You should never assume your employees understand why a particular piece of personal protective equipment (PPE) is to be used, inspected, maintained and stored.
Even long-term employees may never have been taught how to properly wear or care for their PPE, and may be too embarrassed to ask if they have a question.
What Should PPE Training Include?
At a minimum, all employees should receive training that covers:
•An overview of when and what PPE must be worn and why it should be worn,
•Where to find PPE,
•How to fit and wear PPE,
•How to inspect, care for, store and maintain PPE, and
•How to report defective PPE and how to obtain replacements.
When is PPE Training Required?
The basic trigger points for PPE training include:
•At the time of the initial hire and assignment to a work area that requires the use of PPE,
•When there have been changes in an employee’s duties or the employee transfers to an area that requires the use PPE for which they have not been trained,
•When there have been changes in equipment, work processes or procedures that now require PPE or a change in the type of PPE, and
•When an employee is observed not wearing required PPE or not wearing it properly and the reason is because the employee doesn’t understand how to wear it.
In some cases, regulations require annual refresher training even if there have been no changes, such as the use of respirators and hearing protection.
You’ll also want to do periodic formal refresher training with your employees about the PPE requirements, even if nothing changes. These don’t have to be long sessions, just quick reminders of key points, problems or questions that have come up since the last session.