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Use these six dos and don'ts to extend the life of your personal protection equipment

by , 22 January 2013
Warning: If your employee's personal protection equipment(PPE) isn't in great condition, the Department of Labour can shut your company down! Butkitting your employees out with special overalls, ear plugs, safety goggles and work boots because they don't look after them is expensive. That stops today. Use these seven tips to extend the life of your employee's PPE and ensure they're compliant with health and safety regulations.

Personal protective equipment is an article of clothing or accessory that, when used correctly, creates a barrier between a person and the health hazard they're exposed to. Wearing and using PPE correctly ensures the health and safety of your employees. 
 
And this doesn't just apply to your employees, reminds Tinus Boshoff of The South African Labour Guide. You also need to have PPE on site for any short-term contractors or visitors who enter your workplace. 
 
But having the right PPE can cost you a fortune. That's why The Health and Safety Bulletin suggest you use these simple dos and don'ts to extend the life of your company's PPE…
 
Follow these six dos and don'ts to ensure your PPE lasts
 
Do:
1. Make sure your company provides cleaning facilities for your employees' PPE – this includes special laundering facilities to ensure contaminated clothing is washed in accordance with health and safety regulations. 
2. Provide on- or off-site sanitation facilities for any shared PPE items like safety boots used for short-term contractors and visitors to your company. 
3. Train staff to inspect their PPE on a regular basis and report any wear and tear that could put them at risk of workplace health hazards. 
 
Don't:
1. Don't let employees change into their PPE in toilets or store rooms. According to health and safety regulations, you must provide employees with two lockers – one for their personal clothes and one for their PPE. 
2. Issue only one set of PPE to each employee – you need to provide a replacement set to ensure correct cleaning procedures are adhered to. 
4. Don't let them hang their dust masks on a work bench or throw their hearing protection devices in their tool box at the end of the day. You must provide storage units for your employees' PPE.
 
And don't forget this one final do from The Health and Safety Bulletin: Do pass this information on to your employees. It's no good knowing how to extend your PPE's lifespan if you don't share it with those who use PPE every day. 

Get your sample templates for PPE and more in the Health and Safety Training Manual
 

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