Do you use respiratory equipment in your business?

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A large part of the services we offer to members is advice to make sure you are compliant with work, health and safety (WHS) in the workplace and a large number of members contact our WR team in relation to proper use of PPE.

Under WHS Regulation 44, if PPE is selected to minimise risks to health and safety, the Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) must ensure that the equipment is:

  • Suitable for the nature of the work and any hazard associated with the work
  • A suitable size and fit and reasonably comfortable for the person wearing it
  • Maintained, repaired or replaced so it continues to minimise the risk
  • Used or worn by the worker, so far as is reasonably practicable
  • Fumes e.g. welding
  • Asbestos
  • Hazardous chemicals and dusts
  • Before the respirator is issued
  • At least annually or if there is a change in the wearer’s facial characteristics, for example excessive weight or facial hair changes.

If you direct the carrying out of work, you must also provide the worker with information, training and instruction in the proper use and wearing of PPE, as well as the storage and maintenance of PPE.

Respiratory protective equipment is designed to protect the wearer from airborne contaminants such as:

Respirators come in different shapes and sizes and one size will not fit everyone. It is important that a fit-test is carried out for each person who will wear a respirator.

The effectiveness of a close-fitting respirator, such as a half-face or full-face respirators that use straps relies on getting a good seal with the wearer’s face. If a respirator does not fit properly, the wearer will not get the expected level of protection. Facial hair between the sealing surface of a close-facing respirator and the face will stop the respirator from sealing properly.

Australian Standard AS/NZS 1715:2009 requires workers to be clean shaven where the respirator’s face-piece comes into contact with the skin.

Fit-testing

A fit test should also be carried out:

In addition to the above, respirators should be inspected for damage before and after each use and disinfected with a broad-spectrum disinfectant in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.Filters should be changed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and records kept.

If members have any queries about their obligations in regards to the above, please contact the WR team by calling 8291 2000 or via email by clicking here.