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KU-EHS October Monthly Safety Tip: Personal Protective Equipment

Monday, October 5, 2015

In the first quarter of this fiscal year, we have had four incidents that would have been prevented by proper use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):

  • Employee A was using Mr. Muscle oven cleaner and the corner of the rag which had the cleaner on it touched Employee A’s arm.
  • Employee B had removed his protective sunglasses in order to see the grass the needed to be trimmed.  Employee B hit a small rock with the string trimmer which came up and hit the corner of his eye.
  • Employee C was reaching to the 3M system when 2 bottles of chemicals fell off a shelf and hit Employee C on the face. Employee C rinsed their eyes with cold water.
  • Employee D was removing bottles from a trash can and touched a used condom.  Employee D washed her hands with bleach and hand soap.

In the previous two fiscal years, we have had at least eight incidents resulting from the failure to wear PPE as well. These have primarily been face and eye injuries.

The KU Health and Safety Manual states: "Workers shall use appropriate protective equipment where hazards may be encountered capable of causing injury or impairment to the body and supervisors shall require such use…At the discretion of the supervisor, workers may be required to wear protective equipment while engaging in work activities other than those specified in the University Safety and Health Manual." (Section 2)

Using proper PPE is a job requirement and cannot be overlooked. Here are some of the times PPE is required:

  • Using powered tools or powered equipment
  • Using impact tools
  • There is a flying object hazard
  • Welding
  • Working overhead (especially when removing ceiling tiles)
  • In labs (State Law)
  • During the use or handling of any chemicals or cleaning fluids
  • Where there is a risk of splash back.
  • As directed
  • You feel there may be a need

If you do not have required PPE, do not do the job. PPE is available for free from the storeroom. If we don’t have what you need, or if what we supply does not fit, we will find PPE that works for you.

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