Day to day business can be challenging enough, so keeping up to date on the latest safety practices and gear can fall a little lower on your priority list than it should. We’re here to help. Read on to see if you’re making any of these common safety mistakes in your workplace (and what to do about it).
1. What Instruction Manual?
While some types of safety equipment seem pretty simple to use, it is crucial to read the manufacturer’s instructions for every item. Here you’ll find information like the conditions in which you should (and shouldn’t) use the equipment, how to adjust the size and information on when it’s time to retire worn product.
2. Daily Inspections. Check!
Employees should receive training on how to inspect every piece of personal protective equipment (PPE) they are required to wear. Commonly overlooked items are hard hats, fall arrest equipment and fire-resistant (FR) coveralls. Here’s what to look for:
- Hard hats: Look for dents, cracks, deep scratches or even faded areas and check that the suspension is intact.
- Fall arrest: Make sure to check the webbing, buckle, rope and hardware for any signs of wear like frayed edges, loose grommets and any defects to the hardware.
- FR coveralls: Look for thin spots, holes, open seams and nonfunctional closures. Pay special attention to elbow and knee areas as these are often the first to show signs of wear and tear.
3. Keeping it Clean
Keeping your facility’s PPE clean increases its lifespan and contributes to its performance. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to care for and clean each type of equipment in your facility.
4. Knowing When to Let Go
Damaged equipment that cannot be repaired needs to be replaced. Period. Some overlooked items that need to be replaced regularly are fall arrest equipment that’s been involved in a fall and, in some instances, items that are heavily soiled and cannot be cleaned.
5. Changing Conditions
It’s important to talk to your product representative about changing conditions in your workplace so they can help you find the right safety equipment for the job. For example, if you ask about safety glasses, your sales rep will likely show you a wide variety they have available. However, if you also discussed that there is a lot of fine dust in your facility, your sales rep might recommend safety goggles instead.
6. One Size DOESN’T Fit All
Compliance with PPE is a big hurdle for many facilities, and it’s not usually because workers don’t put it on at the beginning of their shift. Often, workers remove their PPE during the day because it’s uncomfortable, but then forget to put it back on.
You can improve compliance by providing a wider selection of PPE so your team has access to equipment they find comfortable, and are more likely to wear all day.
7. Making it Tough to Say No
Some employees may find it difficult to raise concerns about damaged PPE because they don’t want to cause a fuss or they’re worried they’ll be blamed for damaging it. You should make it clear to your team that it is much better for them to discuss their concerns with you than it is for them to get injured.
Is your facility’s safety program working as well as it could be? From hearing to eye protection, using safety equipment that’s in tip-top shape is crucial to maximize its effectiveness and ensure your workers are protected.