Policy University Management WHS-PRO-031 Personal Protective Equipment Procedure

WHS-PRO-031 Personal Protective Equipment Procedure

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This Procedure outlines the requirements and practices for the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) whenever it has been identified as a risk control measure.


This Procedure applies to all staff, students, and James Cook University (JCU; the University) affiliates involved in JCU business operations and activities.

This Procedure does not apply to JCU Brisbane, JCU Singapore, JCU Controlled Entities and Contractors.





Is a person (other than a Staff member or Student, including Higher Degree by Research Candidates) who is affiliated with JCU by letter of appointment or invitation to work, research or study at the University for a particular activity and typically for a prescribed timeframe and who is bound to comply with the University’s policies during that period (e.g. visiting scholars, adjuncts and volunteers).


For the purposes of this Procedure, a contractor is a Person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU), and its Workers (including Subcontractors and its Workers), that are engaged by JCU for the purpose of performing work or providing a service under a contractual agreement.


A person who makes decisions or participates in making decisions that affect the whole or a substantial part of a business or undertaking or has the capacity to significantly affect the financial standing of the business or undertaking.

If a person is responsible only for implementing those decisions, they are not considered an Officer under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld).


Visitors to a JCU controlled site/campus and students not performing work experience or paid or unpaid work.

Person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU)

A business or an undertaking that is either conducted alone or with others, whether or not for profit or gain.

A PCBU can be but is not limited to:

  • a sole trader (for example a self-employed person);
  • a partnership;
  • a company.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Safety equipment and protective clothing worn to protect an individual from the actual or potential risks to health and safety arising from an activity or process.

Reasonably Practicable

Means that which is, or was at a particular time, reasonably able to be done to ensure health and safety, taking into account and weighing up all relevant matters including:

  • The likelihood of the hazard   or the risk concerned occurring;
  • The degree of harm that might   result from the hazard or the risk;
  • What the person concerned   knows, or ought reasonably to know, about the hazard or risk, and ways of   eliminating or minimising the risk;
  • The availability and   suitability of ways to eliminate or minimise the risk.

After assessing the extent of the risk and the available ways of eliminating or minimising the risk, the cost associated with available ways of eliminating or minimising the risk, including whether the cost is grossly disproportionate to the risk.


Any person who is responsible for Workers, the allocation of tasks to Workers and / or the oversight of all JCU students during teaching and / or learning activities including field trips.


A person who carries out work in any capacity for JCU, and includes working as:

  • an employee;
  • a volunteer;
  • an apprentice or trainee;
  • a student gaining work experience (paid or unpaid);
  • labour hire company employees assigned to work for JCU.


A workplace is the place where work is carried out for JCU and includes any place where a Worker goes, or is likely to be, while at work.

Table of Contents

1         Duties, Obligations and Responsibilities

1.1 James Cook University

1.2 Officers

1.3 Supervisors

1.4 Workers and Others

1.5 Work Health and Safety Unit

2         PPE General Requirements

2.1 Selection of PPE

2.2 Provision of PPE

2.3 Use of PPE

2.4 Maintenance of PPE

2.5 PPE Training

2.6 Mandatory PPE Areas

2.7 Prescription Glasses

2.8 Laboratory PPE

2.9 Respiratory Protective Equipment

2.10 Monitoring and Reviewing

1 Duties, Obligations and Responsibilities

1.1 James Cook University

As a PCBU under the Act, JCU has a primary duty of care to ensure workers and others are not exposed to a risk to their health and safety. JCU is required, in instances where it is not reasonably practical, to eliminate the risk or control the risk using the other hierarchy of control levels to manage the risk through the use of PPE.

1.2 Officers

An Officer of JCU has a duty under the Act to exercise due diligence to ensure JCU fulfils its health and safety obligations under the Act.  To satisfy this duty, Officers need to ensure that appropriate WHS risk management practices have been undertaken to identify risks and to ensure appropriate resourcing has been allocated to control risks. PPE should only be considered as a control after applying higher level measures, such as removing a hazard or substituting it for something safer.

1.3 Supervisors

Supervisors are responsible for:

  • Ensuring that risk assessments are conducted for tasks, and they only identify PPE as the most appropriate control measure after considering other hierarchy of control measures (e.g., elimination, substitution, isolation, engineering and administration).
  • Providing adequate training and instruction for workers and students on the selection, safe use and care of PPE.
  • Ensuring that appropriate notice is given when PPE must be worn in certain work areas.

Staff supervising undergraduate students are responsible for ensuring students are wearing the correct PPE.

1.4 Workers and Others

Staff, students, adjuncts and volunteers shall:

  • Follow the requirements outlined in this procedure and any PPE requirements identified in a risk assessment or safe work procedure;
  • Wear the required PPE for the activities they are undertaking;
  • Ensure PPE is in good condition and report any damaged or inadequate PPE to their supervisor.

1.5 Work Health and Safety Unit

The Work Health and Safety Unit will assist with the implementation of and compliance with this procedure by:

  • Providing advice and support with regard to the correct use and selection of PPE;
  • Investigating WHS incidents relating to PPE;
  • Monitoring compliance with this procedure as part of planned auditing.

2 PPE General Requirements

2.1 Selection of PPE

Once a risk assessment has been completed and it has been determined that one of the control measures is to wear PPE, the most appropriate type of PPE must be selected to protect the worker from the intended exposure.

When selecting the most appropriate PPE the following sources of information can provide useful information on the type of PPE to be used;

  • Designers, manufactures or suppliers of PPE can provide advice on their products;
  • Australian Standards;
  • Codes of Practice;
  • Hazardous chemical safety data sheets.

Not all PPE provides the same level of protection. For example, certain types of gloves provide different levels of protection against different types of chemicals.

2.2 Provision of PPE

Individual business units are responsible for providing the necessary PPE when required.

Undergraduate students may be required to provide their own laboratory coats and safety glasses that meet the relevant standards.

2.3 Use of PPE

Correct fitting PPE is an important factor when using PPE. If more than one item of PPE is worn at the same time, the wearer must ensure the items can be used together (e.g. wearing safety glasses may disturb the seal of a respirator, causing air leaks).

It is also important to inform workers and students why PPE is needed, when to use it, it’s limitations, and how to remove PPE correctly. For example, show people how to remove gloves without contaminating their skin.

2.4 Maintenance of PPE

Proper care and maintenance are essential to ensure PPE continues to provide the necessary level of protection. Users of PPE are required:

  • Look for broken or damaged components before using PPE and repair or replace it as needed.
  • Replace PPE that has expired or reached its usable lifespan.
  • Clean reusable PPE after use and store in a clean area such as a cupboard, drawer or resealable container.
  • Report broken, damaged or contaminated PPE.

Some maintenance can be done by workers themselves, such as replacing a damaged shoelace. More specialised equipment, such as a harness for working at heights, may need to be sent back to the manufacturer if maintenance is required. Workers who are unsure about maintaining PPE may seek guidance from their supervisor.

2.5 PPE Training

In some situations, it will be necessary to provide training for PPE. Users of PPE must be provided with enough information, training, and instructions on when to use PPE and how to:

  • Use, fit and wear it including any adjustments that may be needed;
  • Carry out repair or replace parts;
  • Clean and correctly store PPE;
  • When wearing more than one item of PPE, how to safely put on and remove each item of PPE to avoid accidental contamination

2.6 Mandatory PPE Areas

Mandatory PPE areas must have safety signage installed at prominent locations surrounding the area. Mandatory PPE safety signs must display pictograms of the required protective items and have descriptive legends. The mandatory PPE signs must comply with the requirements of AS 1319 safety signs for the occupational environment.

Common examples of mandatory PPE signage include:

  • Eye Protection Area – Safety glasses must be worn;
  • Hearing Protection Area – Hearing protection must be worn;
  • This is a Hard Hat Area – Safety helmets must be worn;
  • Safety Footwear must be Worn.

2.7 Prescription Glasses

Prescription glasses (as distinct from prescription eye protectors) are generally inadequate against flying objects or particles and could even be hazardous. For persons requiring eye protection in addition to sight correction, the use of prescription glasses worn with additional protection (e.g., over glasses, wide vision goggles or face shields) is required.

2.8 Laboratory PPE

The clothing and PPE that is required in a laboratory is dependent on the type of laboratory, the activities being carried out, and the materials and equipment stored within the laboratory. WHS-PRO-013 Laboratory Safety Procedure provides guidance on the use of PPE in laboratories at JCU.

2.9 Respiratory Protective Equipment

Respiratory protective equipment is to be selected, used and maintained in compliance with AS/NZS 1715.

Respirators can be:

  • Negative pressure fitted with particulate filters and or chemical filters;
  • Powered air purifying respirators with particulate filters and/or chemical filters;
  • Supplied air respirators with an airline or tank.

When negative respiratory protective equipment is used, the wearer must have a fit test conducted to confirm that the respirator fits correctly and is providing protection.

When wearing any type of respiratory protective equipment, the person must be clean shaven to ensure the respirator fits correctly and is providing protection.

2.10 Monitoring and Reviewing

Managers and Supervisors are required to monitor and enforce PPE usage in the workplace. Regular oversight of PPE ensures that it remains effective and compliant with legislative requirements.

Related Policy Instruments

Records Management Policy

Work Health and Safety Policy

JCU Work Health and Safety Procedures


NOTE:  Printed copies of this procedure are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing.

Approval Details

Policy DomainUniversity Management

Policy Sub-domain

WHS Management

Policy Custodian

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Services & Resources

Approval Authority

Work Health and Safety Committee

Date for next Major Review


Revision History


Approval date

Implementation date





Procedure established

Work Health and Safety Manager


Audit, Inspection

Contact person

Manager, Work Health and Safety