Personal Protective Equipment
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is considered the absolute last line of defense when protecting employees against hazards in the workplace. It should never be relied upon as a primary control for any hazard and is not a replacement for appropriate protocols and training. The use of PPE is intended as a mitigation to the results of exposure to a hazard and means that an employer has determined that it is not feasible or practicable to fully control the hazard through other means. The following is a list of the ways that hazards can be controlled, starting with the most effective down to the least effective:
- Elimination – Remove hazard from workplace
- Substitution – Replace the hazard with something less hazardous
- Engineering – Alter physical work environment to reduce or remove hazard
- Administrative – Change or direction in work procedures, Safe Work Practices, Safe Job Procedures, implementation of safety measures
- PPE – Personal Protective Equipment to reduce or mitigate risk of hazard
PPE is only to be used if all the other means of controlling hazards have been considered, PPE will almost always be used in conjunction with other means of hazard control.
Employees are responsible for providing appropriate PPE to protect themselves against the natural elements in addition to work gloves, appropriate and safe footwear (certified if applicable), and safety headgear as per 8.2 of the Regulation. Employees must ensure that all personal clothing and accessories worn will not cause any undue hazards, for example loose clothing near moving mechanical parts (8.10 Regulation). All other PPE items will be provided by BCCF at no cost to the employee. BCCF will ensure that all provided PPE is within accordance with recognized safety standards, does not create additional hazards, and is in good, clean working order. In addition BCCF will ensure that each employee is instructed on the proper use of the provided PPE. Supervisors and crew leaders are responsible for ensuring that PPE is available to employees, worn properly and maintained. Employees are responsible for using their PPE in accordance with instruction, inspecting PPE prior to use, reporting any malfunction of PPE and keeping PPE clean and in good working condition.
Should BCCF take on any projects that require employees to work with possibility of chemical exposure or where oxygen is deficient, then BCCF will develop and implement a personal protective equipment program to be reviewed annually (8.5, 8.6 Regulation).
BCCF has provided appropriate Safe Work Practices (SWPs) on many items of PPE, these are available in Part 2 of this OHSP. All applicable employees shall reference these prior to selecting, inspecting, or wearing the equipment specified in the appropriate SWPs.
Any employee that works in an area where there is danger from head injury due to falling, flying or thrown objects must wear safety headgear as per 8.11 of the Regulation. All safety headgear must meet the requirements set out by CSA Standard CAN/CSA-Z94.1-92, Industrial Protective Headwear, ANSI Standard Z89.1-1986, American National Standard for Personnel Protection – Protective Headwear for Industrial Workers Requirements, or Japanese Industrial Standard JIST8131-1990, Industrial Safety Helmets, for Class AB or ABE headgear. If employees are climbing, working at heights greater than 3 m (10ft), or in conditions such as high winds that could cause loss of helmet then chin straps must be worn. Headgear that has been damaged or modified in anyway will not be used by employees of BCCF. Refer to the applicable SWPs for head gear.
For BCCF employees conducting rock scaling or silviculture activities or the like WorkSafeBC will accept helmets certified by the Union of International alpine Association Standard (UIAA) Standard 106 Mountaineering and Climbing Equipment Helmets as an alternative to the standards listed in the first paragraph.
BCCF employees that are operating or are passengers (only vehicles rated for double occupancy) on all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) or snowmobiles must wear helmets meeting the requirements of 8.12 of the Regulation. These are helmets that meet the:
- CSA Standard CAN3-D230-M85, Protective Headgear in Motor Vehicle Applications,
- British Safety Institution Standard BS5361.1976, specifications: Protective Helmets for Vehicle Users,
- Snell Memorial Foundation 1995 Standard for Protective Headgear for Use with Motorcycles and Other Motorized Vehicles, or
- US Federal Standard for Motorcycle Helmets (Title 49 – Transportation – Part 571.218)
Although WorkSafeBC does not include utility vehicles such as side by sides or utility vehicles (UTVs, such as “gators” or “argos”) in their requirement for helmets, BCCF policy does requires all employees using utility vehicles to adorn helmets meeting the standards for ATV and snowmobile use.
BCCF employees that use bicycles to complete tasks at work will wear helmets meeting the requirements set out in 8.13 of the Regulation as listed below:
- CSA Standard CAN/CSA-D113.2-M89, Cycling Helmets,
- Snell Memorial Foundation 1994 Standard for Protective Headgear for Use in Non- Motorized Sports, or
- Snell Memorial Foundation 1995 Standard for Protective Headgear for Use in Bicycling
BCCF employees at risk of eye injury from impact, exposure to particulate matter, chemical exposure or other means must wear properly fitting and job appropriate eye protection. For employees that require prescription safety eyewear it must meet CSA Standard CAN/CSA-Z94.3- 92, Industrial Eye and Face Protectors. Bifocal and trifocal lenses are not safety glasses and cannot be worn in place of safety glasses where there is a risk of impact. If contact lenses are not suitable due to conditions and hazards present the employee must wear alternative prescription eyewear. Side shields must be fitted to safety eyewear and/or face protection shall be worn if reasonable risk is identified. Refer to applicable SWPs for additional information on eye and face safety at work.
BCCF employees and contractors are responsible for providing their own general duty clothing and basic PPE requirements. BCCF will supply appropriate specialized PPE to any employee where skin, hand, foot or body protection is or may be required to prevent exposure to abrasions, punctures, absorption or other adverse effects to skin. Employees are responsible for wearing this PPE appropriately and when at risk of coming in contact with hazards related to exposure of skin. Any PPE that comes into contact with a hazardous material will be taken out of circulation and replaced to ensure that all PPE is capable of performing its task and has not degraded or been made ineffective in protecting workers.
All employees working in boats, pulling nets or conducting other similar fisheries related work should wear appropriate hand protection to keep hands as warm as possible and prevent cuts, scrapes and the like.
All employees working with biological samples will wear surgical gloves. For proper glove removal procedures refer to the appropriate SWP.
Employees should also ensure they select appropriate gloves to mitigate risks of weather and exposure during applicable seasons.
As per 8.21 (1) of the Regulation all BCCF staff operating a chainsaw will wear leg protective devices. These leg protective devices will meet or exceed either WCB Standard: PPE 1 – 1997 Leg Protective Devices or Schedule 8A WorkSafeBC Standard – Leg Protective Devices depending on whether or not the protective devices were manufactured before or after February 1 2011. Refer to the appropriate SWPs and SJPs regarding the selection and use of Chainsaw PPE in Part 2.
Employees’ footwear must be of appropriate material, construction, design and rating for the job. Employees must consider suitability and the following factors when selecting footwear:
- Uneven terrain
- Ankle support and protection
- Foot support and protection
- Potential for crushing
- Work environment temperature extremes
- Puncture hazards
- Corrosive substances present at worksite
- Electrical shock
- Any other perceivable hazard
Footwear that is required to have toe protection, metatarsal protection, puncture resistant soles and/or dielectric protection must meet the standards set out by:
- CSA Standard CAN/CSA-Z195-M92, Protective Footwear,
- ANSI Standard Z41-1991, American National Standard for Personal Protection – Protective Footwear,
- British Safety Institution Standard BS EN 345:1993 Specification for Safety Footwear for Professional Use, or
- British Safety Institution Standard BC EN 346:1993 Specification for Protective Footwear for Professional Use.
Additional information related to the selection of, understanding the rating systems, and symbols of safety footwear should be referenced in the applicable SWP.
For those employees working on slippery surfaces nonslip footwear must be worn. BCCF employees walking in, around and on fallen timbers and logs should wear caulked or equally effective footwear as per 8.23 of the Regulation.
Distinguishing apparel must be of a color that contrasts with the work environment and have a minimum of 775sq cm (120sq in) of fluorescent trim for daytime use or reflective trim for nighttime use as per 8.25 of the Regulation. BCCF employees will preferably wear distinguishing apparel that has reflective trim as often field work will be conducted in low light or limited visibility conditions. Any employee that will be working along roadways or other right of ways where vehicles can be operating at speeds great than 30km/hr must wear a reflective vest.
Please refer to the applicable SWP additional information and requirements.
All BCCF employees working where there is a risk of drowning must wear an appropriate personal floatation device (PFD) or lifejacket with sufficient buoyancy to keep their head above water (8.26 (1) Regulation). Regulation 8.26 (1) does not apply if water is not deep enough for the floatation device to function properly. Whenever possible BCCF would prefer that employees wear lifejackets over PFDs. BCCF employees will not work alone on or around water whenever possible. If required to work alone around or on water BCCF employees will adorn a lifejacket as stated in Regulation 8.28. The Regulation provides the following definitions:
- Life jacket is defined as ‘a device that, when worn correctly, provides a specified buoyancy that will turn the wearer face-up on entering the water, and will keep the wearer in this position.’
- Personal flotation device (PFD) as ‘a device that, when worn correctly, provides a specified buoyancy to support a conscious person in an upright or backward leaning position, but is not designed to turn a person from a face-down to a face-up position in the water.
All PFDs and lifejackets must be compliant with 8.27 of the Regulation, meaning they must meet the requirements of:
- CGSB Standard CAN/CGSB-65.7-M88, Lifejackets, Inherently Buoyant Type with a minimum buoyancy of 93N (21 lbs),
- CGSB Standard CAN/CGSB-65.11-M88, Personal Flotation Devices with a minimum buoyancy of 69N (15.5lbs),
- CGSB Standard 65-GP-14M, Lifejackets, Inherently Buoyant, Standard Type with a minimum buoyancy of 125 N (28lbs), or
- British Safety Standard BS EN 396-1994, Lifejackets and Personal Buoyancy Aids – Lifejacket 150 N, automatically inflatable units with a minimum buoyancy of 150 N (34lbs).
Both PFDs and lifejackets are required to have a minimum of 200 sq cm (32 sq in) of white or silver retroreflective material fitted on the surface of the device that would be above the water’s surface as per 8.30 of the Regulation.
Automatically inflatable lifejackets may be used as long as BCCF retains records of all inspections and maintenance.
BCCF has provided additional resources related to buoyancy equipment within the applicable SWPs.
Flame resistant is defined by WorkSafeBC as ‘clothing, means made of a material that, due to its inherent properties or as a result of treatment by a flame retardant, will slow, terminate or prevent flaming combustion.’ Although flame resistant clothing is not particularly a requirement for BCCF employees, it should be a consideration for employees residing in a camp setting for both equipment and outerwear.
Due to the extensive range of types and industries that use and/or require respirators under the regulation and the range of work that BCCF employees may undertake. Respirator requirements and PPE will be assessed on a project to project basis. Respirators will be selected based on employer and JOHSC consultation. Overall, BCCF will supply all employees that may be exposed to airborne hazards appropriate respirators, replacement parts and appropriate materials for the care and maintenance of respirators. Employees will be fit tested by qualified/approved supervisors or safety coordinator when applicable, and trained in the proper use and care of their respirator device. Employees will wear their respirators whenever there is a risk of airborne hazard and will maintain and care for their respirator. Employees shall report to their Project Coordinator and Safety Coordinator any deficiencies or concerns as soon as possible. Please refer to the applicable SWP for more information regarding respirators in Part 2.
Due to the number of regulations related directly to hearing protection and noise exposure BCCF has dedicated an entire section to Noise related hazards. Please refer to the Noise exposure section and the applicable hearing protection SWPs for more information. All employees must ensure that use of hearing related PPE is adhered to and compliant with all applicable regulations.