We have all head the terminology PPE but do we really know what it means and how it impacts us?
Personal Protective Equipment or “PPE” covers a broad spectrum of products. These pieces of equipment all serve the same purpose but with different specializations. PPE is equipment worn to minimize exposure to hazards that cause serious work place injuries and illness. Injuries may result from contact with chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical or other work place hazards.
Employers are required to train employees on when PPE is required, how to use it properly, how to wear it, what the limitations of the equipment are, as well as proper care and maintenance of the PPE.
While falls remain the number one leading cause of injury in the workplace, damage to hearing comes in at a close second for manufacturing facilities. Studies in recent years have shown an increase in noncompliance with corporate and federal mandates to wear PPE. In a survey done with The American Society of Safety Engineers 98% of Safety Engineers stated that they had personally observed employees failing to or improperly wearing PPE. In addition, 30% of those reported seeing it on numerous occasions.
Eye protection was found to be the most challenging PPE category with 3 out of 5 workers who reported eye injuries stating they were not wearing PPE. The next most common in noncompliance is hearing PPE. This staggering statistic is further made alarming by the fact that 100% of hearing damage injuries are preventable with proper PPE.
So what can you do to help prevent injuries and promote proper PPE use?
- Make PPE Easily Available
- Improve Training on PPE
- Include PPE Compliance as Part of Performance Evaluations
- Develop Incentive Programs for Proper PPE Use
- Provide a Wide Range of Sizes and Styles to Ensure a Good Fit for All Employees
Make sure your employees and your facility are down with PPE.