Safety professionals rank PPE noncompliance a top workplace issue
Eighty-seven percent of respondents to a survey of attendees at the 2007 National Safety Council (NSC) Congress held in October, conducted by Kimberly-Clark Professional, Roswell, Ga., said they had observed workers failing to wear PPE when they should have been. Eighty-five percent of safety professionals answered yes to the same question in a similar survey taken by the company at the 2006 NSC Congress.
In the survey, the company asked why people did not comply with PPE protocols and what could be done to alter the risky behaviors.
According to the survey, 62 percent of respondents who had observed noncompliance in the workplace said that the main reason was “uncomfortable.” This response was followed by: workers thinking PPE was not necessary for the task, PPE was “too hot,” PPE fit poorly or PPE was “unattractive looking.”
When asked what could be improved about the PPE they were currently purchasing, 75 percent of survey respondents said they would make it “more comfortable.” Eighty-four percent of the safety professionals also said they would be more likely to purchase fashionable and attractive PPE if workers would be more likely to wear it and the price was comparable to what they were currently paying for similar products.
The survey also explored the effect of green issues on purchasing PPE and other personal safety products.
Ninety-four percent of respondents said environmental considerations and reducing the impact on the environment were important to them. Sixty-four percent ranked these as “very important,” while 20 percent described them as “somewhat important.” Ten percent said environmental factors were “increasingly important now” as compared with a few years ago.
When it comes to green purchases, the top consideration was buying products made with recycled materials. Next was the ability to reuse or recycle products after use. Source-reduced products and packaging and a manufacturer’s overall commitment to the environment were nearly tied for third place. These were followed by:
–Purchasing from one supplier to reduce energy costs resulting from the transport of supplies from different sources.
–Products that are shipped in biodegradable packages with as little packaging material as possible.
–Products manufactured in a “carbon-neutral” facility.
The survey was conducted at the NSC Congress in Chicago on Oct. 16, 2007. Survey questionnaires were completed by 197 safety professionals who reported being responsible for purchasing, selecting or influencing the purchase or selection of, or compliance with, PPE. Respondents’ fields included industrial manufacturing, construction, hazmat, emergency response, clean manufacturing, laboratories and science, health care, transportation, law enforcement and government.