Written by J. Sundberg
It can sometimes be difficult to get employees to regularly wear their personal protective equipment (PPE)—especially since it’s not always comfortable, and it can be unclear when it’s necessary. As an employer, you should know that you are legally responsible for employees’ safety while they’re at work. That’s why it’s crucial they wear the right PPE.
There are many effective methods you can use to ensure your employees use the PPE you provide:
1. Make your policies clear and easy to remember
If your employees don’t know your safety policies, they’re unlikely to follow them. PPE usage training should occur upon a new hire, when equipment has changed or when procedures have changed. Policies should be regularly communicated and signposted in prominent places.
2. Hold supervisors accountable
Each supervisor should take an active role in making sure their team is working safely and using the right protective equipment. This may include leading training sessions on equipment use or regularly reminding employees of their job-specific PPE responsibilities. Doing the work to help keep employees safe should be included in every supervisor’s job description.
3. Make sure PPE fits individual employees
When PPE is uncomfortable, it’s a significant barrier to having your employees wear it properly and regularly. And usually, uncomfortable equipment is indicative of an improper fit. OSHA requires some pieces of protective equipment to be fitted to the individual on a regular basis. Respirators, for example, need to be fitted annually—at minimum. Fitting is also necessary when employees get a new respirator or experience a major facial change—like a significant weight loss.
Learn more about Respirator Fit Testing.
4. Consult with employees before introducing new PPE
Those who work in specialized positions know the typical hazards of their everyday work better than anyone else. They’re often able to help make good decisions about the types of protective equipment that are appropriate for their job. Giving employees equipment they prefer is also a great way to increase the likelihood they will use it.
Be prepared for the inevitable injury
PPE can help to keep employees safe, but it can’t prevent every injury. Before an accident occurs, you should have a plan for where you’ll bring your employees for injury care. Visit Advanced Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine in Brighton, Northglenn or Fort Lupton, Colorado for quality injury care, assistance with Respirator Fit Testing, or other occupational medicine services.