Personal protective equipment
If a hazard can’t be eliminated or isolated then you must provide suitable safety gear where necessary to keep employees safe.
What you must do
- Provide any necessary safety gear free of charge and keep it conveniently close to where it is needed.
- Check with the safety gear supplier that the equipment meets a recognised safety standard and is fit for the purpose.
- Give training and instruction to employees on the equipment you require them to use.
- Make sure employees actually use the safety gear. They need to understand it is not optional.
- Regularly check that safety gear is being used, is effective and is properly maintained.
- If there’s a risk to employee’s health, talk to staff and get them to agree to regular check ups to ensure the safety gear is doing its job.
What you could do
- Involve employees by consulting with them on the choice and suitability of the equipment. They are more likely to use it if they choose it.
- Lead by example and use the gear yourself; this will encourage employees to do the same.
- Store safety gear in an unlocked cupboard or space right beside the area where you require it to be used. Staff may take unnecessary risks if they can’t quickly get their hands on the gear.
- Make sure employment agreements include a clause on wearing protective equipment. You can adapt the sample clause in Getting staff to wear safety gear.
- Never assume that you only need to show staff once how and when to use safety gear. Regularly get someone to check all the gear, see if there is anything new on the market and offer refresher training.
- You can’t pay an allowance to an employee instead of providing protective gear. It is your responsibility to provide the right protective equipment and make sure it is being used.