Every seven seconds, a worker in the United States is injured on the job. Many of these injuries could be avoided with the proper use of personal protection equipment (PPE), especially in warehouses and manufacturing facilities. Thanks to PPE, the number of workplace accidents is significantly less than it otherwise would be.
You would think, then, that workers would be more than eager to use or wear PPE as instructed, but this isn’t always the case. PPE can be cumbersome or make certain tasks seem less efficient. Workers will often complain about PPE compliance – or worse – attempt to skirt the rules and not use personal protection equipment properly. Managers can keep their team members safe by learning a few strategies for effectively dealing with employee PPE complaints.
Listen and Find Solutions
If it has been deemed that a workplace situation is dangerous enough to require the use of PPE, then compliance isn’t optional. Because of this, many workers will try to get away with not using PPE rather than taking their complaints to management.
It’s important to maintain an open dialogue about PPE use with your staff, and a big part of this is listening rather than shrugging off their complaints. As their manager, you have a responsibility to keep them safe and working as efficiently as possible, and often there’s a solution if you look hard enough.
For example, if a worker complains that safety gloves make items too slippery or limit their dexterity, a solution might be found in gloves made of a different material or with grips. They keep using the PPE, and their pain points are reduced.
Be a Shining Example
A worker will often ask why they’re required to wear PPE if their manager doesn’t when doing the exact same task – and they have a valid point. Complaints about PPE often stem from a worker noticing that higher-ups aren’t holding themselves to the same standards. The solution to this is simple: Protect yourself and encourage workers to do the same by always using appropriate PPE on the job.
Workers are more likely to feel negatively about PPE if they’ve never been educated on the importance of each piece of personal protection equipment. Take the time to educate your staff on why they’re required to use PPE and be specific in your instruction. Explain why certain materials are important and how they protect better than other alternatives.
If your policy is to sometimes let PPE non-compliance slide, you’re setting yourself up for complaints to come rolling it. Workers will notice if someone else gets away with not wearing it, and they will take that as permission to disregard the equipment themselves – or at least become more aggressive in their complaints. Have an enforcement policy in place and stick to it.
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Educating workers on the importance of PPE is an important part of the onboarding process for manufacturing and warehouse positions. Our staffing specialists are here to help connect you with workers who will demonstrate excellence on the job. Contact Top Notch Personnel to learn more about what our staffing services can offer you today.