Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
We all know it’s important and while the cartoon here is an amusing take on how some people feel about the amount of PPE they are expected to wear, the drawing actually reflects a worrying attitude amongst some workers (and employers for that matter) that it’s all a little over-the-top.
However, when considering PPE and what to wear in certain situations it is vital that workers understand that PPE is actually the final step of ensuring their safety, not the first.
In the Hierarchy of Controls (Elimination, Substitution, Engineering, Administration and PPE), PPE sits at the bottom of the list in terms of effective methods to prevent workplace injury. While PPE should be used to supplement other safety measures, by no means should PPE be considered to be an effective way to prevent work-related injuries in its own right.
There is a litany of complaints from workers about PPE: it’s uncomfortable and inconvenient topping the list. Education is not only vital in ensuring that workers understand the role PPE plays in their workplace safety, it is stipulated by the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000. The education you provide your workers should include appropriate instruction and training of the equipment and information about any limitations of the equipment.
If your workers are using PPE, you should put a PPE Plan in place to assess the risk and use this to select the best equipment for the job. This plan will also help you to track the training needs of your workers; any fitting requirements for individuals wearing PPE; cleaning and disinfecting procedures; the storage your workplace requires; and the maintenance and replacement schedule for the equipment.
Like any element of safety, PPE plays a role in a much larger production. In order to ensure your workers aren’t resentful or feeling over-burdened like the cartoon above, education is the key.
Provide the training and enforce the procedures to ensure your employees stay safe.
For any further information please contact Safety Services Australia 029 8363100 or www.safetyservices.net.au