Personal Protective Equipment: any clothing, equipment or substance designed to protect a person from risks of injury or illness. PPE can include:
- hearing protective devices, eg ear muffs and ear plugs
- eye and face protection, eg goggles
- safety helmets, sun hats, sunscreen, repellants
- gloves and safety boots
- clothing, eg high visibility vests or life jackets.
Note: Do not over-estimate the protection afforded by PPE
This procedure requires actions by:
Select and provide PPE as follows:
Provide PPE for the following situations:
- provide personal protective clothing or equipment free of charge to employees
- ensure that the equipment is appropriate
- ensure that employees receive appropriate instruction in the use of the equipment
- ensure that equipment is used in the manner required
- ensure that employees use protective clothing and equipment for the purpose provided
- ensure that all protective equipment and clothing provided by the University complies with current legal requirements, and meets or exceeds a relevant Australian Standard.
- Head protection. Provide a safety helmet where there is a possibility that a person may be struck on the head or where there is the risk of contact with electrical hazards
- Eye protection. Provide eye protectors where a risk of eye injury exists. Typical hazards might include flying particles, dust, splashing substances, harmful gases, vapours, aerosols, and high intensity radiation from welding operations.
- Hearing protection. Provide ear protectors where there exists a risk of noise-induced hearing loss, as assessed by noise surveys in potential noise hazard areas
- Respiratory protection. Provide protection, after all other practicable measures have been taken to provide control measures, so that no employee is exposed to an atmosphere that may be injurious to health
- Sun protection. Provide protective clothing and sunscreen for employees who are required to work outdoors and are exposed to the sun's rays for continuous periods. Provide hats, long sleeves/trousers and an adequate supply of sunscreen to minimise direct exposure of the skin to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from outdoor work
- Hand protection. Provide protection where there is potential for hand injury
- Feet protection. Provide safety footwear where the nature of the work exposes an employee to a medium to high risk of injury to feet, eg occupations such as workshop/maintenance and gardening
- Visibility is required. Provide high visibility safety vests where there is a risk of injury associated with working on or near roadways, near moving traffic or near moving equipment.
Take care to ensure that PPE does not create additional hazards during use.
Protective equipment should be in a clean and hygienic condition and should not be shared between wearers unless the equipment is considered clean.
The decision on selecting PPE can be supported by sources of information including:
Selecting the most appropriate PPE for a task is the first step to ensuring a user is protected against a hazard. In all instances, consult employees regarding the type of equipment being considered.
- designers, manufacturers or suppliers of PPE
- Australian Standards
- material safety data sheets
- risk assessments
- safe work procedures (safe work methods statements / job safety analysis)
Note that not all PPE will meet the same performance requirements and provide the same protection. For example, no one type of glove provides adequate protection against all chemicals.
When selecting the appropriate PPE, give consideration to characteristics such as:
- abrasion resistance
- burn resistance
- cut resistance
- ability to be cleaned
- appropriateness. Any protective equipment provided for use should be appropriate for the wearer. The equipment should fit, be comfortable and be compatible with the working environment and any other PPE used at the same time.
Store protective equipment in an appropriate and clearly identified place so that it remains clean and not exposed to the weather.
As part of regular workplace inspections, check PPE to ensure it is in good working order and that it continues to control the risk it is intended to control. Maintenance should include an inspection before each use to determine if the equipment has sustained any damage and whether it will work as intended. Where PPE is damaged, it should be either repaired or disposed of appropriately and replaced.
Train any wearer of PPE in the correct use, appropriate fitting, and any limitations, of the equipment. Provide instructions on the correct use of the equipment, maintenance and storage.
Health and Safety Coordinator
Regularly review, with relevant stakeholders, all PPE in order to ensure that it continues to be effective and applicable. Conditions which might warrant a review of PPE on a more frequent basis would include:
Following completion of any review, revise and update the PPE equipment and instructions as required in order to correct any deficiencies.
- an injury or near miss resulting from failure associated with PPE
- incidents related to PPE
- changes to Codes of Practice
- employee or employer concern.