Seton customer survey highlights key issues in PPE management
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is the primary piece of legislation covering occupational health and safety in the UK. In order for customers like Health and Safety Managers and Facilities Managers to comply with this law, they must have an effective Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) management process.
In order to get closer to customers, Seton conducted a survey to find out more about the management and usage of PPE from a customer perspective. The 106 respondents were from Construction, Education, Manufacturing and Facilities Management sectors with most involved in the purchasing and management of PPE in their organisation.
Of those who actively manage PPE, around half (49%) indicated that managing PPE stock was an issue for them, as often there is no system for monitoring stock levels in place. In addition to this, customers emphasised the importance of ensuring PPE is correctly chosen. Around a third said that operators struggle to identify the correct PPE for the process at hand, and do not always know who to ask for advice about this. Another key area is ensuring that PPE is being correctly worn for the activity being undertaken, with nearly a third (27%) identifying this as a major unmet need. Interestingly, respondents revealed that operators sometimes choose not to wear PPE correctly due to the belief that it hinders productivity, with 42% identifying this as a problem in their workplace.
Sound awareness stations increase awareness and provide operators with guidance on the dangers of sound at work. Stations offer clear instruction of how to correctly fit ear plugs, a mirror to assist with the fitting, and information on the consequences of not fitting as instructed. The station also assists in managing PPE stock – reorder levels are indicated to show when ear plugs are running low, and the update signs identify who to contact for stock replenishment. Using these stations helps to ensure PPE is always available and worn correctly, and provides an easy system for monitoring stock levels.
As part of the sound awareness station or as a stand-alone, PPE update signs can be used to clearly display the name and contact details of those responsible for PPE. This easily solves the problem of the operator not knowing who to ask for advice about the correct PPE for the task at hand.
36% of customers surveyed identified that employees moving between different processes and not wearing the correct PEE as an issue. An easy solution to this is the At Point of Need PPE signs that clearly display PPE messages exactly where they are needed.
The survey uncovered that in some organisations there is a culture of non-compliance amongst operators – a problem raised by 36% of customers. Respondents said that some operators can be very complacent and believe that an accident is unlikely to happen to them, or even that wearing PPE damages their image. PPE awareness mirrors challenge this dangerous culture by increasing awareness of the necessary PPE requirements and reminding employees that they have a responsibility to wear safety equipment.
These innovative solutions have been designed to increase compliance, with the long-term aim of changing attitudes towards PPE usage and management.