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Managing the protective clothing and equipment program at a large production facility is a complex task. This paper describes the various components of the protective clothing program at a large facility. The author draws on his experience in managing the personal protective clothing and equipment program at a facility employing over 6,000 people with potential exposure to various hazards including particulates, solvent, acids and bases, molten metals, radiation, heat stress, and electricity. Proper protection from these hazards requires many types of protective clothing and a program to manage their proper use and effectiveness. Effective program management must include all of the following elements: a written program designating responsibility to a qualified person, personal protective equipment specifications, review of supplier facilities, interaction with vendors, Purchasing Department involvement, proper handling of deliveries and storage in the Supply Department, end user training, quality control testing, program audits and a feedback loop. The person having overall program responsibility must be knowledgeable about potential workplace hazards, personal protective clothing and equipment materials, permeation theory, quality control and possess strong communication and interpersonal skills. Clothing and equipment specifications should be performance oriented.
Protective Clothing, Program Management, Quality Control
Director, Environmental Health Group, Hartford, Connecticut