Today we round out our unsafe actions deadly dozen.
To recap 1-11
1. Unauthorized use or operation of equipment.
2. Failure to secure or tie down materials to prevent unexpected movement.
3. Working or operating equipment too fast.
4. Failure to issue warnings or signals as required.
5. Using defective tools or equipment.
6. Removing guards.
7. Improperly using tools or equipment.
8. Standing in an unsafe place or assuming an improper posture (as in lifting).
9. Servicing moving equipment.
10. Riding equipment not designed for passengers.
And, finally, number 12
12. Failure to wear the proper personal protective equipment.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is specifically designed to protect workers. PPE includes such things as safety glasses, protective clothing, boots, gloves, respiratory protection, earplugs, hard hats and much, much more. As new technology and new materials are discovered, manufacturers produce new and better PPE to provide a greater degree of protection, comfort, dexterity as well as, in some cases, reduce the cost.
Employers are required by law to provide their employees with the PPE necessary to do their jobs effectively and safely. A lot of time and money has gone into finding ways to increase compliance on the part of workers. The most commonly cited reasons employees give for not wearing PPE include:
- “It isn’t comfortable”
- “I look dorky in it”
- “I didn’t think it was necessary for this job”
- “It’s too hot with it on”
A lot of time and money has been spent (and continues to be spent) on finding ways to increase PPE compliance. A quick google search will turn up dozens of ideas designed to eliminate the above objections to PPE. I will cover only the top ones:
- PPE no longer has to look dorky. The days of boxy, square looking safety glasses are gone (although, if you still want them, they are certainly available). Today’s safety glasses are sleek and stylish, in many cases, reminiscent of high end sun glasses. Even without spending a fortune, glasses such as the Starlite glasses provide a lightweight, sleek, wrap-around style for as little as $1.26 a pair. A glance through the safety glasses on our website will show dozens of different styles at a variety of prices.
What we are saying about safety glasses applies to a large percentage of other PPE now available on the market.
- New materials, such as breathable liquid-resistant fabrics are increasingly making PPE more comfortable to wear. Disposable coveralls are a perfect example of this. Traditional materials tended to quickly heat up causing the worker to sweat. The result was that workers didn’t like wearing them because they were hot and damp. Newer materials are breathable, keeping the wearer more comfortable while still providing an effective barrier against the chemicals and particles that workers need to protect against.
- Proper training, as well as posting the proper signs, letting employees know which PPE needs to be worn for what jobs can decrease the “I didn’t know” factor. Standardization of PPE for the various tasks can take the guesswork out of it as well.
- Offering workers choices is often a great way to increase compliance. When there is no choice about whether or not to wear the PPE, having a choice of which PPE to wear can often make the difference with many workers.
- Proper training is also key. Most workers, when fully aware of the dangers, are more than willing to wear the required PPE. Not knowing, it is a lot easier to “pretend” that everything is okay. Proper training, including visuals, drives home the necessity for the proper PPE.
Want more ideas? Here are a couple of suggestions:
- Join http://www.safetycommunity.com/ . This website is specifically designed for safety professionals. At the time of writing this post, some 2,823 members had joined. It provides a network for the exchange of ideas, information and more, all related to issues of safety in the workplace. Post questions, participate in discussions, read posts and interact with other safety professionals.
- Do an internet search with the key words “Safety Compliance”
- Join a local safety organization. In WA, for example, there is the Puget Sound Safety Summit which is “dedicated to forming a networked alliance of government, management, and labor to develop methods and solutions for continuous improvement of workplace safety, with the goal of reducing workplace injuries and accidents to zero.”
- Subscribe to blogs such as this one and post comments. All of us can benefit from each other.