The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that many injured workers have admitted to not wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). The most common reasons cited are that PPE is uncomfortable, unnecessary or unavailable.
In conjunction with the national launch of its new managed safety program, Cintas Corporation identified seven strategies for improving PPE performance:
- Keep PPE in a central location –Organizations should invest in a PPE cabinet that keeps an adequate supply of equipment.
- Ensure ear plugs fit correctly and comfortably – Employees are less likely to wear hearing protection if it is uncomfortable. These should be available in various sizes.
- Offer anti-fog eye protection in high-humidity environments or when dealing with sudden environmental changes.
- Match gloves to hazards and seasons.
- Check protective apparel periodically for imperfections.
- Provide hard hats in a variety of types and classes to match the job. Different varieties protect from blows to the top of the head (Type I) or the top and sides (Type II). Class G helmets can withstand 2,200 volts, Class E can withstand 20,000 volts and are suitable for electrical work, and Class C does not provide electrical insulation.
- Offer safety training to highlight job hazards, the importance of PPE and how to best wear it. Wearing too much PPE can cause heat stress, while not enough can lead to cold stress in certain conditions or exposure to hazards such as arc flash and hearing loss.