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Tips for Buying the Protective Clothing Your Workers Need

By: Grant King, IndustrySearch Writer
08 October, 2015

Protective work wear, otherwise known as personal protective equipment or PPE is anything worn by workers to protect them from work-related hazards.

It should also be worn by contractors and visitors. As an employer operating a potentially hazardous workplace you are obligated to provide appropriate safety clothing and equipment. Here are a few tips to help you do that.

PPE is a last resort

Yes, that does sound odd, but essentially what it means is that safety gear is not to be viewed as the answer. First you need to analyse the workplace itself and do whatever is necessary to minimise risks.

Safety gear is only designed to supplement these precautions, not replace them.

Types of PPE

Other personal protective equipment - disposable clothing for working with chemicals, radiation hazards, welding, painting.

Choosing the right PPE

This can be tricky as your workforce comes in all shapes and sizes, and PPE generally doesn't. In fact, it can be downright uncomfortable and cumbersome. The best advice is this: when a worker complains of ill-fitting PPE, find a better fit fast. 

While your workers are obliged by law to wear it, comfort can be a very tempting thing when the wrong eyes aren't watching.

Make sure your PPE complies

All safety equipment must comply with current Australian Standards. So check to make sure it's stamped or labelled with an AS compliance marking.

If you're not sure about your PPE choices and their compliance, seek professional advice on the right gear for your circumstances.

Reassess regularly

Workplaces change, circumstances change, and so do risks. So make sure you re-evaluate the dangers on a regular basis to make sure your safety equipment still complies. For a detailed rundown on your obligations, see Section 19 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.

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