Personal Protective Equipment

We are about half way through the Sustainability Series, and you may have started building a Farm Safety Plan and governing your organization using the Farm Sustainability Assessment.  In part of those two things, you may have started to identify hazards, created a risk management program, and implemented hazard control measures while at the same time involved your workforce to improve employee engagement which in turn will all create a sustainable farm.

To keep employees engaged, provide employees with the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) for each task they perform.  Personal protective equipment is a type of hazard control and in the hierarchy of hazard controls, it is last as it is the least reliable control.  Elimination, engineering and administrative controls are much more effective in controlling hazards.  Personal protective equipment is the last line of defence but it is the first thing to put on before starting work.   Hazards must be evaluated for the potential incident and injury they could cause in order to determine the correct personal protective equipment to be used for the task.  PPE is not one size fits all.  Read instructions that come with the personal protective equipment to ensure it is not only adequate for the task but also if it will fit the person wearing it correctly and it is comfortable.  If the PPE used is not for the task or of incorrect size it can create a new hazard.  Personal protective equipment needs to be cleaned, maintained and stored according to manufacturers specifications.

Types of personal protective equipment that may be worn on the farm are steel toed footwear, safety glasses, face shields, various types of gloves, hearing protection, high visibility clothing, fall protection and respirators, to name a few.  Check to see if the personal protective equipment you are required to wear meets the CSA or ANSI standards in Part 3 of the occupational health and safety general regulations.  Manufacturers manuals may also specify particular types of PPE to be worm when using machines or equipment.

When workers are wearing the correct personal protective equipment, it may reduce the injuries and occupational illness that a worker can suffer when they are inadequately protected.  Reducing occupational injuries and illnesses also reduces the costs associated with such events and therefore will increase the bottom line on the farm and improve employee morale which pushes your further to being a more sustainable farm.

Reference:

  1. Code FSA99 Farm Sustainability Assessment Tool (http://fsatool.com/).
  2. CSA/ANSI Standards for PPE.
  3. Part 3 of the Occupational Health and Safety General Regulations.
  4. Manufacturers specifications for specific personal protective equipment.

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