Provision of Appropriate Equipment

Good maintenance reducing the physical hazard of noise. | Legal Obligations | Maintenance - a High Risk Activity| Solving Noise Issues through Maintenance

Workers involved in maintenance tasks should have the appropriate tools and equipment, which may be different from those that they normally use. Considering that they may be working in areas that are not designed to have people working in them, and that they may be exposed to a variety of hazards, they must also have appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

With respect to the equipment and tools to be used, employers should ensure that:

  • the right tool and equipment for the job is available (with instructions in using it if required)
  • it is in appropriate condition
  • it is suitable for the work environment (e.g. no sparking tools in flammable atmospheres) and
  • it has an ergonomic design

All PPE must:

  • be appropriate for the risks involved, without itself leading to any increased risk
  • correspond to existing conditions at the workplace
  • take account of ergonomic requirements and the workers state of health and
  • fit the wearer correctly after any necessary adjustment

For example, workers cleaning or replacing filters on extraction ventilation may be exposed to concentrations of dust that are much higher than normal for a particular workplace.  Access to these filters, which are frequently located in the roof area, has to be made safe as well.

Also when working in a noisy environment PPE such as earplugs and earmuffs should be used. Issues to take into account when using PPE include:

  • making sure the PPE chosen is appropriate for the level and duration of the noise; it should also be compatible with other protective equipment (i.e. must take into account the specific requirements of the work activity or tasks being performed)
  • workers should have a choice of suitable hearing protection so they can select the most comfortable solution
  • the PPE should be correctly stored and maintained
  • training should be given on why the PPE is necessary, when it should be used, how it should be worn and how to store and maintain it properly  and safely
  • workers should report any defects in PPE without delay.