Personal protective equipment instruction

Instruction statement

To provide staff, students, visitors and contractors with the relevant information on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

This instruction covers the requirements associated with the selection, introduction, maintenance, training and use of PPE used to protect individuals from actual, or potential, safety or health risks including eye protection, hand protection, head protection, footwear, breathing equipment, hearing protection and full body protection. This instruction applies to all staff, students, contractors and visitors.

Exclusions

None

Instruction steps and actions

The use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is the least preferred method of risk control according to the hierarchy of controls. The reason for this is that the hazard or risk has not been removed and it requires people remembering to wear protective equipment to reduce the effects of the hazard. Where PPE is required, this instruction provides information and guidance to staff, students, contractors and visitors on the use of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment and Clothing (PPE) whenever it is required and to ensure that the equipment is of the appropriate type and in good working order.

It is the responsibility of the Head of school /Head of work unit to ensure that hazards are eliminated or reduced by applying the hierarchy of controls (1, 2 and 3 see table below) first, before considering PPE as the last risk control option in the risk management process.

Hierarchy of controls

PPE shall only be used in accordance with the hierarchy of controls, i.e.

1. Eliminate

Is it possible to eliminate the hazard?

2. Reduce

Is it possible to reduce the level of risk posed by the hazard by (priority order):

  • Substitution (using less hazardous alternatives)
  • Isolation (separating the operator from the risk)
  • Engineering controls (re-designing plant or equipment)

3. Administration

Is it possible to reduce the level of risk posed by the hazard by changing operating procedures, training, supervision, providing information etc.

4. Personal Protection

Is it possible to reduce the level or risk posed by the hazard by wearing personal protective equipment and clothing?

Purchasing and selection of PPE

The selection of PPE shall take into account the specific circumstances of tasks and locations (e.g. non-slip footwear in workshops etc). It is the responsibility of the relevant Head of school /Head of work unit to ensure risk assessments are carried out on all tasks within their respective areas, to select the proper PPE to ensure that staff members are not exposed to a particular hazard. (eg. specific gloves for specific chemicals or particular respirator filter for a particular chemical exposure) and that any PPE that is purchased and/or used complies to the relevant Australian Standard/s.

Introduction of new PPE

The Head of school /Head of work unit shall ensure that consultation with employees takes place prior to the selection of a brand or type of PPE. The choice of PPE shall take into account any special requirements relating to comfort, fit and effectiveness. Where possible, trials of PPE should take place.

Use of PPE

The Head of School/Work unit manager shall ensure that all risks are identified and assessed for each task and/or each area and subsequent work instructions, which define all relevant PPE requirements, are prepared and documented and made available to all personnel. The work instruction or Safety Data Sheet should specify exactly the type of PPE required e.g. exactly which type of gloves should be used for different types of chemicals.

It is the responsibility of the Head of school /Head of work unit to ensure where any changes or modifications to process, working conditions, materials used, technology, an assessment is undertaken and the PPE requirements reviewed if necessary

The Head of school /Head of work unit shall ensure that all personnel and visitors within their area adhere to all defined PPE requirements and taken appropriate action where non-compliance is evident.

RMIT staff, students, contractors and visitors are required to use PPE as determined by a risk assessment and safe work instructions.

Training, inspection, maintenance and storage

Head of school /Head of work unit shall ensure that PPE is regularly inspected as per the Workplace Inspection instruction and ensure that any PPE that is damaged, broken or worn out is replaced. Where required PPE shall be tested and records maintained. Adequate storage facilities should be in place to enable safe storage of PPE, which prevents damage and deterioration. Personnel should not use PPE, which is not in good order.

With respect to PPE, Head of school /Head of work unit are responsible for ensuring that all Staff are trained in:

  • When and where PPE is required to be worn;
  • What PPE is required;
  • Correct fit and use;
  • Care and maintenance;
  • Inspection and identification of faults;
  • Storage requirements.

After the training, staff should demonstrate that they understand the components of the PPE Program and how to use PPE properly, or they should be retrained.

Summary of responsibilities

Head of school /Head of work unit

  • Ensure all PPE purchased and/or used complies with all relevant Australian Standards.
  • Ensure the hierarchy of controls is utilised to control identified hazards;
  • Ensure risk assessments are carried out on tasks and areas to determine PPE requirements;
  • Ensure that consultation with staff takes place prior to the selection of a brand or type of PPE;
  • Providing appropriate PPE;
  • Ensure staff, contractors and students are trained as outlined in this instruction;
  • Ensure staff, contractors and students in their relevant area adhere to all defined PPE requirements;
  • Ensure that PPE is regularly inspected and replaced when necessary; and
  • Maintain PPE records within School /Work unit.

Personal Protective Equipment examples and associated signage

Examples of signage

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