicals, or biological factors—for example, corrosives, toxins, radiation, pathogens, or allergies.

Some types of protective clothing serve as an identity icon; most motorists and warehouse/stores workers use visibility outfits to prevent accidents. Personal protective clothing can be worn on virtually any body region and often comprises gowns, aprons, and boots.

The Specific clothing type and design will depend on the work-related threat. In most physical danger cases, standard clothing PPE such as trousers, long-sleeve tops, hoods, gloves, or gumboots can be applicable.

However, in hazards involving chemicals or viruses, more sophisticated clothing like aprons and chemically protective attires are needed to secure workers.

Using protective clothing for unintended purposes can cause more damage or escalate contamination levels. It is essential to know how every available type of protective clothing works and give precise details on when, how, and where to employ them in preserving health or life.

Six Effective Training Courses for PPE Learning

There are numerous available courses that can positively enhance your workers’ knowledge and expertise on PPEs.  Here are six practical PPE training courses to consider for your staff;

1.   OSHA’s PPE Training for Employees

OSHA’s safety equipment training includes a breakdown of PPEs use, maintenance, selection, and inspection. With this training, the users can familiarize themselves with proper PPE basic and intermediate usage skills.

You can use a PDF document or opt for the training that comes at a fee and is available anytime. The PPE course takes roughly 180 days and offers a flexible learning schedule, which you can complete at your own preferred time.

2.    EdApp Safety Orientation

This a free, easily accessible, customizable, and efficient course for newly hired personnel and is held on the app. It provides workers with relevant info on occupational safety, emergencies, hazards, and communication management. It’s incredibly engaging and productive.

3.    NSC’s PPE Training

The NSC’s course offers PPE training for employees regarding physical hazards elimination strategies and enforces OSHA requirements. Upon completion, learners will have improved their competencies in assessing PPE hazards, following OSHA requirements and knowing the best PPEs to use in every work situation.

4. EdApp’s Workplace Safety Training Course

Individuals undertaking this course are guaranteed to get highly engaging, comprehensive, and reliable content. This app’s course helps workers learn about basic workplace safety, safe lifting criteria, and risk mitigation. It’s designed with gamification elements and editable content for easy and fun learning.

5.    Abhisam’s PPE Training

Abhisam’s PPE training for employees provides a certification test upon completion and has eight learning modules, it’s not as engaging and sophisticated as EdApp, but it’s still effective.

6.    3M’s Education and PPE Training

This course provides users with adequate and reliable info and additional training resources for PPE. Even though it offers efficient comprehension data on safety equipment training, it’s non-customizable, making it hard for users to connect with their team members.

In conclusion

Employee health and safety matter to all companies, and launching a consistent and effective PPE program can help safeguard your most important resource. With the right tips, you can roll out PPE training for employees and cover all the above considerations and requirements.

Employers should pick only the right protective gear for their workers to help preserve health and lives.