Personal Protective Equipment

Also Known As:

Personal protective equipment (PPE) includes goggles, helmets, gloves, masks, apron and other specialized clothing designed to keep people safe from injury. PPE may protect against physical, electrical, chemical, biohazard or airborne hazards, creating a barrier between the user and the hazard.

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Hazards Administration) mandates the use of PPE in many work settings. Pool owners and managers should be familiar with the OSHA rules that apply to private and public pools. When PPE is required, a PPE program — outlining the hazards that are present; the selection, maintenance and use of PPE; training of employees; and monitoring the program — must be in place.

At swimming pools, PPE is generally focused on the use of pool chemicals. When handling these substances, the recommended PPE should be worn, including goggles, masks and gloves. However, PPE may also be required in other situations, including maintenance, construction and food preparation. And of course, during an emergency, gloves and a facemask may be required PPE.

Like all other pool equipment, PPE should be maintained and stored properly. Follow government guidelines and manufacturer’s instructions for testing and inspecting, as well as storing, PPE. Some PPE has a shorter shelf-life, and therefore should be replaced on a regular basis. All employees should receive regular training in how to use PPE. Instructions for use should be clearly posted.