Generally speaking, agriculture doesn’t place enough emphasis on personal protective equipment (PPE). Failure to use PPE can have devastating consequences in both the short-term and long-term.
We’ve all been there.
- Not wearing gloves when you know flowing material has sharpened the edges of the equipment you are working on to a razor edge.
- Not wearing goggles when you know the chemical you are using could harm your eyes.
- Purchasing boots without steel toes out of concern for comfort when you know the steel toe version would better protect your feet.
- Not using ear muffs when we are running the chainsaw even though you know your ears will ring for days afterwards.
The short-term effects of not wearing PPE are obvious. Lacerations, crushing injuries and flash burns just to name a few. Less obvious are the long-term effects like exposure to pesticides, loud equipment and welding fumes.
Each of your job activities should be assessed with specific emphasis on the need for PPE. Read the safety data sheet for the chemicals you are using. The section for exposure controls/personal protection will list the recommended PPE. When the need is identified, make every reasonable effort to change the job or the conditions to avoid the need for PPE. For example, substituting a less hazardous chemical or installing cross-draft ventilation at a welding table.
Take the time to learn how the PPE is to be used, stored and maintained. Keep a supply of replacement cartridges, lenses and other parts on hand.
Watch out for your coworkers and family members. Provide a not so gentle reminder if they are not using PPE.For more information, refer to OSHA’s Personal Protective Equipment FactSheet: