Wear It Or You Could Lose It.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

It started with a blog on LinkedIn.  Frank Fasano Jr.  VP of Operations at F&F Industrial Equipment Corp. had posted “A guide to personal protective equipment”, http://fandfindustrial.com/blog/guide-to-personal-protective-equipment/, which I recommend for you to read.

This led to a brief discussion on getting people to wear their PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and the challenges involved accomplishing that goal.  The consensus is, when a company gives you PPE to wear and tells you it’s part of your job, there are very good reasons for it.  They are making a financial investment on equipment to ensure you get to go home the way you arrived at work, in one piece!

There are two main ways you can go on this:

1-  Training:  Safety training is an important tool to combat complacency with wearing their protective gear.  It keeps safety in their minds and thoughts continually.  Don’t skip or skimp on safety meetings,  what ever your company policy or practice.  If the policy is that you hold a monthly meeting, there is NO EXCUSE not to have them.  You can make them more interesting by involving staff in presentations or have a guest speaker from your insurance company, safety professional or another department head.  I know it’s extra work but you can also do a power point presentation once in a while that really grabs their attention.  They really don’t take that long to do.  You can also keep reinforcing safety with tailgate meetings that are weekly or less and are 5-10 minutes and can be used to address what you’ve recently observed in warehouse.

If the practice on safety at your company is lax and no one cares if you hold safety meetings or not, that is even more of a reason to hold them.  Document the meetings by writing a short description of what was covered and attach it to the sign in sheet used to document who attended the meeting.  Then keep them in a safe place since you’ll never know if they’ll help you down the road.  No matter how lax the company is you should never stop your vigilance on safety.  Preventing an injury is so much easier and rewarding to deal with than the regrets and “should haves” if someone was to be injured or worse.  Don’t ever let anyone deter you from keeping a safe working environment.

2- Discipline: No one likes to hear this word but it’s for your defense as well.  If you don’t enforce the PPE company rules and an employee gets injured, you can be sued as well as the company.  Your position on this is as I used to tell my staff daily, “You came in this morning with all your parts and I want you to go home with all your parts.”.   Discipline doesn’t have to be brutal either.  If I came across an employee at the beginning of the shift not properly wearing their eye protective gear, I would remind them in a non threatening manner,  “Those are eye protectors not forehead protectors”.  You don’t always know what kind of start they’ve had that day.  Maybe they ran into an unexpected traffic jam, or they’re worried about the rumors of a slow down at the plant or they’re just worried about the Giants maintaining the one game lead over the Dodgers in the standings.  If I saw them a second time that day I’d jot myself a note about it after a stern reminder and a third time earns a chat in HR and a verbal or written warning.  Don’t ever be quiet about safety.  Looking the other does NOT gain you points but insisting tells employees you care about them and the company.

There are so many resources out their to help you keep employees safe while working.  Check them out and remember to protect yourself from liability and protect them from injury.

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