In many workplaces, personal protective equipment (PPE) is an essential part of keeping employees safe. From Hi Vis jackets to safety goggles, your business might use a range of different equipment. But sometimes it can be difficult to convince staff to wear safety gear at all times. Here are five great tips to ensure that your workers always wear the relevant PPE.
Get the right gear
First things first; you need to get the right safety gear for your place of work. Common complaints among workers regarding PPE is that it is either uncomfortable, too hot or unnecessary for the task. While it could be easy to write this off as simple moaning that can be ignoring, it’s actually very important to take these issues very seriously.
If gear is uncomfortable or makes your staff overheat it’s much more likely they will take it off at some point. This could be a real safety hazard if workers are removing essential PPE during the day. It is probably the case that alternative gear can be bought that allows staff to stay comfortable and avoid this problem altogether.
Also, if your team feels that a specific piece of PPE is unnecessary, you need to do something about this as well. You can talk to your workers about exactly why this piece of safety gear is important and must be used, or alternatively consider whether the complaint is justified. Is that PPE really needed for the job? If not, it can go.
Lead by example
It is absolutely essential that if you want your staff to wear appropriate protective gear, you need to wear it yourself. If you’re not happy to wear the right safety clothing it suggests to your team that they shouldn’t be happy to wear it either. Alternatively, if every time you’re at work you wear exactly what you expect your team to wear it shows them they have no excuse to cut any corners.
You need to be the catalyst for better safety in the business – when you set the right example others will follow you. If you set the wrong example it can lead to more serious problems with workers viewing you with less respect and not being able to take you seriously.
Let them wear the gear they want
It is no longer the case that there is a one-size-fits-all approach to safety equipment and clothing. In the modern world there is more variety of PPE than ever before, so it’s actually very easy to find alternatives to essential gear that is going unused.
If employees aren’t wearing a specific piece of PPE there’s probably a good reason for it. Whether it is uncomfortable or makes it more challenging for them to do their job properly, there could be all sorts of reasons why they won’t put it on. Talk it through with them and discuss alternatives – you might find that the fix is relatively cheap and easy.
If there are certain items or different versions of items that employees feel more comfortable wearing, it’s worth going to the effort of getting that gear ordered.
Educate them on why they need it
It is vital that you engage your staff with training on why it is important for them to wear the appropriate PPE. Rather than simply handing over a piece of equipment and telling them to put it on, you need to organise sessions to discuss the dangers of not using the equipment and helping workers understand the benefits.
Once your staff understand why they need to wear or use a piece of PPE they are much less likely to have a problem doing so. Also, remember to tie the idea of safe working practice back to real world scenarios – if they get injured at work, who would it affect at home?
Let them know it’s not optional
While it is important to take a very reasonable stance on employees who are having trouble with their PPE, you must take a no tolerance policy that rules need to be followed. If certain safety equipment is required in a specific area, make it a rule and ensure that there are never any exceptions to the rule.
Workers can become complacent about safety rules – especially if they have worked somewhere for a long time and have never seen any incidents. In this case it is important to remind them that there haven’t been any incidents because of the rules that have been put in place.
Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer working together with Sussex based protective equipment specialists JP Supplies, who were consulted over this post.
This article is also available in French.