Due to its limitations personal protective equipment (PPE) should only be considered after other control measures.
Outline the Limitations of Using PPE.
There are numerous reasons why PPE should be considered only after other possibilities have been exhausted. These include
It is often a legal requirement that other means of control are considered first particularly since PPE does not remove the hazard.
PPE may not provide adequate protection because of such factors as
- Poor selection,
- Poor fit because of facial features such as beards,
- Incompatibility with other types of ppe,
- Contamination, and
- Misuse or non-use by Workers
PPE is likely to be uncomfortable and relies for its effectiveness on a conscious action by the user which raises issues such as training and supervision.
Its use can actually create additional risks, for instance, impaired vision and warning sounds masked by hearing protection.
Explain why personal protective equipment (PPE) should be considered as a last resort in the control of occupational health hazards.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is considered the last resort in the hierarchy of control measures I precautions, as hazards should be assessed by the risk assessment process and all hazards where possible should be eliminated or controlled at their source – e.g. reduce the noise of a compressor by engineering controls by making it quieter with insulation etc, this will help reduce the level of noise at source prior to issuing PPE (ear protection).
If PPE is given without trying to eliminate or reduce the hazard (s) we are not using a systematic method of permanent controls.
PPE is a good method of control for various hazards, however, if we use PPE without first trying to eliminate or reduce the hazard, the hazard may still exist in its full form and PPE may not be sufficient means of safe control, also different types and ranges of PPE protect at varying levels so health may be compromised, more importantly PPE depends on the user to wear it and this is practice is difficult to ensure to enforce with consistent supervision and regular inspections etc.
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