Protecting Your Students, Staff, Workers, and Everyone Your Are Responsible to Serve.
PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)
A short excerpt from an article on the importance of having good PPE and how to properly use the gear (February 1, 2021 article):
The Importance of PPE
Professionals in every occupation face varying levels of risk of becoming injured or falling ill.
OSHA describes how, on a regular basis, “these injuries and illnesses may result from contact with chemical, medical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical, or other workplace hazards.”
To ensure workplace safety, different organizations establish regulations according to OSHA standards.
Here are some proactive tips about managing PPE in all types of work environments, according to “The Best Way to Manage PPE for Employees.”
- Step 1: Physically remove the hazard from the workplace. If a hazard, such as dangerous equipment, has been causing multiple injuries, a manager should remove it.
- Step 2: Replace the hazard with a safer substitute. If workers on a construction site are getting injured because of a specific tool, the manager should substitute the tool for a safer, more effective one.
- Step 3: Identify a way to complete the job without the hazard. Managers can look into alternatives that avoid the hazard altogether.
- Step 4: Ensure that workers have the necessary PPE to complete the job without getting injured.
PPE looks different in various settings. While healthcare workers might wear face shields and gowns, construction workers might wear helmets and work boots. However, PPE is equally important in all settings, because it can minimize the risk of employees becoming fatally injured due to a hazard.
Creating a PPE Management Plan
According to Ready.gov, managers should create a risk assessment to “identify potential hazards and analyze what could happen if a hazard occurs.” Having a risk assessment allows managers to determine the hazards that can impact a large-scale PPE management plan.
Hazards can include the following:
- Natural disasters, such as a hurricane, a flood, or an earthquake
- Power outage
- Hazardous material spill
- Water, gas, or sewage issue
- Technology issue (software or hardware)
When creating a risk assessment report, managers should assess the following:
- Who’s at risk?
- What parts of the building or physical workplace can be compromised?
- What supply chain planning and issues can occur regarding specific tools or necessary equipment?
- What systems are at risk?
- How will a hazard impact the surrounding environment?
- How will this create a financial setback?
- Will we lose customers, and can we face a lawsuit?
Creating a risk assessment report doesn’t eliminate the need for PPE. On the other hand, it helps managers understand when they need certain tools and when they need to take additional measures. Workers should use some forms of PPE, particularly a mask, at all times during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Implementing a PPE Management Plan
Managers have several things to consider when implementing a PPE plan.
After selecting the appropriate PPE plan for their companies or organizations, managers should ensure that all employees are properly educated about the new tools or equipment and trained to use them.
Leaders should be prepared to provide technical tools and equipment for their employees. They should also offer training and development regarding how to effectively use the tools and equipment.
Overseeing and maintaining the workplace PPE plan is another important aspect of a manager’s job. Forbes argues that as regards the importance of personal protective equipment, leaders need to assess the behavioral needs of their employees and the technical needs of their work environments.
On an emotional level, managers can help alleviate workplace burnout and eliminate unnecessary stressors for their employees. Improving the work-life balance of employees increases workplace productivity and worker morale.
Managers also lead by example. They can model ways to use physical and emotional protection in the workplace. If they aren’t using equipment properly or have a poor attitude about using necessary tools, their behavior may affect their employees negatively.
All these factors influence whether a PPE plan is effective.