Personal Protective Equipment Training Guide

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Labor Occupational Health Program

Summary Statement

Training on PPE such as hardhats, eyewear, gloves and shoes, includes discussion questions and a sign-off form. Part of a collection. Click on the 'collection' button to access the other items.

These tailgate/toolbox talks were developed for use under California OSHA regulations. The complete set is available from the Labor Occupational Health Program at UC Berkeley. For ordering information, visit the website ( The American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) has adapted these talks to apply to federal OSHA regulations. To contact ACGIH, visit its web site (

Before you begin the meeting...
  • Does this topic relate to the work the crew is doing? If not, choose another topic.
  • Has the crew completed basic Hazard Communication training? It will help them understand this topic.
  • Did you read this Training Guide and fill in the blanks where thePencil Icon appears? (To find the information you need, look over the Safety Walkaround Checklist for this topic.)
  • Did you bring samples of personal protective equipment (for example, a hardhat, goggles, and gloves) to demonstrate to the crew?

Begin: You've probably heard a lot of excuses for not wearing protective equipment like a hardhat, gloves, and goggles. People say "they're hot and uncomfortable" or "they make it harder to get the job done." Sometimes these things are true. But the inconvenience is a small price to pay for safety. A job injury might disable you for life.

Personal protective equipment is no substitute for other safety precautions. No hardhat is going to save you if a crane dumps its load on you. But if you use the right safety equipment the right way, you can reduce the danger of injury.

You or a crew member may want to add a personal story about protective equipment.

(Note: This Training Guide does not cover all types of personal protective equipment. Some types, including respirators and hearing protection, are covered in separate Training Guides.)


After each question, give the crew time to suggest possible answers. Use the information following each question to add points that no one mentions.

1.We have posted all hardhat areas on this site. What hazards does a hardhat protect you from?

  • It protects your head from falling or flying objects.
  • It cushions the blow if you hit your head on something.
  • It insulates you from burns and electric shocks (if it's a non-conductive type).
  • It keeps your hair from:

    • getting tangled in machinery or equipment
    • getting dust or chemicals on it.
2. What is the suspension in a hardhat for? How should you adjust it?
  • The suspension keeps a cushion of air between the outer shell and your head.
  • The cushion of air is important protection. Don't interfere with it. Never carry anything (like tools or cigarettes) inside your hardhat while you're wearing it.
  • Adjust the suspension so there's 1¼ inches between the top of your head and the shell. (If the manufacturer's directions are different, follow those.)
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Using the hardhat you brought to the meeting, show how to adjust the suspension.

3. How often should you inspect a hardhat? When should you replace it?

  • Inspect the entire hardhat every day. Replace it immediately if you see damage to the shell, liner, or suspension.
  • Don't decorate the hardhat. You may not be able to see damage if it has been painted or covered with stickers.
  • Replace the hardhat if there has been a significant impact, even if you can't see any damage. The impact may have weakened it.
  • Change the suspension in a hardhat for each new user.
4. When do you need eye protection?
  • You may need eye protection when there's danger from:

    • flying particles (from saws, drills, etc.)
    • splashes
    • dust
    • protruding or projecting parts
    • chemical vapors or fumes
    • bright light or ultraviolet rays (from welding, lasers, etc.)
5. What types of eye protection are there? How do you know which kind to use?
  • Depending on the particular hazard, you may need safety glasses with side shields, goggles,or a full face shield. We'll give you the right kind for the job you're doing.
  • If you wear goggles, there are several types. With acids and some other chemicals, you may need special splash resistant goggles. With lasers, use laser safety goggles).

    Pencil Icon

    For each job, show the type of eye protection required, and explain where to obtain it:



  • Don't wear contact lenses on a construction site unless approved by a doctor.
6. When do you need to wear gloves?
  • Gloves can help protect you from:

    • flying particles
    • electricity
    • cuts
    • chemicals and radioactive material
    • cold or wet surfaces or environments
    • burns
7. Not all gloves are the same. How do you choose the right glove for the job?
  • Use wire mesh gloves if there's an extreme danger of cuts.
  • Use insulated rubber gloves (with canvas or leather outer gloves) for electrical work.
  • Use non-flammable gloves when welding.
  • Only special chemical resistant gloves (rubber or plastic) will protect you from chemicals. Different types stop different chemicals from getting through to your skin. The package should tell you which chemicals the glove is designed for.
  • Chemical resistant gloves break down over time. Then the chemicals start to get through. Don't use them beyond their intended service time (shown on the package).
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For each job, show the type of gloves required, and explain where to obtain them:



8. What other protective clothing might you need?

  • Wear steel-toed safety shoes when anything might crush or penetrate your foot.
  • If you're using a jackhammer, steel should cover your whole foot, not just the toes.
  • Wear boots when you work near hot surfaces, with concrete, or in wet locations.
  • Wear an apron or coveralls to protect yourself from dust, chemicals, cuts, and burns.
  • A full body suit may be necessary if you work with asbestos, lead, or toxic waste. It can also protect you from steam and from extreme heat or cold.
9. If you're working around dust or chemicals, how can you find out what protective clothing and equipment you need?
  • Ask your foreman for advice. Also read the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for each chemical product. MSDSs are required by law. They'll tell you the ingredients, hazards, and what protective equipment you need.
10. Who is responsible for supplying protective clothing and equipment?
  • The employer must supply it, make sure it fits, train you how to use it, and maintain it in a safe and sanitary condition. Tell your foreman about any defects you notice.
  • All protective clothing and equipment must be a type which is safety-approved. Look for a label stating that it meets American National Standards Institute (ANSI) specs.
  • Protective gear which you supply yourself (like prescription safety glasses) must still comply with Cal/OSHA and ANSI requirements.


Explain: Most of the safety measures we've talked about are required by Cal/OSHA. We have to take these precautions—it's the law. I have a Checklist of the Cal/OSHA regulations on personal protective equipment. If you'd like to know more, see me after the meeting.


(Only if applicable.) Besides the Cal/OSHA regulations, we have some additional company rules about personal protective equipment. For example, our rules spell out what will happen if you don't use personal protective equipment when required.

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Discuss company rules:




Ask: Do you have any other concerns about personal protective equipment? Do you see any problems on our job? (Let the steward answer first, if there is one.)

What about other jobs you've worked on? Have you had any experience with personal protective equipment that might help us work safer on this job?


This is a time to discuss all safety concerns, not just today's topic. Keep your notes on this page before, during and after the safety meeting.

Are you aware of any hazards from other crews? Point out any hazards other crews are creating that this crew should know about. Tell the crew what you intend to do about those hazards.





Do we have any old business? Discuss past issues/problems. Report progress of investigations and action taken.




Any new business? Any accidents/near misses/complaints? Discuss accidents, near misses, and complaints that have happened since the last safety meting. Also recognize the safety contributions made by members of the crew.





Please remember, we want to hear from you about any health and safety issues that come up. If we don't know about problems, we can't take action to fix them.

To complete the training session:

  • Circulate Sign-Off Form.
  • Assign one or more crew member(s) to help with next safety meeting.
  • Refer action items for follow-up. (Use the sample Hazard Report Form in the Reference Section of this binder, or your company’s own form.)

Sign Off Form

Date Prepared:_________________________ By:____________________
Project Name/No.______________________ Location:_______________
Printed Name