What Is PPE?

N95 masks,What Is PPE?

What Is PPE?

Just about any time someone talks about the pressing need for N95 masks, you’re bound to hear the term PPE. Most of us had probably never heard the term before, but experts talk about it as if we are all expected to know what it is. PPE stands for “personal protective equipment.” Examples of PPE include gloves, foot and eye protection, protective hearing devices (earplugs, muffs) hard hats, full body suits and, of course, N95 particulate respirators

We’re hearing a lot about the shortage of PPE like face masks, particulate respirators, sterile gowns and gloves for healthcare providers and first responders battling the coronavirus pandemic, but there are many other industries that rely on PPE. The need for protective equipment and the type of PPE required to meet those needs is dependent on the type of work being done. 

OSHA’s Role in PPE

The men and women who are staffing healthcare facilities across this country that are being overwhelmed by patients suffering from the coronavirus are incredibly courageous and deserve our sincere gratitude. It is easy to understand why they need PPE like N95 respirators, but you can find threats to employee safety in just about every workplace.

Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. It is the role of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to make sure that employers follow through on the need to protect employees from workplace hazards that can cause injury. OSHA is concerned with everything from sharp edges, falling objects and flying sparks to chemical exposure and unhealthy noise levels, as well as threats from the kind of exposure our frontline medical teams are now facing. 

Among other things, OSHA says employers need to provide PPE clothing and equipment that:

  • Is of safe design and construction
  • Is maintained in a clean and reliable fashion
  • Fits well and is comfortable to wear
  • Is compatible with any other different types of PPE that are worn together


Particulate respirators, like the 3M 8210 N95s, DuraMask 1895N and HDX N95s we offer, are important forms of PPE that fall under OSHA’s purview.

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