Dugan & Associates, P.C.
No Recovery - No FeeFree Consultation
Serving all of Western Pennsylvania
Local: 412-353-3572 Toll Free: 888-9-9-D-U-G-A-N Toll Free: 888-9-9-D-U-G-A-N

Reducing workplace injuries through personal protection equipment

We all know how important it is to reduce injuries to workers. After all, they impact the worker's health and safety, ability to work and finances -- and they also hurt employee morale, the company's bottom line and, in serious cases, the organization's standing in the community.

One of the areas where employers could do better in preventing workplace injuries is in the proper provision of personal protection equipment. Enforcement actions by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in this area are quite common and can be costly. For example, an Illinois company was recently fined a proposed $41,200 because it failed to provide eye, face, hand and respiratory protection devices and training, and did not have adequate evacuation procedures in place, in an area where workers were exposed to hydrochloric acid.

Employers are required to provide workers with appropriate personal protection equipment, which includes items such as hard hats, safety glasses, goggles, face-shields and welding helmets. They are also required to provide each employee with appropriate, up-to-date training on when and how to wear personal protection equipment properly.

But beyond compliance with that mandate, what should employers be doing to prevent workplace injuries from exposure to chemicals, for example? And what should employees know?

For protection from chemical and environmental hazards in particular, OSHA recently updated its appendix recommendations on limiting occupational exposure to hazardous chemicals in laboratories. The appendix recommendations are non-mandatory, but can help employers and employees alike to increase safety in the workplace.

Basing its recommendations on an 2011 publication by the National Academy of Science, OSHA advises using a "hierarchy of controls principle." Researchers determined that the most effective ways of controlling workers' exposure to hazardous materials, listed in order of most to least effective, are:

  • Engineering controls, such as chemical hoods, which physically separate the worker from the hazard.
  • Administrative controls, such as control over work schedules to limit exposure time.
  • Work practice controls, such as the standardization of how tasks are performed, which emphasize minimizing hazards.
  • Personal protection equipment, when exposure is unavoidable.

Whether you're a worker or the company's safety officer, if your workplace involves exposure to hazardous chemicals you should take OSHA's recommendations seriously. Make sure your safety equipment is usable and effective, and learn how to use it.

Source: Occupational Health & Safety magazine, "Staying on Top of the Problem," Jerry Laws, March, 2013

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Pittsburgh Office
4 West Manilla Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15220

Phone: 412-353-3572
Phone: 412-922-0800
Fax: 412-922-0801
Pittsburgh Law Office Map

Beaver County Office
2002 McMinn St.
Aliquippa, PA 15001

Phone: 412-353-3572
Phone: 724-775-7372
Aliquippa Law Office Map

North Hills
6400 Brooktree Ct.
Wexford, PA 15090

Phone: 412-353-3572
Phone: 724-933-0133
Wexford Law Office Map

Butler County
125 Warrendale-Bayle Rd
Warrendale, PA 15086

Phone: 412-353-3572
Phone: 724-283-7063
Map & Directions

Monroeville
400 Penn Center Blvd.
Suite 101
Monroeville, PA 15232

Phone: 412-353-3572
Phone: 412-261-1129
Map & Directions

Westmoreland County
101 N. Main St.
Suite 104 - A
Greensburg, PA 15601

Phone: 412-353-3572
Phone: 724-836-7454
Greensburg Law Office Map

Washington County
2400 Ansys Dr.
Canonsburg, PA 15317

Phone: 412-353-3572
Phone: 724-743-0463
Canonsburg Law Office Map

Serving all of Western Pennsylvania Free Consultation

REVIEW US