Why is PPE so Important For You and Your Employees?

By Joanna Weekes on July 8th, 2011

Dear Reader,

Getting your workers to take care of themselves can sometimes be the hardest part of supervising them. After a while you may give up on the particularly stubborn ones…But for leaders in safety this can never be an option!

While you are legally responsible for the safety of your employees while they are in your workplace, your employees need to know how much responsibility they have on their shoulders in terms of working safely; both for themselves and for their colleagues.

At the end of the day, no matter how many safety precautions we take and how many measure we implement to reduce and eliminate safety hazards, people still get hurt. This is reality.


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But one thing that can absolutely be done as a minimum to try to control risks is using personal protective equipment (PPE) properly.

Now, it is certainly your job as a safety leader to train people in what they need to be using, how it needs to be used, when it needs to be used, and to supervise the use of the PPE, but at the end of the day, it is in the employee’s hands to actually do it. And it will be their injury if this doesn’t happen.

It is so essential to teach your employees the basics so that they understand the aim of what they might consider to be a lot of red tape.

So while we have our procedures and policies and records and slogans, it is so important to have the physical measures in place that can make a real difference in preventing injuries and illnesses in your workplace.

For some information about PPE and how it should be used, please refer to P2 Personal Protective Equipment in your OH&S Handbook.

And please read on for a snippet that will help you to enforce the use of PPE where necessary in your workplace….

Teach from the bottom up…

Joanna Weekes

Joanna Weekes
OH&S Handbook

P.S. I always want suggestions and ideas from you…If you enjoy reading the OH&S Bulletin and you have any topic requests or feedback about the bulletin, why not tell me about it? Pop an email to me at joanna@ohshandbook.com.au.

How to get your employees to comply with OHS law

If you’re currently experiencing a problem with this, the best thing to do is rewrite your contracts so they include an extra clause. It should state that failure to adhere to health and safety regulations may lead to disciplinary action and/or possible dismissal.

You’ll need to enforce this rule and punish offenders accordingly if you don’t want employees to feel that they’re being singled out.

Also make sure that employees understand they could be fined or sentenced to a jail term if an inspector finds them guilty of negligence.

Step-by-Step: How to ensure that PPE is used when necessary

Step 1: Ensure that you consult with employees before introducing the equipment. Employees who perform the relevant functions are in the best position to provide information about the operational
requirements of the job and the risks and hazards associated with it.

Step 2: Clearly signpost locations or activities which require the use of specific PPE. In addition, this information should be included in manuals which set out operating procedures.

Step 3: Adopt a policy which requires all staff to use the PPE provided in specified circumstances. The policy should make it clear that employees who do not use equipment as directed (including caring for and maintaining it) will be disciplined.

Step 4: Ensure that supervisors are given direct responsibility for ensuring that the policy is complied with. Remind them that they will be subject to disciplinary action if the equipment is not used consistently, or maintained appropriately. You must ensure that all supervisors are trained in the selection and use of PPE.

Step 5: Store protective clothing and equipment in a location which is accessible to employees who need to use it. It must be stored in a way which is safe and secure.

Warm Regards,

Andrew Douglas

Andrew Douglas
Editor-in-Chief, OH&S Handbook

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