For workplace safety, garment design, selection, and maintenance, the NFPA Safety Standards are vital. However, they are not the only standards to consult. OSHA, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, has regulations and standards in place relating to personal protective equipment or PPE. In this fourth and final article of our National Safety Month series, we will explore the basics of OSHA 1910.132.
FR Safety Standards Series: Part 4
OSHA 1910.132 is the Standard for "General Requirements for Personal Protective Equipment."
The application of the standard states, "Protective equipment, including personal protective equipment for eyes, face, head, and extremities, protective clothing, respiratory devices, and protective shields and barriers, shall be provided, used, and maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition wherever it is necessary. Hazards of processes or environment, chemical hazards, radiological hazards, or mechanical irritants can cause injury or impairment in the function of any part of the body through absorption, inhalation, or physical contact." The standard gives basic requirements for issuing, inspecting, and using PPE and FR garments.
It is essential to follow a few requirements when choosing garments. Some of these include but are not limited to:
- Provide each affected employee with the PPE they will need to protect themselves against the hazards identified in the hazard assessment.
- Employers must inform employees about selection decisions.
- Make sure each employee's PPE fits correctly.
Appropriate PPE and FR garments, clear communication, and ensuring said equipment and garments fit properly are critical for employee safety. Furthermore, damaged apparel or gear must be adequately disposed of or repaired.
Training employees in how to use PPE is essential. Employers must provide training to the employee. A few requirements to follow on handling PPE include but are not limited to:
- When PPE is needed
- What PPE is required
- Properly putting on, removing, and adjusting PPE
- Limitations of the PPE
- Care, maintenance, lifespan use, and disposal of PPE
Knowing how to handle PPE in any situation is crucial. It's vital that each employee is properly trained and is able to demonstrate an understanding of the information when necessary. A few circumstances that require retraining include but are not limited to:
- Workplace changes that make previous training obsolete
- PPE changes that render previous training useless
- An inadequately knowledgeable employee who does not use assigned personal protective equipment (PPE) hasn't retained the necessary skills or understanding.
These requirements and pre-requisites can dramatically increase workplace safety and personnel safety. In terms of workplace safety, garment design, garment selection, and garment maintenance, the NFPA and OSHA Safety Standards are essential. Being knowledgeable about the requirements in the NFPA 70E, 2112, 2113 standards, and OSHA 1910.132 is necessary for improving protection in the workplace. Knowing what garment or workplace procedure to issue, how to take care of FR garments, and the training for hazardous situations can significantly increase workplace safety. Consulting and utilizing these standards is not just a good idea; it's the law. To find out more, visit www.osha.gov.
OSHA Occupational Safety and Health Standards
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the Workplace: An Introduction for Employers
What are OSHA's PPE training requirements?
OSHA FR Safety Standards
Personal Protective Equipment: OSHA Standards 1910.132-137
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