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Personal protective equipment

Personal protective equipment (PPE) protects workers by controlling their exposure to certain risks as much as possible. For example, this can include protective clothing, respirators, safety hats, gloves, earmuffs or safety boots.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) must be used as a last resort when the hazard cannot be eliminated or reduced by other means. Means are identified in the company's prevention program.

The employer has several options for providing personal protective equipment free of charge. For example:

  • provide an amount equivalent to the actual cost of personal protective equipment for the work required
  • have a service contract in the company’s name with a supplier
  • have an in-house store or bank of personal protective equipment
  • make the equipment available to the worker and require that the equipment remain in the workplace

Example

Steve has a job interview for a materials handler position in a warehouse. His employer asks him if he already has safety boots so that he can be hired immediately, otherwise he will not be hired.

Owning personal protective equipment cannot be a hiring criterion. The employer cannot require Steve to own safety boots before he starts work. The employer must provide them free of charge so that Steve can start work.

The employer must find a way to ensure that this personal protective equipment is:

  • provided free of charge for the worker they want to hire
  • available as soon as the worker is required to perform tasks for which they need the equipment

Requirements in certain fields

Certain types of work may have requirements for personal protective equipment. For example, this is the case for workers and employers who:

The worker’s obligations

The worker must wear, use and maintain the protective equipment provided by the employer properly and take the necessary measures to protect their health and ensure their safety and that of other people.

If the worker finds that their personal protective equipment is damaged, broken or defective, they must report it to their employer or to the person responsible for inspecting the equipment.

The employer’s obligations

The employer must:

  • provide the personal protective equipment workers need to perform their work free of charge
  • ensure that workers have received training on the safe use of personal protective equipment
  • ensure that workers use and wear these protective means and equipment to carry out their work
  • ensure that personal protective equipment is kept in good condition

Health and safety committee

If there is a health and safety committee, it selects the types and models of protective clothing that is appropriate for the work while also complying with the following regulations:

The choice of a personal protective equipment model is not final. The chosen model may be replaced if it is not suitable.

Maintenance and storage

Personal protective equipment must be used, maintained and stored in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and the protective equipment user manual.

To optimize the protection and service life of personal protective equipment, it must be thoroughly cleaned, inspected, repaired and taken out of service when required.

The employer may designate one or more people to be responsible for the maintenance, inspection, repair, testing and disposal of personal protective equipment.

The employer must ensure that these people have the appropriate information and training to maintain the equipment and materials in good condition. They must also train their workers.

Laws and regulations

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