Using PPE helps prevent injury or death. And it's your legal obligation to give it to your employees.
But if your employees don't store or maintain their personal protective equipment properly, their PPE won't actually protect them at all.
A simple thing like cleaning their rubber gloves the wrong way increases their chance of electrocution.
Read on for three ways your employees must properly maintain and store their rubber gloves...
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Three ways for your employees to properly maintain and store their PPE
The variety of PPE available is huge, and each type has its own requirement for proper maintenance and storage. For the purpose of this article, I'm going to continue using the example of the rubber gloves.
1. Inspection and testing
Your employees must air-test their rubber gloves before each use. Or if they suspect there's damage. They must roll the gloves gently between their hands so any defects of the material will show. If they see any defects, they mustn't use the gloves until they've been electrically tested.
You should have electrical testing plans and schedules in your health and safety plan. This is the best way to monitor when the gloves are due for another test.
Base the schedule from the date of issue of the gloves (which you also need to record in your PPE issuing register) and test every six months.
There are instances where some employees don't need gloves for their job, and therefore don't use them often. In these instances, if the gloves haven't gone through electrical testing within the previous 12 months, and haven't been used either, employees mustn't use them! They must get re-tested and confirm the testing date by the stamp on the gloves.
Read on for the correct maintenance and storage of rubber gloves...
3 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 proper cleaning and storage of rubber gloves
It's safe for employees to wash their gloves by hand or in a washing machine. The key is to use mild soap and never wash them in anything with bleach. After washing, they must rinse the gloves in clear water. This type of PPE must never be put in a tumble dryer!
If the gloves come into contact with oil or any petroleum-based product, your employees can only clean them with a manufacturer approved liquid cleaner. They can then wipe them with a clean, dry cloth.
Your employees must store their rubber gloves in a cool, dark area. Far away from steam pipes, radiators or any other source of heat.
Employees must never store their gloves in the same room where there's electrical testing because it will change the consistency of the protective elements of the gloves.
If they store them inside boxes or tool bags, they mustn't place anything on top of them that will distort the shape. They also mustn't wear or store their gloves inside-out. Another important point when it comes to storage is not to leave the leather protector glove inside the rubber glove.
For more steps on how to manage all your company's PPE, get the Health and Safety Advisor