Hazards exist in every foodservice operation in many different forms: hot liquids, grease, steam, hot surfaces, sharp objects/edges, falling objects, cleaning chemicals, and a myriad of other potentially dangerous situations. Controlling hazards at the source is the best way to protect workers; however, when engineering, work practice and administrative controls are not feasible or do not provide sufficient protection, employers must provide personal protective equipment (PPE).
Personal protective equipment, commonly referred to as “PPE”, is equipment worn to minimize exposure to a variety of hazards. PPE in foodservice includes such items as gloves (heat resistant, chemical resistant, cut resistant, etc.), aprons, foot, and face/eye protection.
Personal protective equipment, or PPE, is designed to protect workers from serious workplace injuries or illnesses resulting from contact with chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical, or other workplace hazards. Protective equipment includes a variety of devices and garments to provide protection against hazards in the workplace.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited employers for not protecting their employees from workplace hazards that may be mitigated or eliminated through the use of PPE. OSHA’s coverage of PPE, however, is broad and relies heavily on American National Standards Institute (ANSI) voluntary standards. Keep in mind that OSHA standards are only minimum standards, and employers can implement more stringent requirements at their discretion.