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

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 HYGIENE MONITORING.

Personal Protective Equipment Program includes

  • Responsibilities of supervisors, employees, and the Office of Health and Safety
  • Supervisors
  • 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 PPE.
    • 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 changed.
    • Ensuring defective or damaged equipment is immediately replaced.

  • Employees
  • The PPE user is responsible for following the requirements of the PPE Program. This involves:
    • Wearing PPE as required.
    • Attending required training sessions
    • 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 assessments.
    • 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 approved PPE.
    • Periodically reevaluating the suitability of previously selected PPE.Reviewing, updating, and evaluating the overall effectiveness
    • Hazard assessment and PPE selection

Exposure Assessment

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 selecting respirators.

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 health effects.
  • 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.


Sampling - 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 exposure

Objective 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.

Variation - 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 emission source.

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
Employee training is the most important PPE use maintenance and care is the only way to reap the actual

Use Against
Natural rubber
Low cost, good physical properties dexterity
Poor vs. oil, greases, organics. Frequently imported; may be poor quality
Bases, alcohols dilute water solutions; fair vs. aldehydes, ketones.
Natural rubber blends
Low cost, dexterity better chemical resistance than natural rubber vs. some chemicals.
Physical propertise frequently inferior to natural rubber
Same 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 all times.

Recordkeeping requirements
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 very low
  • Cost: the Indian market is more price driven than cost driven the difference between cost and price should be analysed.

Profit through PPE:
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 compensation.

Recent trends in International Development:

  • customized ear plugs
  • graphic display breathings sets with communications
  • lock out tag outs
  • specialised fall protection
  • IR gas detector
  • specialised gloves and body suits

Innovative uses and application unlimited

  • catalyst handling
  • inert gas welding
  • welding in confined space
  • furnace entry
  • fall protection during project stage