Personal protective equipment does not protect the worker if it is not being used or being used incorrectly. OSHA requires employers to train each employee who will be using PPE, both existing and new hires, on the equipment in the workplace. Training is required to include:
- When PPE is necessary: Employees need to know and understand what areas and what instances will require PPE is to be worn.
- What PPE is necessary: The different types if PPE around the workplace and what equipment is appropriate for certain situations should be a part of training.
- How to properly put on, take off, adjust, and wear PPE: In order to actually work, PPE needs to fit comfortably and be worn correctly.
- The limitations of PPE: It is important for workers to understand situations that PPE will not necessarily work.
- Proper care, maintenance, and disposal of PPE: Employees will learn how to properly care for equipment, how long the equipment will last, and how to dispose of it.
Employees should be able to demonstrate an understanding of the training and the ability to properly wear and use PPE before being able to perform the work requiring PPE. Training must be documented including the name of the employees trained, the date training took place, and the specific subjects covered in training. It is also important for workers to understand limitations of personal protective equipment.
Materials were developed by OSHA’s Office of Training and Education and is available for employers or safety managers to use in their training. These materials include checklists for identifying hazards, recommended PPE selections, and an assessment. OSHA also recommends implementing a PPE program in facilities using personal equipment. This program would focus on present hazards, the selection and maintenance of PPE, the training of employees, and monitoring the program to ensure effectiveness.
Employers should re-train employees not demonstrating the proper use of PPE and new trainings should take place after changes in the workplace or if the prior PPE training becomes obsolete.