Why Common Sense Won’t Help with PPE

Posted on 6/13/2017 by Roger Marks

Safety managers in every industry share one goal: to send workers home safe at the end of the day—every day.

In workplaces nationwide, employees perform jobs every day that put them in danger. When these job hazards can’t be substituted, mitigated, or eliminated completely, the last line of defense is Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Trust “Common Sense” at Your Own Risk

Selecting and using personal protective equipment may seem like “common sense,” but safety professionals know that when it comes to safety, common sense isn’t so common.

To avoid on-the-job injuries that cost US businesses billions every month, employees must know not only when they need PPE, but how to make sure it fits, how to use it, how to care for it, and its limitations.

That’s why OSHA requires training for EVERY employee who’s required to wear PPE as part of the job. [29 CFR 1910.132(f)]

Gloves—What Could Be Simpler?

Something as simple as putting on gloves raises safety questions that go far beyond what “common sense” would dictate.

gloves2.jpgEmployees must choose the right gloves—do they need chemical-resistant material? Do their hands need protection from machinery, from puncture hazards, or from biohazards from medical sharps? Do they need protection from extreme heat or cold? How far up the arm should the gloves go for this particular job? 

Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA) gloves are water soluble, which means they are not suitable for jobs that involve water or certain alcohols. If an employee puts on PVA gloves for a wet job, they won’t offer much protection. If these gloves are rinsed with water to “wash” them, they will be damaged beyond repair.

The same goes for other forms of PPE—from simple items like helmets and boots to half-face and full-face respirators, face shields, safety glasses and goggles, and much more. To protect themselves and their co-workers from injuries and lost time, employees need more than “common sense.” They need all the information they can get about how to select, use, and care for the PPE that protects them every day.

New! Convenient, Effective PPE Online Course—Only $29  

Be confident your employees know how to assess hazards at work and select the right PPE for every dangerous job. This 60-minute online course covers what employees need to know to stay protected from head to toe. This online course will satisfy OSHA’s PPE training requirement for employees at 29 CFR 1910.132(f). Plus, your employees will get 3 months of Lion Membership for fast answers to their questions, access to exclusive safety resources, and more. Learn more or sign up now at

Tags: osha, PPE, workplace safety

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