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Give your employees this PPE maintenance guide to save money and lives

by , 02 February 2015
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is a vital part of health and safety. It gives your employees life-saving protection against a variety of workplace hazards.

Unfortunately though, like all equipment, it gets old and stops working properly. This means your employees may be using PPE that puts them in greater danger and you'll have to fork out thousands of rands to replace it.

The good news is, you can slow down the deterioration of your employees' PPE.

All you have to do is give them this guide on how to look after their PPE. It will make PPE last longer, save you money and protect your employees' lives...

Make your PPE last longer by making your employees follow this guide

Print out and give your employees this guide to show them how to look after their PPE:
Head Protection
Hard hats and helmets protect your head from impacts. You have to inspect and look after them to make sure they protect you. Make sure you get a new hard hat if yours is broken or damaged.
Here's what to look for to make sure your hard hat is in good condition:
  • Are the inside straps working properly? Have you adjusted them properly? If the inside straps don't fit, it can't protect you properly. So get a new hat with straps that fit.
  • Is the outer shell cracked or weak with dents?  To prevent this, don't leave the hat lying around. Always put it back in your storage locker when you're not wearing it.
  • Are the chin straps broken so they can't hold the hard hat on your head? If they are, tell your supervisor and ask him to replace them.
  • Is your hard hat clean? Use a damp rag with mild soap and water to clean your hard hat every couple of days.
Mold and mildew can grow on any damp surface including the part of the hat you sweat on. This can cause allergy problems that can affect your eyes and lungs.
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Three tips to get your employees to comply with health and safety laws
Employees think that safety is something 'management' must do. They're wrong. Employees also have duties to comply with the OHS Act.
It's your responsibility to make sure your employees comply. Don't know how to do it?
Here's how…
Eye Protection
  • If your safety glasses, goggles or shields always slip down your nose they can't protect your eyes very well.
  • That's why you must check:
  • Do they fit? If not, talk to your supervisor and get a pair that fits properly.
  • Are they clean? Use the same solution of warm soapy water you used to clean hard hat to clean your glasses. Clean them as many times a day as necessary.
  • Are there any cracks, scratches or broken parts? There are, don't just duct tape them. This isn't a safe repair. If your glasses are broken, cracked or scratched, you need a new pair.
Hearing Protection
You need to protect your ears and hearing at work but dirty or damaged ear PPE could damage your ears more.
That's why you mustn't use:
  • One-use ear plugs more than once. Throw used ear plugs away. If you use ear muffs, clean them regularly with warm soapy water. Dirt and oil collect on your ear plugs or muffs and reduce their fit. It will also make them less effective at protecting your ears.
Hand Protection
Hand protection is an important part of PPE. Because you work with your hands you have to make sure they won't get hurt.
That's why you must:
  • Use the right kind of glove that fits properly for the work you're doing. This is important because there are as many different types of gloves as there are jobs and risks.
  • Always make sure your gloves are in good condition and don't have any tears. If there are tears and holes, take them to your supervisor to assess. He can tell you if you need knew gloves or if you can repair the old ones.
Foot Protection
You need to look after your safety shoes on a daily basis.
  • Check the soles, laces and eyelets for wear. Also check the inside soles of your shoes. Never bend or cut any part of the shoe. If it doesn't fit, rather ask your supervisor for a pair that does.
  • Make sure yours don't have any oil or grease on it that will make them slippery.
Following these rules will not only help your employees stay safe at work, it will also make their safety gear last longer because your employees will use it properly.
To find out more about how to look after your employees' protective equipment, check out the Health and Safety Advisor.

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