Scaled Management Systems

Personal protective equipment (PPE) – Part 1

Achieving compliance is a major obstacle for employees using PPE.

Whether the PPE is supplied simply to achieve legal compliance or is being genuinely provided as the last resort within the hierarchy of control, safety practitioners always struggle with encouraging compliance.

Resistance occurs for many reasons and there are many practical ways to approach the problem.

In this and subsequent articles we’ll take a look at some of the contributing factors to this resistance and strategies that can help manage the problem.

Correct fitting = correct function

There is a simple rule for using PPE; fit means function.

If equipment is too big or too small, it won’t be as effective. If employees find their PPE uncomfortable, they’ll either “forget” to put it on, wear it incorrectly, or be irritable and inefficient while wearing it.

Making sure you’ve consulted & engaged with employees during the early stages of sourcing PPE will assist with your team understanding why it’s needed, how to correctly fit the equipment and maintain it.

Problems concerned with size may not be connected to the whole product, but in components such as strap length, location of closures, or in how & where it is worn.

During the process of sourcing PPE provide employees with enough time to be able to try on various sizes & types of PPE.

Don’t forget PPE manufacturers are required to make products which match either international or Australian Standards, so they are qualified to offer solutions that won’t compromise the PPE’s effectiveness. Additionally, most suppliers of PPE are willing to provide information & training to your employees as part of an overall service package.

So when these strategies are combined with correct fit testing your organisation can maximise the investment in helping employees understand their responsibilities.