Protection from Hazards
Officially, PPE is the "method of last resort." Engineering and administrative controls are essential:
- Engineering controls
- General ventilation, hoods, self-closing vehicle restraints -- engineering controls are preferred over other controls because they are in general far less prone to human error.
- Administrative controls
- Rules, policies, emergency plans -- these are necessary where engineering controls are not possible or practical
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) -- last resort.
- Safety equipment, including PPE, is something of a subclass of administrative controls since it depends on human cooperation with rules and policies regarding its use. PPE is not an acceptable substitute for engineering controls and administrative controls. For example, it is not permissible for an employer to routinely allow employees wearing respirators to work in an area filled with toxic vapors, if improved ventilation (an engineering control) is the better answer.