The safety of your employees should be top of the priorities list, in bold and underlined. It’s the responsibility of the employer to issue and sustain adequate health and safety measures to protect all workers from discomfort, injury and fatal accidents (it’s the law!).
For a number of workers, there is an imminent danger of contact with chemical, electrical, mechanical, thermal, radiological, and physical hazards, particularly in medium to high risk environments. In addition to regular risk assessments, application of safety systems and suitable health & safety training, all workers should be provided with personal protective equipment appropriate for their role. PPE is the last line of defence against injury.
Issuing personal protective equipment can be the difference between a safe, unharmed workforce and an imminent disaster. The number of significant injuries and fatalities due to defective or absent protection remains severe, which indicates that more needs to be done by employers to prevent further incidents, including penalising those who avoid wearing PPE.
Examples of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):
- Head protection – hard hats, chin straps and bump caps
- Eye protection – safety goggles, brow-guard with visors and face shields
- Respiratory equipment – dust masks, full face masks and breathing apparatus
- Safety clothing – high visibility jackets, gloves and fire resistant overalls
- Foot protection – steel toe shoes, wellingtons and non-slip safety boots
- Ear protection – ear plugs and ear defenders
- Safety harnesses – fall arrest harness and scaffold harness
Facts and Figures
Take a look the statistics about the use of PPE.
What it means for employers
Employers have duties under health and safety laws to determine all the risks and hazards in the workplace. These dangers cannot always be completely eradicated, and therefore need to be controlled, monitored and approached in a safe and systematic way. All workers should be fully consulted on the issues and provided with the appropriate clothing and equipment to ensure full protection.
Action is frequently taken against employers for providing an inadequate level of health and safety provisions leading to accidents, injuries and deaths. This can result in anything from a hefty fine to prison sentences, so it’s important to cover your back as well as your employees, quite literally. Plus, providing correct PPE means that you can help avoid and reduce workplace accidents and sick days, therefore benefitting your business by reducing time and money which is lost reporting accidents and due to the consequences of an accident.
What are the benefits?
- Employee retention – By investing in your employees with advanced PPE, it’ll help enforce the company’s safety culture and show workers they are all valued members of the team. Employees will feel appreciated and respected, which will therefore maintain staff loyalty and improve employee retention. According to an article by Forbes, 66% of people said they are likely to leave their job if they didn’t feel appreciated. High employee turn-over can be costly for a business, so you can save a lot of money by ensuring you provide the best conditions and support for your employees.
Invest a little more and include branding (e.g. logo or contact number) on your employees PPE, which can help advertise your business and help spread the word to the public for those working off-site!
- Improve business prospects – Providing all employees with the correct safety equipment for the job will refrain from a negative reputation being associated with your service. Maintaining a positive name for your business is crucial to running a successful one, and will keep potential clients, customers and partners interested.
People will recognise your safety approach and will want to work for you, meaning you will receive better candidates for vacant jobs and will have the best workforce possible.
- Avoid the bigger implications – Keeping your employees safe is so important in a number of ways. Not only can you be held liable for accidents caused at work, it could develop into fines, prosecutions and prison sentences. Accidents can be costly to a business, not only in this respect but for minor injuries that result in working days lost.
Your focus should not just be on major injury and accidents, but on also minimising as many minor injuries as possible, as even a couple of sick days from employees can cause disaster in the runnings of day-to-day business.