Who is Responsible for PPE?
The Use and Care of PPE Clothing
What do industry standards say about PPE? The selection, use, and maintenance of PPEs for Electrical Arc Hazards are managed by NENS09. But who is responsible for making sure garments meet expectations – employee or employer? What are the responsibilities of the employee and employer? Continue reading to find out the laws and standards governing the use and care of PPE clothing.
NENS 09 – 2014
NENS09 – 2014 is the National Guidelines for the Selection, Use and Maintenance of Personal Protective Equipment for Electrical Arc Hazards.
The NENS09 - 2014 Guidelines set out a step-by-step process that can be used to accurately assess whether PPE is required.
1. Understand what the hazard is.
2. Identify what has arc hazard potential.
3. Calculate the amount of energy expelled on each potential hazard.
4. Assess the Risk – using the risk management framework set out by your organization.
5. Select the appropriate PPE.
Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011
These regulations set out detailed requirements to support the duties outlined in the Work Health and Safety Act. Whilst not all of these provisions are legally binding in every state, checking what each State’s Work Health and Safety Act does include, is simple. It can be found HERE.
Duties of the Employer:
The regulation states that: “The person conducting a business who directs the carrying out of work must provide the personal protective equipment (PPE) to workers at the workplace unless the PPE has been provided by another person conducting a business or undertaking”. This is to ensure that all PPEs are appropriate for the potential hazards and fit the worker securely.
Duties of the Worker:
1. The worker must use or wear the equipment in accordance with any information, training, or instructions by the employer.
2. The worker must not intentionally misuse or damage the equipment.
3. The worker must inform the employer of a defect or need to clean or decontaminate any of the equipment.
Worksafe Australia highlights the legal standards that apply Australia-wide. It is an offence for an employer to charge a worker for PPE, or cause a worker to be charged. Workplace relations laws also prohibit deductions from employees’ wages for work-related items such as PPE.
Although it is acceptable to provide a worker with money to purchase their own PPE, it must be enough to cover the cost of the PPE required. However, it is still the responsibility of the employer to ensure that the PPE meet the minimum requirements set out in the Work Health and Safety legislation.
In the end, Employers are responsible. The Work Health and Safety Act holds employers legally responsible for ensuring employee PPE is worn correctly, and not in need of repair.