PPE Audits & Training On Use, Care & Maintenance Of PPE

Introduction

In a bid to comply with legislation and reduce health and safety risks at the workplace, PPE use must always be regarded as a ‘last resort’ to protect workers against risks to safety and health. Engineering controls and safe systems of work should always be considered first where elimination or substitution of the hazards/risks is not practical. For example, when welding and grinding activities are being carried out, fixed screens could be provided as well as individual eye protection, to prevent injuries to other employees working in the vicinity.

We believe that the correct levels of personal protection can be difficult to achieve and the actual level of protection is somehow difficult to assess. It is in this vein that effective protection can only be achieved by selecting suitable, right fitting and comfortable PPE, ensuring that it is correctly fitted, maintained, and used appropriately for the required task.

Poorly selected PPE can restrict the wearer by limiting mobility or visibility when carrying out certain tasks, thus creating possible additional hazards. Management, SHE professionals, supervisors and the procurement team should work in tandem to make sure the correct PPE for the job is always provided to employees.

When is PPE necessary?

PPE is necessary when employees are exposed to a hazard that cannot be eliminated or controlled in any other way. Although PPE is another way to control a hazard, it is only a barrier between the hazard and the worker. When PPE does not properly fit a worker, or the worker does not use it correctly, the worker risks exposure.

Before purchasing PPE, one should know what hazards it protects against and be sure it fits the person using it. If you are unsure, ask for assistance from someone knowledgeable with the type of PPE you need — especially when you are selecting respirators or chemical-protective clothing.

Always train employees how to wear, use, and maintain their PPE before they use it the first time. Training must also include the types of PPE that are necessary and the limitations of the PPE.

Why invest in a PPE hazard assessment?

Here are some of the reasons:

  • It is a wise thing to do!
  • A hazard assessment will help an organisation identify and communicate hazards at the workplace.
  • A hazard assessment will help management determine what personal protective equipment employees need for effective protection and therefore come up with robust PPE matrices.

PPE Audits (Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment)

Consider each employee’s task, the likelihood that the employee would be injured without PPE, and the severity of a potential injury.

The correct, effective, and systematic identification of hazards is the first step towards a robust risk management program. If hazards are identified correctly and the inherent risks properly assessed, then proper and effective controls can thus be implemented.

Our PPE hazard assessment program covers the following:

  • The jobs (or tasks) that employees do.
  • The hazards employees are exposed to.
  • Where the hazards are located.
  • The likelihood that those hazards could injure employees.
  • The severity of a potential injury.
  • The types of PPE necessary to protect employees from those hazards.