Protecting Workers with Safety Equipment — An Employer’s Responsibility

Employers have a responsibility to keep workers safe and protected on the job.

One of the biggest responsibilities is to provide employees with the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This kind of equipment is designed to protect employees from serious workplace illnesses and injuries that can result from contact with electrical, physical, mechanical, radiological, chemical and other workplace hazards.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), protective equipment goes way beyond just face shields. For deserving occupations, workers should also be provided with respirators, earplugs, vests, gloves, coveralls, goggles, safety shoes, hard hats and safety glasses — whatever is required to complete the job safely! It’s also a federal requirement that employers make sure that workers are using these devices in the conditions they’re designed for. Having PPEs is no good if they’re not used.
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In Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), it states that employers are required to conduct a hazard assessment of their workplaces to figure out which hazards are present that would require the use of protective equipment. When this is determined, the equipment must be provided and the workers must be required to use it in a sanitary and reliable condition. Our Asheville workers’ compensation attorneys understand that this isn’t always the case. Unfortunately, workers are sent out in dangerous conditions without the proper protective gear they need. This is how careless accidents happen.

PPE is essential, but it’s usually the last line of defense after engineering controls, administrative controls and safe work practices. Listed below are the conditions of each safety control.

Engineering Controls: When a work environment or a machine is changed to make operation safer.

Administrative Controls: When how/when workers are completing their jobs. Changing these factors can many times reduce the risks for accidents, injuries and fatalities.

Work Practices: Training workers in the safest and most effective ways to complete the job without and hazard or accident risks.

Employees must be properly trained to complete the following:

-Use PPE properly. Each device should be thoroughly understood by all using workers.

-Know when PPE should be used. Workers should be required to use the PPE in these conditions.

-Know which PPE is needed for each job. Different jobs require different PPE.

-Understand the limitations of PPE. PPEs can help, but they can also restrict. Be sure you know when each is in effect.

-How to put on, wear, adjust and remove PPE.

-How to maintain PPE and keep it in good-working order. Ensured safety relies on the condition of these devices.

If you feel like you’re not being provided with the proper PPE on the job, it’s your job to speak up. If you feel in any way that your safety is in jeopardy, then you should not be working in those conditions. It’s an employers responsibility to make sure that each work area is safe for each employee.

Have you or a loved one been injured at work? Contact the Lee Law Offices today for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case. Call 800-887-1965.

More Blog Entries:

Keeping Young Workers Safe on the Job in North Carolina, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, November 8, 2012

Window Washing Accidents Target of Partnership, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, November 5, 2012

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