Personal protective equipment

Personal protective equipment, or PPE as it is commonly known, is any clothing or equipment that you use for protection – eg goggles, ear plugs, respirators, safety harnesses, safety shoes, hard hats, sunscreen and the like.

PPE is useful, but it is also one of the least effective ways of controlling safety problems.

PPE works best when used with other control measures – or when absolutely no other safety measures are available.

Must do’s

There are specific laws about using appropriate PPE in the workplace. Here we summarise those laws and give you some practical tips.

You must provide PPE if your workers (including contractors) do not have it, and you require them to wear it.

Consult with your workers when selecting PPE, and show them how to use it. You must not charge anyone for using the equipment.

You must also ensure the PPE is:

  • suitable for the nature of the work
  • a proper size and fit for the person
  • properly stored and maintained.

More information

For the specific laws about PPE, see clauses 44 - 47 of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011.

There are also general work health and safety laws that will apply to you in any situation, including with regards to PPE.