Maintaining a safe work environment is no small task. To comply with today’s OSHA regulations, you must go beyond merely following procedure and strive to create a real “culture” of safety. When everyone in your workplace is truly committed to the effort:
- Employees consistently adhere to safety best practices.
- Injuries and workers’ compensation claims go down.
- Morale and retention rates go up.
- Your company is more productive and profitable.
Given the importance of job safety, you should take advantage of every opportunity to protect your workers – starting with the protective gear they wear. Here are eight practical steps you can take to be sure the personal protective equipment (PPE) your workers use is safe, comfortable and appropriate for the job:
- Start by observing. Watch workers while they’re on the job and wearing protective gear. Make periodic workplace evaluations mandatory, to identify new equipment needs and spot potential dangers before accidents occur.
- Choose the right PPE for the task. To assess the suitability of PPE, consider whether it’s appropriate for the risk involved and conditions at the place where exposure may occur. Goggles, for example, will not provide enough protection in working conditions where full-face protection is required.
- Ensure proper fit. Adjust PPE to fit the wearer correctly, paying attention to special circumstances. Have an employee who wears glasses? He may need different ear defenders that accommodate his eye wear, in order to provide adequate protection.
- Choose products that are as comfortable as possible. The more practical and wearable PPE is, the higher compliance rates will be. So when selecting and assigning PPE, choose garments that allow for unrestricted movement and that allow heat and sweat vapors to properly escape.
- Consider compatibility issues with multiple PPE usage. If a worker wears more than one type of personal protective gear, make sure they function properly together.
- Replace your safety equipment. PPE takes a lot of abuse. Over time, it will wear out or become damaged – and it won’t perform as well as it should. Take regular inventory of your company’s PPE and update or upgrade items that don’t function properly. Doing so will keep your employees safe, while protecting you from OSHA fines or sanctions.
- Consider style. Although not a primary safety concern, the appearance of PPE may also affect compliance. PPE that is perceived as “cool” or “stylish” is simply more likely to be worn.
- Retrain employees. Over time, employees may forget some of the basics of their original safety training – including how to wear and use PPE. Create an ongoing training program to keep safety precautions and guidelines fresh in their minds.
Job safety should be a top priority for every employer. Work with your staff in implementing these common-sense tips and everybody will benefit. And for safe, reliable, productive workers, give Wood Personnel a call.