Proper Care and Use of PPE

When most people focus on proper selection and use of Personal Protective Equipment. Care and maintenance of PPE is an important issue that can easily can fall through the cracks.

Why It Matters…

  • PPE is sometimes the last barrier between you and workplace hazard related injury.
  • PPE that is not properly maintained will more quickly become worn or damaged.
  • PPE that is not in good condition will not properly protect you from hazards.

Heads up on hard hat care.

  • Clean hard hats regularly with warm water and soap, and allow to air dry. Do not use solvents or harsh detergents
  • Store hard hats out of the sun, away from extreme temperatures, and in a safe place to avoid getting knocked around and damaged.
  • Check the headband to make sure that it is not worn and that the hat fits comfortably on your head.
  • Replace a hard hat if it is cracked, dented, or has taken a heavy blow.

Keep an eye on safety eyewear maintenance.

  • Clean safety glasses and goggles regularly with mild soap and water or a lens wipe.
  • Wash lenses with water before wiping to prevent scratching. If no access to clean water, then blow dust and grit from lenses before wiping.
  • Store eye protection preferably in a clean, a safe place where they will not get scratched or damaged.
  • Replace safety glasses if frames are bent, and replace goggles if headbands are loose, twisted, knotted, or worn. Replace any kind of eye protection if lenses are scratched or pitted and impair vision.

Now hear this! Take good care of hearing protection!

  • Wipe earmuffs with a damp cloth after each use, store them in a safe place, and replace when cushions lose their resilience.
  • Wash reusable earplugs every day, store them in a clean case, and replace if plugs are hard or discolored.
  • Do not put dirty or waxy disposable pugs back in your ears. Get new ones to use.

Breathe easy with well-maintained respirators.

  • Clean & disinfect respirators according to maker’s instructions. Dismantle, wash in warm water, airdry, reassemble & then check seal.
  • Check for holes, cracks, deterioration, and any other problems that could interfere with the effectiveness of protection.
  • Store in a bag/case in a safe location, protected from dust, light, heat, cold, moisture, and chemicals.
  • Place the respirator so that rubber and plastic parts are in a normal position and hold their shape.
  • Do not reuse dirty, wet or overly sweaty disposable respirators/dust masks. Get a new one.

Lend a hand to keep gloves in good shape.

  • Keep gloves clean and dry. Check for holes, cracks, and other damage before each use.
  • Have a backup pair in case gloves get wet (or must be washed) and need to dry. Use Nitrile for wet work.
  • Replace worn or damaged gloves right away. Wash & air dry dirty gloves that can be reused. Maxiflex are $6 a pair, do not waste them.

Put your best foot forward for foot protection.

It’s easy to forget about safety shoes and other work footwear as long as your feet don’t hurt. But to adequately protect employees against foot hazards, shoes need proper care and maintenance just like any other kind of PPE. To get the best protection from work shoes, employees should:

  • Wipe wet or soiled shoes with a clean cloth or paper towel.
  • Air out work shoes after work, and check regularly for signs of damage or wear.
  • Have worn or damaged shoes repaired, or replace them. Apply sealants to dry leather boots.
  • Change socks during the lunch break to keep feet and shoes dry if feet sweat a lot or get wet.

“PPE for the hazard is to be provided by the employer. The employee is responsible to properly use & maintain PPE.”

OSHA, CFR 1910 Subpart I

Leave a Comment