What Is Personal Protective Equipment?

Personal protective equipment (PPE) consists of clothing, gloves, boots, goggles, helmets, industrial work wear, and other equipment designed to protect employees in a variety of workplace environments. PPE is essential in all types of industries, not just manufacturing, production, and construction. Even certain positions in office environments can benefit from the use of PPE. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the use of PPE greatly reduces injuries and fatalities in the workplace.

When Should Personal Protective Equipment Be Worn?

PPE should be worn whenever there is a risk of potential hazards in the workplace. These hazards could be related to any of the following:

·      Illness-Causing or Hazardous Airborne Particles

·       Fires

·       Loud Constant Noises

·       Falls

·       Chemicals

·       Radiation

·       Dust

·       Sharp Objects

·       Equipment and Machinery

·       Lifting

·       Smoke

·        Repetitive Movements

·        Extreme Temperatures


In addition to these hazards, there are numerous others, which are outlined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). It is the employer’s responsibility to determine the risks of each workplace environment and ensure employees are well-educated about those risks and how utilizing the correct PPE is vital to protect them while in these areas.

How Does an Employer Determine Risks in the Workplace?

Employers must conduct a workplace hazard assessment to determine what risks the environment poses for employees. The assessment should be performed by someone who is experienced in workplace safety and who has the proper qualifications. If an employer does not have an employee who meets these criteria, there are external companies which offer workplace safety evaluations and that will recommend what PPE is required based upon current OSHA and CDC guidelines.

A safety evaluation looks at several different aspects of a particular environment to determine whether there are any risks and hazards. In the event there are potential hazards, the employer must provide the required PPE to their employees. In addition, employers should control access to high risk areas by creating barriers to entry and limiting access to only those employees who need to work in that particular location.

Employee Responsibilities for PPE

While employers are required to supply PPE to their employees, each employee has their own responsibilities. Employees are required to report potential workplace hazards to their employer whenever they recognize a risk that is not currently being addressed with present PPE. Additionally, employees should take steps to maintain their PPE. In the event they discover they have misplaced or have faulty, defective, or broken PPE, they must report it immediately to their supervisor and never attempt to enter the work area without all of their PPE. 

Selecting the Right PPE

PPE industrial uniforms, eye protection, head protection, and so on, should be selected to address any and all risks discovered through the hazard assessment. Apparel and equipment need to properly fit the employee so they are comfortable and able to complete their work tasks. In workplaces where several different types of PPE are worn together, the clothing and equipment need to be compatible and provide the right level of protection.

Company Bio

Since 1932, Prudential Overall Supply has been providing the best uniform and protective equipment solutions for businesses of all sizes. The company offers options to rent, lease, or purchase the uniforms and textiles required in any industry, while supplying their customers with affordable prices. For more information about the services available from Prudential Overall Supply, visit their official website at, or call 800-767-5536 to speak to a representative.