EHS Management

10 Tips Toward PPE Compliance

A recent survey from Kimberly-Clark Professional reveals that many employees aren’t wearing required personal protective equipment (PPE).

How about your workers? Are you sure they’re always wearing assigned PPE?

Here are 10 tips to encourage their compliance:

1. Establish and consistently enforce your policy requiring the use of assigned PPE. Make sure all employees are aware of the rules and the consequences of noncompliance (in addition to the potential for injury or illness).

2. Talk about PPE when appropriate in safety meetings. Identify hazards and explain how specific PPE is designed to protect against those hazards.

3. Ask employees to give their personal reasons for wearing PPE. These might include getting home safe and sound to their families, avoiding disability or disfigurement, or because it’s the smart thing to do.

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4. Make the analogy with fitness and healthy lifestyles. Employees do many things like exercising, eating right, and getting medical checkups for their health. Why not wear PPE for their health, too?

5. Ask for employee input concerning PPE. Listen to complaints and reasons for noncompliance.

6. Post appropriate signage. In each work area, hang signs indicating which PPE is needed.

7. Point out that professional athletes wear PPE. This might appeal to younger males, who are among the greatest risk takers in the workplace. Emphasize that they won’t see NFL or hockey players on the field or on the ice without their PPE, and those guys certainly aren’t wimps.

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8.  Provide statistics and descriptions of accidents that have occurred in your workplace or your industry because workers weren’t wearing required PPE. Some employees will respond to this approach; others may not, thinking it won’t happen to them.

9. Make sure supervisors monitor PPE use daily. They should check for compliance among all of their employees and not overlook noncompliance—by any employee for any reason.

10. Use progressive discipline on repeat offenders. The carrot is usually better than the stick, but with chronic violators, you must be prepared to use the stick.
You probably have other strategies you use to encourage PPE compliance. But whichever steps you take, make sure that you’re achieving the goal of 100 percent compliance. Nothing less is acceptable. 

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