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Safety: the Importance of PPE

Posted in Apprenticeships General Safety Traineeships

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is classified as “anything that is used or worn to minimise the risk to workers’ health and safety.”*

This includes equipment such as:

  • Boots
  • Face masks
  • Goggles
  • High visibility clothing
  • Safety harnesses
  • Sunscreen
  • Ear plugs
  • Gloves
  • Hard hats
  • Respirators
  • Safety shoes
  • Long-sleeved shirts/long pants

The use of PPE should complement – not replace – other safe work practices. Its use is necessary because workers can be exposed to a multitude of workplace and environmental hazards over the course of their day, including (but not limited to):

  • Chemical inhalation
  • Falls from heights/through voids
  • Bite wounds – snakes/spiders/other insects
  • Crushing injuries to the feet/hands/head
  • Excessive noise/vibration
  • Exposure to the elements – sun/rain/wind
  • Slips – water/grease/oil/lubricants
  • Puncture wounds – sharps/plants
  • Burns – tools/machinery/chemicals/the sun
  • Diseases – dust/plant spores/chemicals

Depending on your workplace environment, you may be required to use PPE infrequently, or on a daily basis. Regardless of frequency, all workers have a duty to wear the appropriate PPE according to any reasonable instruction/training by their Employer. It must be suitable for the nature of the work, the proper size and fit for the person using it, and be properly stored and maintained. PPE must NEVER be intentionally misused or damaged. Workers should notify their Supervisor/WHS Coordinator immediately if they become aware of:

  • Damage to the PPE
  • The PPE being defective
  • The PPE needing to be cleaned or decontaminated

Source: Safe Work Australia: www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/ppe

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