All work environments expose workers to a variety of safety hazards throughout their workday. Harsh cleaning supplies, loud machinery, slippery surfaces, falling objects, pathogens, sharp items, and items requiring heavy lifting are just some of the hazards workers may experience on a daily basis. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that employers ensure the safety of their workers at all times, requiring employers to provide the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to workers needed in order to safely complete their job duties.
What is Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?
Personal protective equipment includes a variety of specifically designed safety items worn by employees to decrease the likelihood of being exposed to common workplace hazards. Employers must legally provide all necessary personal protective equipment to employees. Employers are also required to train workers on how and when to properly use it for tasks they must perform. The personal protective equipment provided must be properly maintained by the company to remain in compliance with applicable OSHA safety regulations.
Why is PPE Crucial to Worker Safety?
Putting on multiple layers of safety gear may seem tedious; however, properly wearing PPE provided by employers can prevent worker illness and/or injury resulting from workplace hazards.
Common examples of personal protective equipment used in the workplace include:
- Hard hats protect workers from impact, penetration, and electrical injuries in a work environment that may have falling objects, flying objects, or contact with electrical conduits.
- Ear plugs or ear muffs protect workers from hearing loss or permanent damage in environments where the noise level is too high and could cause irreversible hearing impairment.
- Appropriate respirators that cover the mouth and nose protect workers against the negative health effects caused by breathing in air contaminated by harmful dusts, fumes, gases, smokes, and sprays.
- Safety goggles and face shields protect workers from flying fragments, hot sparks, optical radiation, as well as sand, dirt, dust, mists, and chemical sprays.
- Gloves protect workers from harmful substances that could be absorbed into the skin, lacerations, communicable pathogens, and/or chemical burns.
- Footwear with appropriate tread can protect workers from slippery surfaces and help prevent slips, trips, and/or falls.
Without proper personal protective equipment, even if employers abide by all other safety precautions, workers could still be put into situations that cause irreversible bodily harm. According to OSHA, thousands of people are blinded each year in work-related injuries. Many of these personal injuries could have been prevented through the use of appropriate PPE for the eyes and face. Having personal protective equipment readily available and in proper working condition is essential to keeping workers safe in their work environment.
Texas Workplace Injury Lawyers
Employees injured at work when personal protective equipment was not properly maintained, failed to protect them, or was not provided at all, can leave them wondering how they will return to work, how they will heal, and if they will be safe when they are able to return to the worksite. No injured worker should have to handle a company lawyer or insurance adjuster alone. If you or a loved one was injured on the job, you may be entitled to financial compensation. There is limited time to act following a Texas workplace accident, so contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.