The OSHA standards for PPE require employers to ensure that workers use PPE that’s appropriate to protect them against the hazards they face on the job. PPE requirements are also included in sections of the regulation that address specific hazards or functions for which the PPE is required.
PPE is often but not always the measure of last resort. That’s because engineering and administrative controls and PPE are not mutually exclusive. In fact, controlling hazards often requires employers to adopt a combination of these measures.
When the hazard has been mitigated as much as is economically feasible, and the hazard still exists, you must now select the best PPE for each hazard.
Depending upon the hazard, the PPE selection process can be simple and able to be completed with minimal outside assistance. However, in some cases, such as the use of respirators or fall protection, the process is much more complex and should not be attempted without a sufficient level of expertise.
Tip: A good vendor can be a great help in assessing your workplace and selecting the proper PPE. Some vendor representatives are able to do fit testing for breathing apparatus, have sound meters, etc. Obviously any vendor wants to sell you their products, but with some discernment you can also get some excellent free consultation.
PPE requirements are based on the part of body they’re designed to protect.[fbcomments]