Wearing Safety Equipment (PPE)

New Zealand Safety law requires us to identify and then control hazards, which may mean wearing of personal protective equipment. Having determined the only control option available is use of PPE, then it is critical employers ensure PPE is used and worn by the individuals.

Once you have determined the types of safety equipment or PPE required, then it is up to the company to educate the person why they need to use the safety equipment. This is important to get their ‘buy in’. And then train them on how to use and fit/maintain the safety equipment. According to New Zealand’s Safety law (HSE Act), you can’t just give money in a pay packet so that a person can buy their own safety equipment. You either have to supply the PPE, or if the person insists they want to use their own (might it’s more hi-tech with MP3 embedded in the ear defenders, comfortable, tailored, ‘cool’ etc), you still must ensure the PPE is up to spec and fit for purpose – and remains so.

The ideal is for the workplace culture of using safety equipment to transfer to the home. After all, if a person is injured at home it is still going to impact your business – even if that means their skills are no longer available while recovering. I heard of one Australian story which made the papers. It was the 2nd time in 2 weeks someone was admitted to a hospital with cuts to the arms. When asked how, he said he saw a neighbour cutting the hedge with the lawnmower and thought that was a good idea – and yes, they both ended up in hospital. Wearing safety equipment like boots and ear defenders may be a good idea for lawn mowing – but no safety equipment can protect the user from their own stupidity!