Personal protective equipment (PPE) has been much in the news during the pandemic often focusing on what is required and questioning the adequacy of what is provided.
Interesting new research is also reporting appropriate PPE offers protection for workers’ physical and
mental health. For example, several studies
conducted during the current pandemic reported workers who felt fully protected at work, including having their PPE needs met, were also more likely to report better mental health outcomes
While workers may be required to use protective equipment on the job, it’s understood under a hierarchy of controls
, PPE is often not the optimal solution or at very least, should not be the only solution in place. As a control at the worker, PPE does not eliminate the hazard
, but is intended to reduce worker exposure. As such, most health and safety laws acknowledge PPE should be used only in certain circumstances and for limited periods of time. Or as in the case of COVID-19, public and worker health experts advise PPE like face masks should be accompanied by a host of other protective measures, including enhanced ventilation and air filtration in indoor spaces. Just the same, when PPE is used, great care must be taken with its selection, use and care
With these issues in mind, Workers Health & Safety Centre (WHSC) has recently revised its three-hour Personal Protective Equipment
training program. Members of joint health and safety committees and worker health safety representatives will be especially interested in this training. From the safety of a virtual classroom
participants will review proper selection, use and care of PPE, possible inadequacies and applicable laws including the need for worker training.
Register for PPE awareness training
Fulfilling employer obligations
As a general duty, employers must take every precaution reasonable to protect workers which includes providing required equipment, materials and protective devices and ensuring these are appropriately used and maintained. Workers in turn must use the PPE required by their employer, in particular when there are hazards that cannot be adequately controlled
in other ways. For example, Section 7 of the Regulation respecting the Control of Exposure to Biological or Chemical Agents
requires respirators be provided when engineering controls are not practical. Ontario’s Noise Regulation
(O. Reg. 381/15) sets out the requirements for protecting workers from exposure to hazardous sound levels including a duty to provide adequate training and instruction on the care and use of protective devices.
By law employers are also required to secure training for workplace joint health and safety committees.
To help meet this obligation WHSC also offers regularly scheduled JHSC Certification Training
as well as our recently updated Federal Committees and Representatives program.
These programs are available in our scheduled virtual classrooms
Don’t see what you need? Beyond scheduled classes,
and where participant numbers warrant, we can work with you to coordinate almost any of our training courses
in a virtual classroom for all workers, workplace representatives and supervisors.
Need more information still?
Contact a WHSC training services representative in your area.
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