What are the biggest issues facing you as a health and safety manager? Is it getting access to the correct PPE and safety workwear or the ability to get buy-in from the people who wear it?
For many it can be both.
In recent blogs we’ve talked about how having your PPE and safety workwear procurement properly managed and consolidating your suppliers can bring a multitude of benefits. But, once you have the correct items in regular and reliable supply, what happens if it still isn’t being used correctly?
Perhaps it could be time to change your health and safety policy.
The right approach to PPE and safety workwear
It’s clear to any health and safety professional that PPE and safety workwear must be worn correctly. Last year it was estimated by the Labour Force Survey that 565,000 working people sustained an injury at work, with a good deal of those injuries preventable, had safety equipment and workwear been used and worn correctly.
Discomfort, lack of training on how to use it and a poor fit are among the main reasons why safety clothing and equipment isn’t worn correctly.
Putting the right training in place can be quite simple, but if an item of safety workwear or equipment isn’t comfortable when worn for long periods of time, then staff may believe that the discomfort outweighs the potential risk of injury.
In tackling the issue of staff not wearing safety equipment and clothing as required, health and safety managers may have to choose between the carrot or the stick approach. The carrot approach would be to offer reward-based incentives for workers to wear PPE and safety workwear correctly, while the stick would be punishment, such as reprimands, fines and dismissals for improper use. However, the punitive approach is generally considered to be ineffective at preventing unsafe behaviour, because it can lead to non-reporting and increase the risk of injury and accident.
There is, however, a third option – getting your workforce to actively want to wear their PPE and safety workwear properly.
Cementing user buy-in to PPE
We’ve discussed the importance of proper PPE and safety workwear training and how you might go about creating the right health and safety policy to ensure its proper use, but, to get your workforce to actively buy-in to wearing it, you must guarantee the following when making your choice of PPE and workwear:
- It is comfortable to wear for long periods of time
- It fits each individual correctly
- It is of the best quality to ensure it doesn’t become worn out too soon or need frequent replacement.
The only way to achieve this is through working with a knowledgeable and specialist safety workwear supplier, who will be aware of all the considerations which must be taken into account and have the ability to design a solution to suit every member of your workforce.
Getting your H&S policy right
Below is a useful checklist of points for health and safety managers to consider when looking to achieve PPE user buy-in:
- Ensure your workforce understands the importance of Health and Safety. Explain the reasons why it’s important to have a comprehensive Health and Safety policy in place, and the risks that can be associated with not having one.
- Identify the specific areas of your current Health and Safety policy that need improvement, and explain why these changes are necessary.
- Involve employees in the process. Encourage them to participate in the process of creating and implementing the new policy by seeking their input and feedback.
- Clearly communicate the changes that have been made to the Health and Safety policy and the rationale behind them.
- Check that all employees are trained and educated on the new policy and its requirements.
- Continuously monitor and review the effectiveness of the new policy, and make any necessary changes to ensure that it continues to be effective in protecting the health and safety of employees.
- Make sure that the policy is easy to understand and follow. Use simple language and provide examples, as well as visual aids to help explain the policy.
- Lead by example. Be a role model and show that you are committed to the new policy by following it yourself and encouraging others to do the same.
- Recognise and reward compliance. Reward employees who comply with the new policy, and encourage others to follow their example.
- Create a culture of safety within the organisation by encouraging employees to take an active role in maintaining a safe and healthy workplace.
Contego Safety Solutions stocks a wide range of corporate workwear, protective clothing and PPE, including our WEARMASTER® range. We also provide a bespoke uniform design and manufacturing service to ensure that you get precisely what you are looking for in a company uniform.
The friendly and expert team at Contego Safety Solutions is always on hand to give advice and guidance on the right PPE and protective clothing for your needs. Contact us now on 0800 122 3323 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your requirements.