Keep Personal-Protection Equipment Close to Work Centers

November 1, 2014

Every year, Kimberly Clark Professional surveys manufacturers on their employees’ use of personal protective equipment (PPE), regarded one of the most challenging issues when it comes to workplace safety. Cited as the most common excuses for noncompliance:

• Uncomfortable

• Too hot

• Blamed for decreased productivity or an inability to perform tasks

• Unavailable near the work task

• Ill-fitting

• Unattractive

Respondents cite eye protection and gloves as the two most challenging PPE to wear. In addition, keeping PPE near the work task will avoid the need for workers to have to stop what they are doing to go to a centralized tool crib or cabinet to find the PPE item they need to get back on the job.

A write-up on presents three scenarios that can play out when manufacturers fail to locate PPE (safety glasses, in this case) close to the job site.

Scenario 1: The worker opts not to go for the glasses, and instead decides to continue working. The employee is in noncompliance and risks a potential injury. And, if an OSHA inspector happens to arrive that day, fines will be levied—injury or not.

Scenario 2: The worker is injured on the job as a result of not wearing the glasses, and misses time on the job for rehabilitation. Here, the employer has one less worker, faces fines from OSHA and experiences lost productivity.

Scenario 3: The worker stops what he is doing and makes the time-wasting walk to the tool crib for safety glasses. The employer avoids fines, but productivity suffers. What if this happens several times per week? Maybe the next time it’s for a new pair of gloves, or maybe ear protection. And what if this happens with several employees throughout the week?

The solution, says Grainger, is point-of-use storage (vending machines) on the floor to give workers immediate access to the PPE they need to work efficiently and safely. It notes that vending-machine use in plants has more than doubled in recent years.



See also: Grainger Industrial Supply

Technologies: Safety


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