PPE (personal protective equipment) is essential gear for anyone working in a hazardous environment. Anyone from a chef to a construction worker will be required to wear protective clothing when in the workplace to perform their duties safely.
In the end, neglecting the use of PPE can be harmful for both the worker, and the workplace’s reputation.
Protective Workwear Is Important In the Business
Some might see PPE as an inconvenience or nuisance, designed to restrict movement or cause irritation from accidents that never actually occur. However, luck can always run out one day, and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Below are a few listed reasons as to why protective workwear is so vital in the workplace.
1) Law and Legislation
Safeguarding workers is by no means a tacked on extra of a business mandate. It’s not something that can be added to the agenda at the last minute, or only used when an official ruling body demands it of the business. Ultimately, protective workwear must be provided from the very beginning of a business’ operation.
The combined efforts of The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 and The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 each enforce the protection of workers on any worksite. Therefore, the use of PPE is a legal obligation in the UK that every employer must carry out on their premises, and not to do so can lead to substantial fines and even time served in jail.
Additionally, regulations not only apply to the wearing of the protective gear, but also for safe storage and whether it’s ‘fit for purpose’. Ultimately, it’s vital to get it right.
2) Data Accumulation
Irresponsible employers or managers may view the use of PPE as a costly investment that is never quite needed. However, even should no accident ever occur, there are still very productive uses for protective equipment.
Having developed alongside technology through the years, PPE can be outfitted with GPS trackers and cameras, meaning workers can be accounted for at all times. Clearly this is of great benefit to any business, who can keep an eye on employees and monitor their methods and behaviours.
Therefore, PPE can do more than just protect the wearer, but also provide an acute insight into how a business actually runs.
3) The Last Resort
PPE is not the first line of defence. A competent manager or employer will always investigate the work environment to see what can be improved, and what hazards present themselves. This is usually achieved by conducting an audit of the work premises, combing through the workplace to that it is safe.
Consequently, PPE is only introduced when there is no other option or adjustment that can be made to keep workers safe. Put simply, protective wear in the workplace is often the only remaining means of safety available to a worker.
This is true in the construction and science industries, where hazardous materials and chemicals are always present, and their harmful effects can’t be reduced by other means and methods.