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New guidance information on respiratory protective equipment

SafeWork SA has released guidance information on respiratory protective equipment (RPE).

The publication of the new guidance information comes after recent compliance program audits revealed a need for greater understanding of the correct selection and use of RPE as a control measure to manage the risk of occupational exposure to airborne contaminants.

SafeWork SA has issued 162 statutory notices associated with RPE over the past 3 years, with many for:

  • the incorrect selection of RPE, which means inadequate protection for the wearer;
  • poor fit; or
  • failure to train wearers in the use of RPE when working with hazardous substances, such as asbestos and silica dust.

SafeWork SA Executive Director Martyn Campbell said, “selecting the incorrect RPE for the task or RPE that does not fit correctly is ineffective, and may give the wearer a false sense of protection. For many workers, the incorrect use of RPE is putting their health at risk. Our aim is that by providing guidance on RPE, we will provide clarity on expectations under the WHS Act”.

The guidance information covers:

  • identifying a hazardous substance and the form it takes;
  • identifying the most appropriate RPE for the type of hazardous substance;
  • using RPE to minimise risk of exposure to a hazardous substance;
  • using RPE as a control measure;
  • training in the correct use and maintenance of RPE;
  • fit-testing and fit-checking of tight-fitting RPE;
  • monitoring the health of a worker who is required to use RPE;
  • inspecting, maintaining, repairing and storing RPE; and
  • recordkeeping.

Click here for the guidance information.

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