According to OSHA, an employer is responsible for ensuring the availability, proper use, and maintenance of personal protective equipment. But employees also have a responsibility to preserve their health and safety by wearing the clothing provided and using it correctly. Protective clothing is not always comfortable, and it's rarely stylish - but it can save your life. Employers may even take disciplinary action against workers who refuse to wear protective gear. Protective clothing won't do its job unless it's in good condition and you use it correctly. Even the way you put the clothing on and take it off can affect the degree of protection it provides. Here are some pointers: * Know the hazards of each job and which protective gear is called for. * Always wear the required protective gear, even if the job will "only take a minute." * Check clothing for tears, punctures, or signs of wear before putting it on. * Make sure garments and accessories fit correctly and are comfortable enough to work in. Use tape to secure loose pant cuffs and shirt sleeves. Adjust straps on eyewear and headgear to fit snugly. * Check that protective gear regulated by ANSI, such as hard hats and eye protection, bear a manufacturer's label indicating design compliance with the appropriate ANSI requirements. * Remove contaminated clothing carefully. Work down so you don't drop contaminants on uncovered parts of your body.