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One rule you must follow when giving your employees PPE

by , 27 November 2014
You need to do a risk assessment to identify the hazards in your workplace. Then you need to give your employees personal protective equipment (PPE) where you can see it will help reduce the likelihood of a workplace accident and injury.

But here's the thing, you can't just give your employees PPE. There's one very important rule you have to follow first.

Read on to find out what it is so you can ensure you give your employees the best protection possible...

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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? 

The one rule you must follow when it comes to PPE health and safety regulations 

The one rule you need to remember, according to labourguide.co.za, is that PPE is a last resort. After all, PPE doesn't remove the hazard, it just offers your employees protection against it. 
That's why your first response must be to use engineering controls, administrative controls or good work practices to try remove the hazard first. 
There are several reasons for this rule:
PPE only protects the person wearing it, but safety measures control the risk at the source and, therefore, protect everyone in the workplace.
It's difficult to achieve maximum levels of protection with only PPE and the actual level of protection is difficult to assess. You can only achieve effective protection by selecting suitable PPE and ensuring your employees correctly fit, maintain and use it.
PPE may restrict your employees' movement or vision to some extent. It may also add additional weight your employee must carry, thus increasing the health risk.
Basically, you have to do everything you can first to remove the hazard and, only once you've done everything, can you resort to PPE as a means of protection. 
But when you take this step you have to ensure the PPE you give your employees meets the right standard.
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Two things you must check to ensure your PPE meets the right standard

Tinus Boshoff, the health and safety director on labourguide.co.za, says you have to ensure you give your employees the right type and grade of PPE by checking:
The degree of protection you need to give your employees; and
The suitability of the equipment to the situation (including the practicality of the equipment your employees use).
Once you determine these two things, you can choose the right kind of PPE for the job. This will ensure the PPE gives your employee the maximum amount of protection possible. 
Just remember to keep in mind:
- The type of risk you're protecting your employees from;
- The impact of the PPE (is it heavy and, therefore, increases the danger to your employee?); and
- Other preventative measures you have in place and how they work with the PPE.
Only once you've done all this can you issue your employees with PPE.
For more information on issuing your employees with PPE that meets the OHSA's standards and regulations, check out the Health and Safety Advisor

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