Clothing and Protective Equipment Procedure

Document Number000933
Date Approved7 February 2011
Date Last Amended27 November 2012
     

 

1.  Introduction

The University shall, as far as practicable, minimise the risk from hazards in the workplace.  In essence, risk control is conducted according to the hierarchy of controls:

  1. Elimination
  2. Substitution
  3. Isolation
  4. Engineering Controls
  5. Administrative Controls
  6. Personal Protective Equipment 

As shown above, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is the least preferred control measure because the hazards and risks remain.  There is also the issue of effectiveness in relation to proper fit and design for different individuals. PPE can sometimes be awkward, uncomfortable and limiting, which may make workers less likely to use such equipment. PPE can, however, complement other control measures thereby increasing personal protection. 

2.  Scope

This procedure outlines the requirements and practices for the management of PPE to assist with the correct selection, supply, use, replacement, maintenance, training and storage.  In this procedure, reference to clothing includes footwear. 

This procedure applies to all University staff and other workers, students and visitors irrespective of their work, study or placement location.

3.  Definitions

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) means safety clothing, including footwear, or equipment for specified circumstances or areas, where the nature of the work involved or the conditions under which people are working, requires its wearing or use for personal protection to minimise risk of harm.

4.  Responsibilities

A detailed list of Health and Safety responsibilities for staff and other workers, students and visitors is provided in the University of Newcastle Health and Safety Responsibility Matrix. Responsibilities for PPE are as follows.  

4.1       Head of School or Administrative Unit

The head of each school or administrative unit is to:

  • provide and make financial allocation for appropriate PPE to staff and where required, other workers, students and visitors;
  • ensure adequate training and supervision is available at all times where staff and other workers, students and visitors are required to use PPE;
  • ensure procedures are adopted for the cleaning and maintenance of all PPE purchased by the school or administrative unit;
  • communicate the requirements for staff and other workers, students and visitors to utilise PPE and follow Safe Work Method Statements and procedures as and when required;
  • ensure that clear and appropriate signs are positioned in locations where PPE must be worn;
  • ensure staff who undertake teaching inform the requirements for, and monitor the use of, appropriate PPE by students under their supervision;
  • ensure that the school or administrative unit identifies the PPE, the location, and the types of activities in which students will require personal protection. Students shall be informed of this through the enrolment procedures eg. course outlines and course orientation.

4.2       Supervisors of staff and other workers, students and visitors

Supervisors of staff and other workers, students and visitors in University workplaces must ensure they communicate and enforce requirements for students, staff, and other workers and visitors to utilise PPE and follow Safe Work Method Statements and/or standard operating procedures when required.  

It should be noted that the minimum requirements for PPE in a University laboratory are  laboratory clothing (lab gown), protective eyewear (safety glasses), and closed shoes unless lesser requirements can be justified by a risk assessment as outlined in Australian Standard AS/NZS 2243.1:2005.

4.3       Managers/supervisors of contractors

Any person managing or supervising contractors is required to ensure the contractors provide their employees with PPE that conforms to the relevant standard.

4.4       Staff and other workers, students and visitors

Staff and other workers, students and visitors:

  • are not permitted to use University facilities or University equipment or to enter University buildings unless they are wearing the appropriate PPE if required to do so
  •  must follow any reasonable direction issued by the appropriate persons, with regard to what constitutes, for the purpose of the activity, appropriate clothing and personal protective equipment.

A member of staff, a student or a visitor may seek the review of a direction to wear appropriate PPE.

The direction may, on request, be reviewed by the Head of School or the administrative unit in consultation with the Health and Safety Team.

The direction is presumed to be reasonable and is to be followed until it is reviewed and any alternative direction confirmed.

The decision of the Head of School or the administrative unit in accordance with this procedure, is a reasonable and lawful direction.

4.5       Health and Safety Team

To assist schools and administrative units in the implementation of these guidelines, the Health and Safety Team (H&S Team) can advise on the type of PPE available and, in conjunction with the school or administrative unit, provide assistance with training.

5.  General Requirements

Appropriate PPE shall be provided to staff, and at the discretion of the head of the school or administrative unit, to students. The provision of PPE to other workers and visitors will be assessed and considered on a case by case basis.

Staff and other workers, students and visitors shall receive appropriate training in the use of PPE.

Heads of schools or administrative units shall provide supervision to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that the appropriate equipment and clothing is being used in the manner required.

Staff and other workers, students and visitors shall use PPE for the purpose intended and in the manner required by the University, and shall immediately inform their supervisor of any defects or deficiencies of which they become aware in PPE provided.

All PPE provided by the University shall comply with current legal requirements, and where appropriate, the relevant Australian Standard.

5.1       Selection

The selection of  appropriate PPE for a task must be based on a risk assessment. The decision making process can be supported by other sources of information including: 

  • designers, manufacturers or suppliers of PPE, who can give advice on the specifications and appropriate use of their products;
  • Australian Standards;
  • Safety Data Sheets;
  • safe work procedures (safe work methods statements/job safety analyses).
  1. PPE will be required to be provided and worn include:
  1. head contact with electrical hazards. Head protection must comply with Australian Standards AS/NZS 1800:1998 Occupational protective helmets – Selection, care and use and AS/NZS 1801:1997 Occupational protective helmets.
  2. shall be provided and worn where a risk of eye injury exists. Typical hazards might include flying particles, dust, splashing substances, harmful gases, vapours, aerosols, and high intensity radiation from welding operations. Eye protection can include safety glasses, safety goggles or face shields. Safety glasses must be worn in all University laboratories unless lesser requirements can be justified by a risk assessment as outlined in Australian Standard AS/NZS 2243.1: Safety in laboratories – Planning and operational aspects.  All safety eye wear MUST comply with Australian Standards AS/NZS 1336:1997 Recommended practices for occupational eye protection, AS/NZS 1337.1:2007 Personal eye protection – Eye and face protectors for occupational applications and AS/NZS 1338.1,2,3:2012 Filters for eye protection, and the eye equipment must be appropriately stamped with the correct Australian Standard code.
  3. shall be provided and worn where a risk of noise induced hearing loss exists. The need for hearing protection shall be assessed via conducting noise surveys in potential noise hazard areas. Hearing protection can include ear plugs or ear muffs and must comply with Australian Standard AS/NZS 1269.3:2005 Occupational noise management – Hearing protector program.
  4. shall be provided and worn if a risk of exposure to an atmosphere that is or may be injurious to health exists. All respiratory protection use requires appropriate training. Some respiration protection equipment requires regular testing and certification. Respiratory protection must comply with Australian Standards AS/NZS 1715:2009 Selection, use and maintenance of respiratory protective equipment and AS/NZS 1716:2002 Respiratory protective devices.
  5. shall be provided for staff members, students and other workers or visitors who are required to work outdoors and are exposed to the sun's rays for continuous periods. Direct exposure of the skin to UV radiation from outdoor work shall be minimised by providing hats, long sleeves/trousers and an adequate supply of sunscreen.
  6. shall be provided for staff members, students and other workers or visitors working in or visiting laboratories. Laboratory coats may be provided to students at the discretion of the school. Laboratory gowns or buttoned lab coats are required to be worn in all University laboratories unless lesser requirements can be justified by a risk assessment as outlined in Australian Standard AS/NZS 2243.1: Safety in laboratories – Planning and operational aspects. 
  7. shall be provided and worn where there is an identified hazard associated with a potential for hand injury. Careful selection is required to ensure glove type is suitable, and should comply with Australian Standard AS/NZS 2161.1:2000 Occupational protective gloves – Selection, use and maintenance.
  8. (safety footwear) shall be provided and worn where a risk of harm to feet exists.  This may apply particularly to workshop, maintenance, or gardening staff. Protective footwear must comply with Australian Standard AS/NZS 2210.1:2010 Safety, protective and occupational footwear – Guide to selection, care and use.  Enclosed shoes must be worn in all University laboratories unless lesser requirements can be justified by a risk assessment as outlined in Australian Standard AS/NZS 2243.1: Safety in laboratories – Planning and operational aspects.  High visibility safety vests shall be provided and worn where risk of injury associated with working on or near roadways or near moving traffic or moving plant exists.
  9. shall be provided and worn where risk of facial injury associated with a task exists. Face protection must comply with Australian Standard AS/NZS 1337.1:2007 Personal eye protection – Eye and face protectors for occupational applications.
  10. shall be provided and worn where part of the approved Standard Operating Procedure(s) for equipment.  The use of protective lead aprons should occur in consultation with the University Radiation safety Advisor.
  11. shall be provided in accordance with safe working at heights guidelines. Refer to: http://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/formspublications/publications/pages/managing-risk-falls-workplaces-code-of-practice.aspx
  12. shall be provided for staff where a risk assessment has identified that there is a risk of personal harm due to the activity they are performing.  

5.2.1. Funding of Cost of PPE and Protective Clothing

  1. PPE required in the workplace for staff will be provided by the University, with costs to be met by the relevant Faculty, School, Division, or work area. If staff identify need for PPE, they should discuss this with their supervisor in the first instance.
  2. Generally, the responsibility for meeting the cost of PPE for students lies with the student, unless the PPE is identified as being provided by the University as part of the research or teaching activity. This will be at the discretion of the relevant Head of School or Pro-Vice Chancellor.

5.3       Use

Any PPE provided for use must be appropriate for the user and control the risk.

PPE must be kept in a clean and hygienic condition for the user.   PPE must not be shared between users unless it is deemed to be clean.

Any PPE used must be stored and located in a place such that it remains clean and does not deteriorate.  Any storage areas used for protective clothing and equipment must be clearly identified.

The essential supporting documents listed below, provide further instruction concerning PPE requirements for specific activities/facilities.  

5.4       Maintenance

There must be adequate maintenance of PPE to ensure it controls the risk. Maintenance must include inspection before each use to determine if the equipment will work as intended.  Where PPE is damaged such that it may not provide the necessary protection, it should be either repaired or disposed of appropriately and replaced.

5.5       Training

Training must be provided on the correct use, maintenance, storage and limitations of PPE. 

6.  Review

In order to ensure this procedure remains current, it will be reviewed regularly by the Health and Safety Team and other relevant stakeholders.  Conditions which might warrant a review of the procedure include:

  • an injury or near miss resulting from failure associated with PPE;
  • incidents related to PPE;
  • changes to legislation, Australian Standards, or Codes of Practice;
  • staff or student or other workers or visitors concerns.

Following completion of any review, the procedure will be revised and, if necessary, updated in order to correct any deficiencies.  

7.  Essential Supporting Documents

Laboratory Safety Guidelines 000753

Radiation Safety Manual

Managing Health and Safety Risk

Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S): Induction Procedure for Students 000921

Work Health and Safety Policy 000972

University of Newcastle Health and Safety Responsibility Matrix

8.  Related Documents

Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (see Workcover link)

Work Health and Safety Act 2011 – Regulations and Codes of Practice (see Workcover link)

Workcover link - http://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/newlegislation2012/Pages/default.aspx

Australian Standard AS/NZS 1269.3:2005 : Occupational noise management - Hearing protector program

Australian Standard AS/NZS 1336:1997 : Recommended practices for occupational eye protection

Australian Standard AS/NZS 1337.1:2007 : Personal eye protection - Eye and face protectors for occupational applications

Australian Standard AS/NZS1338.1,2,3:2012 : Filters for eye protection

Australian Standard AS/NZS 1715:2009 :  Selection, use and maintenance of respiratory protective equipment

Australian Standard AS/NZS 1716:2012 : Respiratory protective devices

Australian Standard AS/NZS 1800:1998: Occupational protective helmets - Selection, care and use

Australian Standard AS/NZS 1801:1997: Occupational protective helmets

Australian Standard AS/NZS 2161.1:2000 : Occupational protective gloves – Selection, use and maintenance

Australian Standard AS/NZS 2210.1:2010 : Safety, protective and occupational footwear - Guide to selection, care and use

Australian Standard AS/NZS 2243.1: Safety in laboratories - Planning and operational aspects

Ansell guide to glove selection – available via weblink: http://www.ansellchemsafe.com/Content.aspx?topicID=189

 

Approval AuthorityDirector, Human Resource Services
Date Approved7 February 2011
Date Last Amended27 November 2012
Date for Review27 November 2015
Policy SponsorDirector, Human Resource Services
Policy OwnerAssociate Director, Health and Safety
Policy ContactSenior Safety Officer, Health and Safety
Amendment History

Minor amendments in Clauses 5.1 and 8. Related Documents, The Secretariat, 22 March 2013.

Major amendments approved Acting Director, Human Resource Services, 27 November 2012.

Minor amendment to update OHS Act to Work Health and Safety Act 2011, Governance and Policy, 29 May 2012.