PPE refers to anything used or worn to minimise risk to workers’ health and safety. It includes:
- ear plugs
- face masks
- hard hats
- high visibility clothing
- safety harnesses
- safety shoes
- and others.
Risk Management According to the WHS Regulations require businesses to follow a hierarchy of risk control measure when managing a risk. Although PPE is ranked as one of the least effective safety control measures or a level 5 control measure, its importance in the workplace cannot be downplayed.
- Level 5 control measures rely more on human behaviour and supervision rather than controlling the hazard at the source. PPE can be a great addition to ensure the health and safety for workers in the workplace but cannot be substituted entirely by other more important hazard control requirements.
PPE is most effective when it is used in addition to higher-level control measures or when no other safety measures are available. Before resorting to PPE, a risk assessment needs to be conducted to see what other controls can and should be used.
Work Health and safety duties According to WHS laws, PCBUs must implement control measures in place if it is not practicable to eliminate a health and safety risk in the workplace. Control measures can include PPE as an interim or last resort. Where PPE needs to be used, it must be:
- Selected to reduce risk to health and safety, including ensuring the equipment is:
- suitable for the nature of the work or hazard
- a suitable size and fit for the individual who is required to use it and that it is reasonably comfortable.
- Maintained, repaired or replaced, which includes ensuring the equipment is:
- clean and hygienic
- in good working order.
- Used or worn by the worker, so far as is reasonably practical.
A PCBU must:
- consult with their workers when selecting PPE
- ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that the PPE is used or worn by the worker
- provide the worker with information, training and instruction in the proper use and wearing of PPE and its storage and maintenance.
PPE must be provided by a PCBU unless it has already been provided by another one. The legal requirements of businesses in relation to PPE are set out in regulations 36, 44 and 45 of the WHS Regulations.
According to regulation 46 of the WHS Regulations, the duties of workers include:
- using or wearing the PPE according to any information, training or instruction provided by the PCBU, as far as they reasonably can.
- Not intentionally misusing or damaging the PPE.
- Promptly informing the business of any damage, defect or need to clean or decontaminate the PPE.
- Informing their managers if the PPE is not comfortable, does not fit properly or if experiencing adverse reaction while using it.
A business can take action against the worker if the latter refuses to wear or use the PPE. If a worker intentionally misuses or damages the PPE, he or she may face disciplinary action or prosecution.
How Can We Help?
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Part of being a complete solutions provider, Anitech Noise Solutions is able to supply you with a full range of high quality Personal Protection Equipment.
Browse the Personal Protective Equipment from our online store: http://safety-products.com.au/
For more information on PPE, please see Safe Work Australia Publication: https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/ppe