Wearing the right safety workwear or PPE in the workplace is a no brainer, right?
Not for some workers, no.
Some workers inadvertently put themselves at risk of serious injury and even death – while putting employers at serious risk of prosecution – by refusing to wear safety gear.
142 workers were killed at work in Great Britain in 2020/21 – an increase of 29 from the previous year
30% of fatal injuries in 2020/21 involved workers aged 60 or over.
The three most common causes of fatal injuries, accounting for more than half of fatalities in 2020/21, were:
- Workers falling from height
- Workers being struck by a moving vehicle
- Workers being struck by a moving object
There are on average 9,000 PPE-related incidents in the workplace each year
Failure to consider PPE costs around £49m per year
Failure to use the PPE provided resulted in costs of around £65m per year
THREE REASONS WORKERS TAKE THE RISK
1. IT DOESN’T FIT
As an employer, you have a legal obligation to provide the correct safety wear in the right size to protect employees from workplace hazards.
The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 stipulate that the personal protective equipment provided at work should fit the wearer correctly.
But if you’re not the size and shape of the average man, this is often not the case. Sizing is everything, and PPE is most definitely NOT a one-size fits-all.
So, first things first: ensure each of your workers – male and female – are fitted properly for their helmets, safety glasses, and other PPE, before going on site . Include them in the buying process if possible.
Unsurprisingly, female employees often fare even worse from ill-fitting PPE. Don’t take that risk: check out our range of female workwear here.
2. IT’S BAD QUALITY
Poor quality, low-cost safety wear wears out fast, putting employees at risk – as well as looking terrible. No one wants to wear a jacket with a massive hole in it.
Some employees complain PPE ‘gets in the way’ – but this feeling can be overcome if the work wear is good quality, fits well, and feels comfortable and flexible.
Hard hats, goggles, gloves and boots play an essential role in managing Health and Safety risks and so it’s imperative you provide the best quality products for your staff. Again, we’ve got you covered.
3. IT DOESN’T LOOK GOOD
Chances are, team members who have unfashionable PPE forced on them might choose not to put it on at all.
Make your team part of the PPE process. Bring team-mates on board to test-drive multiple pieces of kit – it’s good to offer several choices – and give their feedback.
That way you know up front whether there are any issues with comfort, fit or ‘coolness’.
Another issue: some workers assume that since they’ve been doing the same job for years, they’re somehow immune to risks on site. Some might decline to wear PPE based on this belief – but all it takes is one arc flash, one electric shock or flying particle to change a team member’s life forever.
Seeing the shocking stats about older construction workers suffering more injuries each year, puts this into perspective.
Therefore, safety managers should keep a close eye on all team members to ensure their safety gear is in place from the word go.
WHAT NEXT: COMMUNICATE AND EDUCATE
Good communication around the use of PPE helps avoid conflict at work and ensures a safe and happy team.
So, what are the next steps?
If faced with teammates who resist PPE, team leaders should find out
- Is it uncomfortable and awkward to wear?
- Is it too heavy or big?
- Does it restrict or limit the movement?
- Is your refusal based on religious or other grounds? (The PPE at Work Regulations 1992 include no exemptions from using or wearing PPE on religious, medical or the other grounds. The Employment Act 1989 makes one exception, however, for Sikh teammates who wear turbans on construction sites.)
Problems are most likely to occur when employers try to make staff wear PPE without consulting or asking them. By contrast, employers who are open, educated on the topic, engaged and approachable usually see a significant drop in incidents when workers are:
- Consulted on the best Personal Protective Equipment
- Educated on why it’s needed
- Given input on its use
WE’VE GOT YOUR BACK AT LION
We have a wide variety of safety supplies, workwear and PPE available on our site. Find products that not only provide the right level of protection, but which appeal to your team’s need to be comfortable and agile, to stay cool and look cool. Our ethos is: safety wear should never have to be a compromise.