4 Key Pieces of EWP Operator Personal Protective Equipment

PPE for working on EWPs

Safety is at the core of everything we do. We understand that working on EWP involves certain risks, and it is our foremost priority to mitigate these risks by ensuring that every operator is equipped with the necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). PPE forms the first line of defence against potential hazards in the workplace, shielding our operators from harm and providing a safe environment for them to carry out their tasks efficiently.

In the EWP industry, the importance of PPE cannot be overstated. From head protection to high-visibility clothing, safety harnesses, and protective footwear, each piece of PPE plays a crucial role in preventing accidents and injuries. As an operator, wearing the right PPE can mean the difference between a normal day at work and a life-threatening incident.

At AusDirect Hire Group, we place immense value on the operators’ lives, and our mission is to provide them with the tools and equipment they need to stay safe. This blog post will examine the four key pieces of PPE that every EWP operator should have, highlighting their importance and providing tips on choosing and using them effectively. Let’s prioritise safety together because, at AusDirect Hire Group, your safety is our success.

The Importance of PPE in EWP Operations

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) serves as an essential component in the safety management of Elevated Work Platform (EWP) operations. According to Safe Work Australia, selecting PPE that provides a level of protection greater than the minimum required to protect employees from hazards is crucial. This underlines the importance of having PPE and ensuring its quality and suitability for the task at hand.

The role of PPE in EWP operations is multi-faceted. It’s designed to protect against specific hazards associated with working at heights. For instance, a properly fitting full-body harness and an appropriately adjusted lanyard significantly reduce an operator’s chances of being hurled from a booming platform. Using hard hats, gloves, and safety footwear can also help prevent injuries from falling objects or slippery surfaces.

In addition to providing physical protection, PPE plays a significant psychological role by boosting the operator’s confidence. When operators are equipped with the right PPE, they feel safer and are more likely to perform their duties efficiently without fear of potential accidents.

Despite the clear benefits of using PPE, there have been countless incidents where the lack or improper use of PPE has led to serious accidents. While concrete statistics vary across regions and industries, it’s widely recognised that proper PPE usage could have prevented a substantial proportion of workplace accidents.

The importance of PPE in EWP operations cannot be overstated. It provides a critical line of defence against workplace hazards and fosters a safety-conscious culture, ultimately contributing to improved productivity and morale.

Key Piece #1: Safety Helmets

Safety helmets, also known as hard hats, are vital pieces of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the toolkit of any Elevated Work Platform (EWP) operator. They are designed to provide robust protection against falling objects, impacts, and other potential hazards that could cause head injuries.

The primary role of a safety helmet is to absorb the shock of a blow to the head, reducing the risk of concussions, skull fractures, or more severe brain injuries. The rigid outer shell of the helmet is specifically engineered to deflect blows from falling objects. At the same time, the inner suspension system helps distribute the force of the impact across the entire helmet, lessening the direct impact on the wearer’s head.

However, not all safety helmets are created equal. When choosing a safety helmet for EWP operations, several specific features should be considered:

  1. Material and Design: The helmet should be made of durable material like high-density polyethylene, capable of withstanding strong impacts. It should also have a sleek design to avoid getting caught in machinery or obstructions.
  2. Suspension System: A good safety helmet will have a comfortable, adjustable suspension system that fits securely on the head. This system also helps to distribute the impact energy during a collision.
  3. Chin Strap: The chin strap is an essential feature often overlooked. This keeps the helmet on the operator’s head, ensuring it doesn’t fall off during work or in an accident.
  4. Certification: Ensure the helmet meets industry safety standards. In Australia, for instance, look for helmets certified by AS/NZS 1801:1997.
  5. Comfort and Fit: Last but not least, the helmet should be comfortable and fit well. An ill-fitting helmet can be distracting and may not provide adequate protection.

Remember, a safety helmet is more than just a piece of PPE; it’s an investment in the safety and well-being of the EWP operator. Therefore, choosing the right safety helmet is critical to ensuring their protection on the job.

Key Piece #2: High-Visibility Clothing

High-visibility clothing, often referred to as “hi-vis,” is another essential piece of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Elevated Work Platform (EWP) operators. These garments are designed to make the wearer highly visible in all environments, helping prevent accidents caused by low visibility.

EWP operations often occur in busy construction sites, industrial areas, or roadways where numerous activities occur simultaneously. In such environments, operators risk being struck by moving vehicles or machinery. High-visibility clothing, with its bright colours and reflective materials, ensures that operators can be easily seen by others, significantly reducing the risk of collisions.

When choosing high-visibility clothing, consider the following factors:

  1. Colour: The most common colours for hi-vis clothing are fluorescent yellow-green, orange-red, and red. Choose a colour that contrasts with the work environment. For instance, if you’re working in a green area, fluorescent orange-red might be more visible than yellow-green.
  2. Reflective Material: The clothing should have reflective strips or bands that reflect light back to its source, making the wearer visible even in low-light conditions or during nighttime operations.
  3. Coverage: The clothing should cover a good portion of the body to maximise visibility. Options range from vests and jackets to full-body suits, depending on the visibility required and the weather conditions.
  4. Comfort and Fit: High-visibility clothing should fit well like any piece of PPE. It should allow for freedom of movement and not be too tight or loose.
  5. Weather Conditions: Opt for breathable, lightweight materials if you’re working in hot weather. For cold or rainy weather, consider insulated, waterproof hi-vis jackets.

Remember, wearing high-visibility clothing is not just about complying with safety regulations; it’s about ensuring EWP operators can work safely and confidently in all environments.

Key Piece #3: Safety Harnesses

Safety harnesses are integral to the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) required for Elevated Work Platform (EWP) operations. They are designed to prevent falls from height and minimise injury by distributing the force of the impact across the body in the event of a fall.

The primary role of a safety harness in EWP operations is to provide fall protection. The harness allows the operator to attach themselves to an immovable object or a system designed to arrest falls, ensuring they won’t hit the ground if they trip, slip, or are otherwise ejected from the platform. In addition to preventing falls, a safety harness holds a fallen worker upright during a fall, keeping the spine vertically to minimise injury.

When using a safety harness, it’s essential to consider the following:

  1. Proper Fit: A safety harness should fit snugly but comfortably. It should be adjusted to the wearer’s body size, with all straps buckled and tightened correctly.
  2. Inspection Before Use: Always inspect the harness before use. Check for signs of wear and tear, such as frayed straps, broken buckles, or compromised stitching.
  3. Correct Attachment: The harness should be attached correctly to the lanyard and lifeline or anchor point. Never attach the lanyard to itself unless designed for that purpose.
  4. Training: Proper training is crucial before using a safety harness. Operators should understand how to wear the harness, how to inspect it, and what to do in case of a fall.

Remember, a safety harness is not just a piece of equipment; it’s a life-saving device. Therefore, understanding its importance and using it properly is critical for any EWP operator.

Key Piece #4: Protective Footwear

Protective footwear, commonly known as safety boots or shoes, is crucial in safeguarding Elevated Work Platform (EWP) operators from foot injuries. These specialised shoes protect the feet from various hazards, including falling objects, punctures, electrical shocks, slips, trips, or falls.

The primary function of protective footwear is to shield the wearer’s feet from injury. They often come with reinforced toe caps and soles to offer protection against falling and sharp objects. Some models also have anti-slip soles to prevent slips and falls, while others have insulation to protect against electrical hazards.

When selecting protective footwear, consider the following factors:

  1. Toe Protection: Choose footwear with steel, aluminium, or composite toe caps for protection against falling objects.
  2. Sole Protection: Look for shoes with puncture-resistant soles if you’re working in an environment with sharp objects like nails or screws.
  3. Slip Resistance: Opt for footwear with slip-resistant soles if you work on slippery surfaces.
  4. Electrical Safety: Choose footwear designed to insulate against electrical shocks for work involving electrical hazards.
  5. Comfort and Fit: A good fit is crucial for comfort and safety. Ill-fitting shoes can cause discomfort and increase the risk of tripping or falling.
  6. Certification: Ensure the footwear meets industry safety standards. AS/NZS 2210.2:1994 provides an outline of requirements.

Remember, protective footwear is more than just a part of your work uniform; it’s a vital barrier between your feet and potential hazards in the workplace.

Training for Proper PPE Usage

Proper training in using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is crucial for ensuring the safety of workers, especially those operating Elevated Work Platforms (EWPs). This training doesn’t merely teach workers how to wear PPE it includes understanding when to use it, how to maintain it, and how to inspect it for any damage.

The necessity of proper training cannot be overstressed. PPE is designed to protect workers from specific hazards. If not used correctly, its protective qualities can be compromised, putting the wearer at risk. For instance, a safety harness worn incorrectly may fail to arrest a fall, and improperly fitted protective footwear can cause discomfort and increase the risk of tripping.

A typical PPE training course often covers topics like hazard identification, proper selection of PPE based on identified hazards, correct usage, maintenance, and inspection of PPE. The goal is to ensure that workers are physically protected and equipped with the knowledge to make safe decisions when faced with potential hazards.

Remember, PPE is your last line of defence against workplace hazards. Therefore, knowing how to use it properly is as essential as wearing it.


The importance of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Elevated Work Platform (EWP) operators cannot be overstated. The four key pieces – personal fall protection equipment, eye and face protection, safety harnesses, and protective footwear – work in unison to provide comprehensive protection against the unique hazards EWP operators face.

  1. Personal Fall Protection Equipment: This essential gear prevents falls from heights, minimising injury by distributing the force of impact across the body.
  2. Eye and Face Protection: Safety glasses or face shields protect the eyes and face from flying debris, chemical splashes, and other potential hazards.
  3. Safety Harnesses: These are designed to arrest falls, keeping the operator safe if they trip, slip, or are otherwise ejected from the platform.
  4. Protective Footwear: Safety boots or shoes shield the feet from various hazards, including falling objects, punctures, and electrical shocks.

At AusDirect Hire Group, safety is paramount in every workplace. We are dedicated to providing high-quality Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to ensure Elevated Work Platform (EWP) operators can perform their tasks safely and efficiently.

If you’re looking for reliable PPE, we’re here to help. Our team of experienced professionals can guide you in selecting the right protective gear to suit your specific needs.

Don’t compromise on safety. Equip your team with the knowledge and tools they need to stay safe on the job. Remember, a safe workplace is not only a regulatory requirement but also a commitment to the well-being of your staff.

If you want to learn more about our PPE, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Let’s work together to make safety a priority in your workplace. Reach out to AusDirect Hire Group today – because nothing is more important than going home safe at the end of the day.

If you would like to speak with one of our expert team members, they are looking forward to chatting with you!

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