Is Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) A Hazard Control Method?

When most people think about how to stay safe in the workplace, they picture things like hard hats, fire-resistant gear, respirators, and other similar things. These are all examples of personal protective equipment (PPE). While there is no doubt that PPE is an important part of an overall safety effort, it should not be the only thing that is used.

Modern facilities use a concept called the hierarchy of controls, which is a system designed to help identify hazard control methods so that people can be kept as safe as possible. In this hierarchy of controls, PPE is at the very bottom, meaning it should be seen as the last line of defense. When a potential hazard is identified in a facility, the first thing that should be done is to try to eliminate it.

If it is not something that can be eliminated, the next step is to try to substitute it for something different that is safer. Next is to put in engineering controls to keep people out of harm's way, then use administrative controls to make sure that nobody is putting themselves in danger. Finally, using PPE is a way to keep people as safe as possible if they do run into a hazard. So, while personal protective equipment is a hazard control method, it is the last option and should be used only when nothing else has worked.


View all PPE Q&A

Free E-Book

PPE Guide

Make sure employees are properly protected with the right PPE for the job.

Other FREE Resources:

Helpful Resources