For the second year in a row, a survey of safety professionals has found that noncompliance with personal protective equipment (PPE) protocols continues to be an issue in the workplace.
Eighty-seven percent of respondents said they had observed workers failing to wear PPE when they should have been, according to a survey of attendees at the 2007 National Safety Council Congress, conducted by Kimberly-Clark Professional.
The main why” was “uncomfortable” PPE, according to 62 percent of respondents who had observed noncompliance in the workplace. This was followed by: workers thinking PPE was not necessary for the task, PPE was “too hot,” PPE fits poorly, or was “unattractive looking.”
So it’s not surprising that when asked “what” could be improved about the PPE they were currently purchasing, three quarters of survey respondents said they would make it “more comfortable.” Safety professionals also gave the nod to more fashionable PPE. Eighty-four percent said that they would be more apt 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 environmental considerations 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.
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 questionnaires were filled out by 197 safety professionals who reported being responsible for purchasing, selecting or influencing the purchase or selection of, or compliance with, PPE. Respondents were from the following fields: industrial manufacturing, construction, hazmat, emergency response, clean manufacturing, laboratories and science, health care, transportation, law enforcement and government. For full survey results, click here.