How to protect your personal protective equipment

Keep your safety gear in good working order to protect yourself. Image courtesy of the U.S. Army Safety Center

Choosing the right personal protective equipment (PPE) is an important step toward ensuring your safety. But you need to care for that equipment to ensure it can protect you. Here are some guidelines for keeping your equipment in good working order.

Head Protection

Promptly replace hardhats, helmets and bump caps if damaged or defective. Inspect them daily, asking yourself the following questions:

  • Are inside straps adjusted and working properly?
  • Is the outer shell cracked or dented?
  • Are the chin straps frayed or split, compromising their ability to hold the hardhat on your head?
  • Is your hardhat clean? Use a damp rag with mild soap and water to clean your hardhat every couple of days.

Eye Protection

Wearing safety glasses or goggles helps protect your eyesight. Having a proper fit and keeping them clean is key. If they are cracked, scratched or broken, have them replaced.

Hearing Protection

Using hearing protection is necessary to protect from hearing loss. Use the PPE appropriately and like all PPE, keep it clean. Use single-use ear plugs only once. Re-usable earplugs, canal caps and ear muffs must be cleaned on a regular basis.

Hand Protection

Proper hand protection can prevent cuts, burns and other injuries. Selecting the right type of glove and understanding when they should be used will help keep your hands safe. If you’re not sure what type of glove to use for the job, ask your senior safety officer (SSO) or your supervisor.

Foot Protection

Caring for your foot protection is a daily requirement. Check the soles, laces and eyelets of your shoes for wear. Also, make sure they are free of contaminants such as oil or grease, which could eliminate their ability to provide traction.

For more information on PPE, contact your supervisor or SSO.

—JB Dawson; ES&H Section