Safety

Tip of the Week: OSHA updates requirements for PPE with new enforcement guidelines

Hospital Safety Insider, May 26, 2011

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The following is an excerpt from the May issue of Briefings on Hospital Safety

Pay close attention to training

At the beginning of February, OSHA released a directive updating enforcement guidelines for personal protective equipment (PPE) for general industries.

Fewer industries rely more heavily on effective PPE than the healthcare industry, and much of that PPE's effectiveness depends on suitable training to ensure that staff are using the equipment appropriately.

The new directive gives OSHA inspectors updated guidance on when and why to cite facilities that aren't in compliance with PPE requirements. It also gives safety ¬officers and infection preventionists (IP) some ¬guidance as to which violations will earn them a citation and specifics on how they should be appropriately training frontline staff members.

Significant changes from the old enforcement guide (which was last updated in 1995) include:

  • What type of PPE employers must provide at no cost, when employers must pay for PPE or for ¬replacement PPE, and when employers are not required to pay for PPE
  • Payment requirements for PPE worn off the job site, for PPE that must remain at the job site, and for ¬employee-owned PPE
  • Enforcement policies that reflect court and review commission decisions concerning PPE
  • Guidance allowing employers to use PPE constructed in accordance with the most recent national consensus standards



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