Five rules to make your PPE last longer and cut your health and safety costs

Ashley Churchyard, Fsp Business, 27 Jan. 2015

Tags: ppe, personal protective equipment, ppe rules, how to look after ppe, ppe expenses

How often do you replace your employees’ personal protective equipment (PPE)? Every three years? Once a year? Twice a year? Every few months?

Because PPE costs so much, replacing it more than once a year becomes a serious expense.

That’s why you need to implement these five rules for looking after PPE. They will make it last longer and help you reduce your PPE expenses…

Make your employees’ PPE last longer with these five rules

 According to if you don’t manage your PPE and take care of it:
·         Your employees could lose the only barrier between them and the workplace hazards that can injure, maim, or kill.
·         It’s likely to wear thin or break.
·         Won’t be in good condition and won’t properly protect employees from hazards.
That’s why you need to implement a system to look after your PPE, starting with these five rules:
Rule 1: If employees take PPE off during the day, they must keep it on them, or place it safely on a table or shelf
If employees leave hats and gloves lying around on the floor, others will probably kick them and walk all over them.
Employees must keep their safety gear in a place where it won’t be in anyone’s way.
Leaving PPE lying around can also create a safety risk and accidents. This rule is also important to keep your accident rate down.
Rule 2: Employees must use their safety equipment properly
If your employee wears his hard hat backwards, for example, it will stretch the support structures inside the hat. This means it won’t fit his head properly which can lead to other accidents and injuries.
You’ll need to replace this hat sooner because it won’t be effective anymore.
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Your 1 527 health and safety duties as an employer
When was the last time you checked what disinfecting agents and cleaning materials your company uses?
Do you comply with the Hazardous Chemical Regulations?
There are over 1 500 items you must evaluate in your workplace according to the OHS Act and hundreds more from SABS 0400: National Building regulations.
Health and safety laws apply to EVERY company, if you have more than 20 employees you have even greater obligations.
Rule 3: Employees must put their PPE in their storage lockers at the end of the day
If employees leave all their PPE just lying in a corner it’s more likely to end up broken. Especially since employees might not be careful when pulling their equipment out of the pile. This means the rest of it will fall and go all over the floor.
Rule 4: Employees must make sure their protective clothing is clean
It’s every employee’s responsibility to take their PPE to the cleaning crew and ask them to wash it. They must do this at least every few weeks.
The cleaning crew must know exactly how to clean each item. For example, they must:
·         Clean hard hats regularly with warm water and soap and allow them to air dry;
·         Clean safety glasses and goggles regularly with mild soap and water’
·         Wipe earmuffs with a damp cloth, store them in a safe place and replace cushions when they lose their resilience; and
·         Clean and disinfect respirators according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Rule 5: Employees must report any visible damage in their PPE to see if thier supervisor can repair it before it gets worse
This will help you make PPE last longer by stopping a simple tear, for example, from turning into an unfixable hole.
These five rules will make it easy for your company to extend the life of its safety gear. This in turn will mean you can spend less money on replacing it which will reduce your health and safety costs.
For more advice on how to look after your employees PPE, check out the Health and Safety Advisor

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