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Did you know that out of OSHA’s top ten most commonly cited standards, six of them are related to safety gear like fall protection or eye protection? And when you consider that 5,333 workers died on the job in 2019, it begs the question of how many of those deaths could have been prevented with the right safety gear.
One way or another, safety gear saves lives. But first, you have to get your employees to use it.
Not sure how to go about promoting safety gear among your employees? Here are a few tips to get started.
Before you try to change employee PPE habits, it helps to understand what those habits are. So, it’s time to observe and collect data.
You’re already familiar with this type of data collection–you do it all the time when assessing safety hazards. Except for this time, you’re observing employee behavior.
It’s important to remember that resistance to PPE adoption is often more complex than simple laziness. Employees don’t want to get hurt either, and there are any number of reasons why they might neglect or refuse to wear PPE.
This is why observing their PPE habits is important. If you can identify patterns in PPE habits, you can understand where those habits come from and how to address them.
In some cases, employees may not understand why they need PPE or even how to use it correctly. That’s why training is one of your most important tools in promoting safety gear.
The good news is that if you’ve done a good job observing PPE habits, you’ll know what type of training is needed. For example, if you observe that employees consistently use PPE incorrectly, it might be prudent to refresh them on how to use PPE correctly. Or, if you’re introducing new PPE, train them on how to use the new gear (don’t be shy about being hands-on!)
Even if your employees are familiar with their PPE, it’s still worth an occasional training refresher on how to use it and why to use it. Employees should not think of PPE as punitive (remember, safety isn’t punitive) nor should they think of it as a nuisance getting in the way of their productivity. It’s a protective tool, and they need to use it that way.
Last but not least, make sure PPE fits.
You’d be astonished by how many employees don’t use PPE not because they don’t know how or because they don’t want to but because it’s uncomfortable. If that’s the case with your employees, make sure to get everyone custom-fitted for PPE so that their gear is as comfortable as possible.
Of course, as EHS managers know, promoting safety gear is just one step in the safety battle. You need data to make informed decisions.
That’s where we come in, with safety management software that allows you to collect data and manage nearly every detail of your program from one powerful dashboard. So if you’re ready to invest in safety without the headache, get in touch to learn more.
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