The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) in specific workplaces to protect workers against workplace hazards. From helmets to boots, PPE is a critical part of any safety plan.
Surprisingly, an alarming number of workers refuse to wear PPE. In 2016, failure to wear the proper fall protection was among the top frequently cited standards by OSHA. Getting employees to wear PPE can be a challenge for employers. This should not be so, and as OSHA defense attorneys, we are quite familiar with the legal ramifications of failing to comply with federal regulations. Read this article to learn why workers are apprehensive about PPE and the role of the safety officer. Part two will discuss training and PPE policies. Part three will discuss the common misconceptions workers’ have about PPE.
Although PPE is mandated by OSHA, most workers who have experienced on-the-job injuries were not wearing PPE. A shocking number of workers feel that PPE is unnecessary and give a range of excuses as to why they do not wear protective gear. Worker excuses range from equipment being uncomfortable, unavailable, a hindrance to completing tasks, and unattractive. These excuses can be resolved by communicating and educating workers about the importance of PPE and getting them involved in the PPE selection process.
The Role of the Safety Officer
As a safety officer, you are responsible for making sure that all the workers at your site are safe and following safety procedures. As you work to maintain and regulate safety policies, inspect the construction site, and investigate accidents, you will also need to be cognizant of whether workers have access to the proper gear. Some the ways you can help your employees include:
- Making it known to them that you are committed to their safety
- Asking them how you can help them feel safer
- Develop an incentive program
- Provide them the right PPE
- Praise workers that do wear their PPE
- Coach those who do not understand your PPE policies
- Always set an example by wearing the proper PPE
Additionally, you should stand by your policies, make PPE mandatory, and provide ongoing training to your workers.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.