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One of the key responsibilities of an employer is to ensure that employees are wearing their required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).  It is well known that PPE is one of the most important preventive measures, but special attention needs to taken to ensure that employees wear it whenever necessary and do not get complacent.

Recently a man was ordered to pay out nearly $350,000 after an employee was injured while using sharp knives without any protective gloves.  The court found Kemp Meats Pty Ltd  in breach of its duty of care to the injured butcher.

In 2010 the worker was removing the stomach of a pig when the knife struck bone, causing it to shift and cut his left thumb and severing his extensor tendon.  The worker was not wearing protective gloves when the injury occurred.  The butcher filed a claim and it was revealed that gloves were not mandatory until after the injury occurred.

It was reported in court that some employees are resistant to using them as they reportedly interfered with efficiency and created greater difficulties when trying to grip slippery meat.

The court found that it was the employer’s responsibility to ensure that employees are provided with cut-resistant gloves and wear them at all required times. 

The following PPE guidlines should be considered.

PPE is only a temporary protector against workplace hazards. All use of PPE is depended on the work environment/conditions/ and tasks required.

Every type of PPE has its own specific use and was designed for industry specific hazards.  Thus, PPE used in one industry would not an be adequate safety measure for another industry  despite their similarity.

For example some protective gloves used in one industry,might otherwise be experience wear and tear and become less effective in another industry depending on the type of chemicals being used.

It is important to recognize that PPE does eliminate workplace hazards– the hazards still exist and proper safety measures must still be adhered to.

  • PPE  should be used according to the hazard it was designed for
  • PPE should allow  for the presence of other workplace dangers.
  • Employees should be properly trained in the proper use, wear and maintenance of PPE
  • On that note, PPE should be safely stored and continuously kept in quality shape through frequent maintenance and checks.
  • One PPE is found to be damaged or defected, it should immediately be disposed of and replaced.


Article partially sourced from Julie Armour – www.WorkingArmour.com.au

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