Worksites often have many hazards. Occasionally, some hazards can be eliminated. And there are ways to reduce hazards. But it is difficult – impossible, even – to eliminate all hazards. Which is why it is so important to encourage the use of PPE. Personal protective equipment provides a last line of defense against workplace hazards.
Companies that wish to create a culture of safety should have a written safety plan that covers PPE use. They should also have a plan that deals with failures to wear PPE. The consequences for first time or infrequent failure to wear PPE could be as simple as a verbal reminder. And having workers remind each other to wear their protective equipment is effective. Real discipline should be a last resort.
It is very important for the ownership and management of a company to buy in to the safety plan. A supervisor making a quick inspection of a job site where hardhats and safety glasses are required should wear the PPE. If they don’t, it can give other employees permission to be careless with PPE use.
Companies need to educate employees on the hazards at worksites. And they should explain how PPE can protect them and offer training on the proper use of protective equipment. The company’s safety and disciplinary plan should be communicated clearly to employees. Post signs at worksites that communicate what types of protective equipment are required.
It is also a great idea to listen to workers’ opinions on specific types or brands of protective equipment that they like. If they feel it’s more comfortable or effective, they are more likely to use it.
Consistency from the ownership of the company on down with wearing PPE and communicating its importance and the policies surround the use of protective equipment help create a culture of safety where failures to wear PPE are few and far between.
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