Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is an important part of your safety at work. It includes anything you wear to minimise the risks to your health and safety. 

Where health and safety risks exist in the workplace, it is your employer's responsibility to implement control measures to keep you safe. PPE is considered a last resort control measure where there is no other way to eliminate risks. When PPE is necessary in the workplace, it must always be provided by your boss.

What kind of PPE do I need?

The PPE provided to you must be suitable for the workplace and the hazards. It is also important to note that your PPE must be a suitable size and fit for you and it must be clean, hygienic and in good working condition. 

Your employer should consult with you as to when deciding what PPE to introduce into your workplace. 

Do I have any responsibilities regarding my PPE?

While it is your boss' responsibility to provide you with the appropriate PPE, it is your responsibility to wear it. It is also your responsibility to not purposefully damage any PPE and to inform your employer of any defect in your PPE when you become aware of it.

Scenario

Jess is an apprentice carpenter working on a big construction site. Her boss ordered everyone their necessary PPE including hard hats, gloves and high visibility clothing. Because there are so many workers on Jess' work site, her boss decided to place a big order of 'one size fits all' PPE. When it arrives Jess discovers that her PPE is way too big. Instead of buying Jess some new PPE in her size, her boss tells her to use the gear she's got. 

This is not okay. Jess' boss must provide her with the appropriate PPE in her size and fit.

What do I do if I think I am not getting what I am entitled to?If you have a question about your entitlements, get in touch with us. We can give you advice about what your entitlements are, and help you decide what to do. We can also direct you to other people who can help.   

To find out more about how to join your union, visit http://www.unionsact.org.au/joinyourunion/ or have a look at our fact sheet here

Authorised M Harrison for UnionsACT, 11 London Circuit, Canberra ACT 2601.

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