WHS duties

A person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) must put control measures in place to protect workers’ health and safety. That includes giving workers personal protective equipment (PPE), if required to minimise a risk. Workers and other people in the workplace also have responsibilities for PPE. 

As the PCBU, you must only issue PPE if other control measures haven’t removed or minimised the risk to workers’ health and safety, as far as is reasonable. 

It’s the duty of the PCBU to: 

  • select suitable PPE for the worker and the task, including that it is reasonably comfortable 

  • provide information, training and instructions to workers and people visiting your workplace about how to use PPE 

  • guide workers and others to use PPE properly 

  • periodically assess whether the PPE is and continues to be effective, and 

  • put up signs about using PPE. 

The model WHS Regulations, Regulations 36, 44 and 45, set out the full legal requirements for businesses. 

Choosing the right PPE 

As the PCBU, you must select the type of PPE that: 

  • protects the worker’s health and safety 

  • is the right PPE for the work, and any hazards posed by the work 

  • fits properly and is comfortable, and 

  • is compatible with other PPE worn (for example, a combination of protective eye wear, hearing protection and a hardhat). 

When PPE is used, a PCBU must: 

  • consult with their workers about selecting the most suitable PPE 

  • ensure that the PPE is used or worn by the worker properly as far as they reasonably can, and 

  • provide the worker with information, training and instruction in the proper use and wearing of PPE and its storage and maintenance. 

Workers’ responsibilities with PPE 

Workers issued PPE must: 

  • use or wear it properly – the way they’re trained or instructed to 

  • not misuse or damage it. and 

  • tell someone in charge about any damage, defect or need to decontaminate it. 

If the PPE is not comfortable, doesn’t fit properly or causes an adverse reaction, as the PCBU, you must help them fix the problem. 

Workers could face disciplinary action or prosecution if they: 

  • refuse to wear or use their PPE, or 

  • intentionally misuse or damage their PPE. 

The model WHS Regulations, Regulation 46, sets out the full legal requirements for workers. 

Visiting a workplace that requires PPE 

Even people who do not work with you may need to wear PPE. 

If someone visits your workplace, they must wear the PPE provided to them correctly, according to the information, training or instructions you give them. 

The model WHS Regulations, Regulation 47, sets out the full legal requirements for visitors.