Personal protective equipment (PPE) is equipment worn to minimize exposure to hazards that cause serious workplace injuries and illnesses. These injuries and illnesses may result from contact with chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical or other workplace hazards. PPE includes clothing, respiratory devices, hard hats, eye protection, gloves and other barriers used to prevent exposure. Required PPE will depend on the task being performed and the level of exposure.
Impact of Tools & PPE
Without proper tools and PPE, construction laborers and other LIUNA members can face safety and health hazards from many different sources on site. In addition to sprain and strain injuries, tools such as hand and power tools, compressed air, electrical cords, ladders and many other tools LIUNA members use on a daily basis can lead to serious injuries to the eyes, hands, feet and other parts of the body.
Addressing Workplace Hazards with Tools & PPE
All personal protective equipment should be safely designed and constructed and kept clean and usable. It should fit comfortably, as ill-fitting PPE can make the difference between being safely covered or dangerously exposed.
Other controls higher up the hierarchy of controls, such as engineering controls and work practices, should be instituted first and prioritized over PPE. When these controls are not feasible or do not provide sufficient protection, employers must provide personal protective equipment to workers and ensure its proper use. Employers are also required to train each worker to use necessary PPE correctly.
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