PPE and Health Monitoring - Hasmate
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PPE and Health Monitoring

PPE and Health Monitoring

Chemical and airborne contaminants

In between gasping for breath and cupping his face mask for oxygen, an older friend of mine said, with tears in his eyes, “Gordon, I can’t even walk to the letter box. I’m now stuck here waiting to die with this bloody oxygen bottle for company.”

Two months later, I carried his coffin to the awaiting hearse.

The reason for Bill’s years of poor health and final demise was in many ways due to his casual attitude for not wearing the right equipment when spraying his small orchard and his habit of smoking.

Emphysema is a cruel and debilitating killer, and to see Bill like he was before he died is a memory I will never forget.

This may be a morbid way to start this article, but it’s happening every day in the New Zealand workplace and can happen to any one of us. You don’t even know it’s happening – and when you do, it can be too late.

My message this month is – don’t take risks – use the PPE that has been supplied to you.

If you are an employer, or now the PCBU, you have the responsibility to,

  1. Identify what PPE is required for your work place;
  2. To supply it to your employees;
  3. To make sure they know how to use, store and maintain it;
  4. To ensure they wear it, and if if they don’t, to be consistent in the management of this safety practice;
  5. To make sure that any form of actual or potential source of airborne contaminants are eliminated or adequately controlled; and
  6. To monitor the effectiveness of these controls on a scheduled basis.

WorkSafe NZ now has a greater focus on this requirement of health and safety, and the following article is a reminder that this silent killer of NZers in our work places is now no longer able to be ignored and swept under the carpet – read about WorkSafe’s campaign here.

An added word of warning for those of you in high demanding occupations, management positions, or professions that place you under pressure or overload. Physical and mental stress is also recognised as a risk to health, that can potentially affect your breathing and lung function if it is allowed to continue and not recognised. This can lead to what I have come to know as occupational asthma. Why do I know this? I’m also a victim of this health issue, having been placed under undue work pressure when working in a corporate environment, with the result that for the past 25 years I have had to use a preventative inhaler every morning to manage my occupational asthma.

Take care out there, take time to smell the roses and sweet smell of spring.

If you have any questions about this article, please contact Hasmate to discuss further.