Don’t Make the Mistake of Ignoring PPE Laws
Choosing a uniform for your staff isn’t always just about what looks good. Safety plays a huge part in uniform considerations, so don’t forget as employers you have an obligation to protect your staff and follow PPE policy and laws at all times.
So what is PPE?
Personal Protective Equipment (also known as PPE) is clothing and equipment designed to prevent workers from hazards when on a worksite. Worksites can be filled with hazards, and where a significant hazard cannot be isolated or eliminated, it is an employer’s obligation to take steps to minimise the risk of someone being harmed by it. Providing PPE is one of the main steps to minimising this risk. So what are the laws, and why are they important?
When must PPE be provided?
The Health and Safety Act (Section 10(2)(b)) states that ‘employers are to provide, make accessible to, and ensure the use by its employees of suitable clothing and equipment to protect them from any harm that may be caused by or may arise out of the hazard.’ Basically anytime a hazardous situation can’t be avoided, adequate protective gear must be provided. If employers fail to do so they can be fined and prosecuted, even if no-one has suffered harm.
For example, a common question is do employers have to supply safety boots in NZ? If the workers are in a hazardous situation, employers must adhere to NZ safety footwear regulations, and failure to do so could result in fines, dismissal and court action.
How many types of PPE are there?
There are four main types of Personal Protective Equipment standards to consider. What is required depends on the situation in the workplace, but it is important to make sure all bases are covered.
- Face – hard hat, safety glasses, goggles, face shields, earplugs, earmuffs
- Respiratory – masks, respirators, cartridge filters.
- Body – overalls, safety harness, high-visibility clothing, gloves, steel-capped boots
- Safety – harnesses, roof edge barriers, high-visibility vest and jackets.
Who is responsible for providing PPE?
Under the Health & Safety Act, it is the employer’s obligation to provide gear that reaches the PPE Standards NZ. Employers must make sure the PPE is right for the work the employees are doing, fits well and works correctly. Employers cannot pay extra money instead of providing the equipment or make employees provide their own equipment. Employees are able to provide their own gear if THEY wish, but this must be the employees own choice. If at any time an employee wishes to stop providing their own PPE gear that is totally acceptable, they just must give their employers adequate notice.
Where can you buy PPE approved equipment?
Here at Arrow Uniforms, our uniforms are all made to satisfy and exceed the worksafe PPE requirements. Our staff are knowledgeable about the PPE process and can help you create a safe, yet stylish work uniform for your staff. Remember, using a uniform not only helps the safety of your staff but can help create a slick, matching, professional-looking team. The image you present for your company can help make you more hirable and desirable. So book a consultation now and together we can make sure your staff are well dressed and following all PPE laws!