Since human evolution
we have been using PPE in some way or the other. The
early human began using PPE for protecting themselves
from animal or other human race attack.
This story went on to the evolution of PPE form traditional
need base to sophisticated performers, The PPE STORY
has been exciting and full of innovation.
The hazards then demanded different PPE and with the
industrialization in India and abroad, the need to protect
workers and ourselves changed tremendously. We now have
unfortunately or fortunately adopted the hazards of
the developed world to make our workers and ourselves
more vulnerable to occupational hazards.
With this growing performance demands and exposure to
the workers, post engineering control PPE is one of
APEX safety need.
Investment in safety has always been a challenge to
many, from the promoters of safety to the workers exposed.
It is still a tough job to make people invest in safety
In the recent years mapping safety performances has
become inportant to display that the role of safety
management in not only in reducing worker exposure but
also in improving productivity and thus improve profitability.
As a safety professional I too find it difficult to
go the black board and show% profit due to effective
safety management, But yes!!! We need to think about
profitability through an effective PPE programme.
The PPE Story :
From stone age to the modern age, with the growing hazards
and various performance requirements within the work
place, requirement of suitable PPE has come up tremendously.
From primitive war shields to graphic display,
communication inbuilt breathing systems, mankind has
come a long way in PPE development. It is now time that
we start exercising the right approach towrds and effective
PPE programme :
The objective of the Personal Protective Equipment
(PPE) Programme is to protect employees from
the risk of injury by creating a barrier against workplace
hazards. Personal protective equipment is not a substitute
for good engineering or administrative controls or good
work practices, but should be used in conjunction with
these controls to ensurethe safety and health of employees.
Personal protective equipment will be provided, used,
and maintained when it has been determined that its
use is required and that such use will lessen the likelihood
of occupational injury and/or illness.
This program addresses eye, face, head, foot and hand
protection. Separate programs exist for respiratory
and hearing protection since the need for participation
in these programs is established through INDUSTRIAL
Equipment Program includes
- Responsibilities of supervisors,
employees, and the Office of Health and Safety
- Supervisors have the primary responsibility
for implementation of the PPE Program in their work
area. This involves:
- Providing appropriate PPE and
making it available to employees.
- Ensuring employees are trained
on the proper use, care, and maintenance of
- Maintaining records on PPE
assignments and training.
- Supervising staff to ensure
that the PPE Program elements are followed and
that employees properly use and care for PPE.
- Seeking assistance from OHS
to evaluate hazards.
- Notifying OHS when new hazards
are introduced or when processes are added or
- Ensuring defective or damaged
equipment is immediately replaced.
- The PPE user is responsible for
following the requirements of the PPE Program. This
- Wearing PPE as required.
- Attending required training
- Caring for, cleaning, and
maintaining PPE as required.
- Informing the supervisor of
the need to repair or replace PPE.
- Office of Health and Safety
- The Office of Health and Safety
(OHS) is responsible for the development, implementation,
and administration of the PPE Programm. This involves:
- Conducting workplace hazard
assessments to determine the presence of hazards
which necessitate the use of PPE.
- Conducting periodic workplace
reassessments as requested by supervisors and/or
as determined by OHS.
- Maintaining records on hazard
- Providing training and technical
assistance to supervisors on the proper use,
care, and cleaning of approved PPE.
- Providing guidance to the
supervisor for the selection and purchase of
- Periodically reevaluating
the suitability of previously selected PPE.Reviewing,
updating, and evaluating the overall effectiveness
- Hazard assessment and PPE
When? What? How Much?
Employers must characterize the nature and magnitude
of employees exposures to respiratory hazards before
selecting respiratory protection equipment. Paragraph
(d) (1) (iii) of the final rule requires the employer
to identify and evaluate the respiratory hazard(s) in
the workplace. Employers must make a "reasonable
estimate" of the employee exposures anticipated
to occur as a result of those hazards, including those
likely to be encountered in reasonably foreseeable emergency
situations, and must also identify the physical state
and chemical form of such contaminant(s). The final
rule does not specify how the employer is to make reasonable
estimates of employee exposures for the purposes of
When must an
employer conduct an exposure assessment?
When you expose your employees to a respiratory hazard
and/or require them to wear respirators. Examples of
when you should consider assessments may include but
are not limited to :
- When OSHA has a substance specific
standard (e.g., lead, methylene chloride).
- When employees notice symptoms
(e.g., irritation, odor) or complain of respiratory
- When the workplace contains visible
emissions (e.g., fumes, dust, aerosols).
What is the
identity and nature of the airborne contaminant?
Specific characteristics of the airborne hazard must
be established in order to select an appropriate respirator.
- Is the airborne contaminant a
particulate (dust, fumes, mist, aerosol) or a gas/vapor?
- Is the airborne contaminant a
chemical and are material safety data sheets available?
- Is the airborne contaminant a
biological (bacteria, mold, spores, fungi, virus)?
- Are there any mandatory or recommended
occupational exposure levels forthe contaminant?
How much employee
exposure is there in the workplace?
The final rule permits employers to use many approaches
for estimating worker exposures to respiratory hazards.
Personal exposure monitoring is the "gold standard"
for determining employee exposures because it is the
most reliable approach for assessing how much and
what type of respiratory protection is required in
a given circumstance.
- Sampling should utilize methods
appropriate for contaminants(s).
- Sampling should present the
worst case exposures; or
- Sampling should represent enough
shifts and operations to determine the range of
Information - You may rely on information
and data that indicate that use or handling of a product
or material cannot, under worst-case conditions, release
concentrations of a respiratory hazard above a level
that would trigger the need for respirator use or
require use of a more protective respirator.
- You can use data on the physicial
and chemical properties of air contaminants, combined
with information on room dimensions, air exchange
rates, contaminant release rates, and other pertinent
data, including exposure patterns and work practices,
to estimate the maximum exposure that could be
anticipated in the workplace.
- Data from industry-wide surveys
by trade associations for use by their members,
as well as from stewardship programs operated
by manufacturers for their customers, are often
useful in assisting employers, praticularly smallbusiness
owners, to obtain information on employee exposures
in their workplaces.
- You should account for potential variation
in exposure by using exposure data collected with
a strategy that recognizes exposure variability, or
by using worstcase assumptions and estimation techniques
to evaluate the highest foreseeable employee exposure
levels. The use of safety factors amy be necessary
to account for uneven dispersion of the contaminant
in the air and the proximity of the worker ot the
Like the above, each and every protection areas like
FALL, RESPIRATORY, GAS DETECTION, HAND PROTECTION
have a systematic way of selection if followed properly
this exercise reaps great benefits.
Employee training is the most important PPE use maintenance
and care is the only way to reap the actual
cost, good physical properties dexterity
vs. oil, greases, organics. Frequently imported;
may be poor quality
alcohols dilute water solutions; fair vs. aldehydes,
cost, dexterity better chemical resistance than
natural rubber vs. some chemicals.
propertise frequently inferior to natural rubber
as natural rubber
benefits for the PPE
programme systematic user programmes in vernacular language,
PPE training programmes should be more on the shop floor
with practical demonstration backed with technical reasons
on selection the need to wear PPE should be addressed
in a very nice way with examples and videos.
Storage and maintainence should be a part of the training
effective and correct storage helps increase ppe life
and use this not only saves the cost to the company
but also enhances employee health by good maintenance
programme of PPE., the equipment are ready to use at
The PPE usage data must be properly logged. The data
helps in deriving PPE efficiency. Replacement points
and also analyses cost. The user comfort can also be
mapped with this exercise. Use of correct respirator.
PPE and the Indian Story
- Standards: has
a detailed IS standard which largely follows European
norms but needs major updation and expansion also
needs to consider the actual work conditions and
TLV in the Indian context.
- Statute: is not
very elaborate on PPE and needs to be more descriptive
- Priority: is
not a major priority. The user awareness is also
- Cost: the Indian
market is more price driven than cost driven the
difference between cost and price should be analysed.
Are you in danger of becoming a statistic?
Thousands of people are blinded each year from work-related
eye injuries that could have been prevented with the
proper selection and use of eye and face protection.
Eye injuries alone cost more than $300 million per year
in lost production time, medical expenses, and worker
in International Development:
- customized ear plugs
- graphic display breathings sets
- lock out tag outs
- specialised fall protection
- IR gas detector
- specialised gloves and body suits
and application unlimited
- catalyst handling
- inert gas welding
- welding in confined space
- furnace entry
- fall protection during project