Safety Gear (PPE)

Safety Gear/Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Many jobs require the use of safety gear/personal protective equipment. To prevent the spread of COVID 19 increased cleaning and attention to proper fit, storage in cleaned environments is even more important.

In other settings, there will be an increased need to use additional PPE. PCBUs (Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking)/employers need to check public health advice on what is appropriate.

Remember: PPE cannot take the place of other, more effective control and preventative measures. In some settings, like health etc gloves are essential. But gloves are generally not required for general infection prevention and control and are not a substitute for hand hygiene.

When using PPE to prevent the spread or contracting COVID 19, the personal protective equipment must be:

  • clean and hygienic and in good working order;
  • suitable to minimise risks of transmission of infectious agents having regard to the nature of the
  • work and any hazard associated with the work; and
  • a suitable size and fit and reasonably comfortable for the worker who is to use or wear it; and
  • maintained, repaired or replaced so that it continues to minimise risk to the worker who uses it.

Note: The use of PPE may create additional hazards and risks that need to be considered and controlled.
For information about RPE for COVID 19 click here

Workers who use the PPE must be given with information, training and instruction in the proper use and wearing of personal protective equipment, and the storage and maintenance of personal protective equipment.

Some simple questions are – note, these apply to all PPE :

  • Has the correct PPE been identified based on the hazard and worker work activity?
  • Are workers trained in the correct fitting, use, removal, cleaning, storing and disposal of PPE? Remember: if the PPE doesn’t fit it doesn’t protect the worker.
  • Is there a sufficient supply of relevant PPE required to allow a safe return to work?
  • Has the PCBU/employer identified, selected and sourced the PPE needed and arranged enough supplies of it?
  • What are the arrangements for the cleaning, inspection, maintenance and disposal of PPE, where appropriate?
  • Have workers been given information and instruction about all of the above?

NOTE: Respiratory protection (face masks) is an effective control at preventing transmission of COVID-19. There are a range of masks that should be considered based on the risks associated with the work. This could include using N95 respirators for those who may be in contact with known or suspected COVID positive people. These masks should be appropriately tested and fitted to the worker.

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