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Use this guide to give your employees risk-specific PPE and avoid a R25 000 penalty from the DoL

by , 23 January 2015
The OHS Act says you must give your employees personal protective equipment (PPE). And that PPE must be specific to the risks your employees face at work.

If it isn't and the DoL comes to inspect your workplace, you could face a R25 000 fine.

Why take that chance when it's so easy to make sure your employees' PPE protects them from their work risks?

Just follow this simple guide to determine exactly what PPE your employees need....


Give your employees risk-specific PPE by following this simple guide

The first step in this process is to do a risk assessment. A risk assessment will help you pinpoint exactly what risks and hazards your employees face.
This information is crucial because if you don't know what the risks are, how can you make your PPE risk specific?
If you're not sure how to do a risk assessment, check out the Risk Assessment Toolkit. It contains everything you need to know. 
During the risk assessment, you need to look out for certain types of hazards and risks such as:
- Chemical hazards;
- Mechanical hazards;
- Falling hazards;
- General work environment hazards;
- Hazardous material hazards; 
- Heat or fire hazards; and
- Electrical hazards.
The PPE you give your employees will depend on the hazards you identified. 
Here's the type of PPE you must give your employees, depending on the hazards and risks you spot.

Give your employees this risk-specific PPE depending on the risks you identify

Chemical hazards
If there are chemical hazards in your workplace give your employees:
- Safety goggles, 
- Thick rubber gloves, and 
- Respirators.  
This safety gear's important because chemicals can burn your employees and fumes can damage their eyes and lungs.
Mechanical hazards
If your employees have to work with machines, give them:
- Gloves with steal mesh linings, 
- Hard hats, 
- Shatterproof safety glass; and
- Safety shoes.
This protects your employees from any heat, sparks or unguarded moving parts on the machine. 
Falling hazards
If your employees have to work at heights, it's a falling hazard. To protect them from this, give them:
- Fall protection harnesses; and
- Safety shoes with rubber soles.
The harness must attach to a guard rail to stop them falling off a raised platform and the shoes will stop them slipping.
General work environment hazards
These hazards include objects falling from heights, slippery floors and work vehicles. To protect your employees from these general hazards give them:
- Hard hats;
- Safety shoes with rubber soles;
- Reflective jackets;
- Leather safety gloves;
- Safety glasses; and
- Overalls.
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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? 
Hazardous material hazards
If your employees work with materials such as asbestos or silicon it can make them very sick. To protect them, give them:
- Rubber gloves;
- Respirators; and
- Safety goggles.
Heat and fire hazards
If your employees work with machinery that gets hot or work with or need an open flame they need:
- Heat- and fire-proof suits;
- Reflective safety glasses; and
- Heat- and fire-proof gloves.
Electrical work is very dangerous. Give your employees the right PPE to protect them. Such as:
- Thick gloves that don't conduct electricity;
- Safety shoes with rubber soles;
- Safety glasses in case of sparks; and
- Fire-proof overalls.
Give your employees the right protective equipment to fit their work risks with this easy guide.
To find out more about how to choose the right PPE for your employees, check out the Health and Safety Advisor.


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