Maintenance of High Vis Vests
Although personal protective equipment (PPE) is one of the lowest levels of the hierarchy of control, it is a fact of modern business that PPE is an intrinsic part of modern safety management controls.
Division 5 of the WHS Regulations requires a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (formerly known as the ‘employer’) who directs the carrying out of work to ensure PPE is selected to minimise health and safety risks and:
Ensure the PPE is suitable considering the nature of work and the hazards associated with that work;
Is of suitable size and fit, and is reasonably comfortable for the worker who is required to wear it; and
Is maintained, repaired or replaced so it continues to minimise risk to the worker who wears it
A PCBU who fails to comply with the provisions of Division 5 may face a fine of up to $6000 for an individual or $30,000 for a body corporate.
Given this, what are the actual obligations on a PCBU regarding high visibility vests?
There are two Australian Standards that talk about the requirements of high visibility clothing, namely:
AS/NZ 4602.1: 2011 High visibility safety garments - Garments for high risk applications
AS/NZ 1906.4: 2010 Retroreflective materials and devices for road traffic control purposes - High visibility materials for safety garments.
Essentially, a PCBU needs to ensure they have procedures that describe how to select, wear and maintain their PPE. Maintaining a high vis vest is reasonably straight forward but consideration needs to be given to ensuring high visibility vests are stored in such a way that fluorescent material doesn’t fade and reflective materials don’t degrade.
High visibility clothing needs to be washed or cleaned according to the manufacturer’s instructions and finally, the clothing needs to be replaced if it has been badly damaged or soiled, or has faded.
It is worth keeping in mind too that reflective tape may only be good for 30 washes before needing to be replaced.
Moore McPhee WHS Consultants specialise in the needs of small and medium businesses. We are here to help and can provide cost effective solutions for your business. Contact us on 1300 362 351, or speak directly to our Senior Principal Consultant Vanessa Moore on 0401 382 083 or at for a confidential discussion about your particular work health and safety needs.
Disclaimer: Any advice and information in this article is general in nature, does not take into account particular circumstances and should not be construed as professional advice. Unless specifically stated otherwise, the information in this article is prepared for South Australian Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking as defined in the SA Work Health and Safety Act 2012 only. The information may be applicable to other states of Australia that have adopted the harmonised work health and safety legislation but is not guaranteed.
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