Do I really have to wear PPE? It’s something most managers and supervisors have heard before. Do I have to wear this? Do I really have to wear that?
The answer is almost always the same: Yes. Yes, you do have to wear the stuff that’s specifically designed to keep you safe when you’re at work.
And it’s not just middle managers filling their days either. There are real dangers in the workplace — just take a look at these statistics from last year.
Incidents Related to PP
That’s too many injuries. Way too many injuries. Now, we know that PPE cannot prevent every single injury but some certainly could.
Unfortunately, there’s still a lot of people who, for whatever reason, do not want to wear PPE when at work. In this blog, we’re going to look at why the thinking behind that decision that PPE just isn’t necessary.
There’s a lot of common excuses for why people don’t wear PPE and we’ve heard them all a million times before.
Here are the ones we hear the most, along with a short explanation for why they’re nonsense.
Quick jobs don’t really need PPE
Accidents don’t care how quick your job was supposed to be. All it takes is a split second for something to go wrong and you’re left dealing with the consequences.
We know that PPE can seem like a hassle but it’s a hassle that’s designed to save your life.
So, stop telling yourself that you’ll be done in a few minutes and go get your PPE.
PPE is against my beliefs
This is probably the most challenging excuse employers have to deal with. What do you do when using PPE goes against an employee’s deeply held beliefs?
For example, how would you respond if a Hindu worker objected to wearing leather gloves?
While employers should always try and find a safe compromise with their employees, the legislation is plain and straightforward. The Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at Work Regulations 1992 contain no exemptions for religious, medical or other grounds.
The only caveat we know of refers to Sikh workers on construction sites, who are not required to wear head protection due to the Employment Act 1989.
PPE stops me doing my job
Twenty years ago, you might have had a point. Protective gear was big, bulky and disruptive to workers.
However, since then manufacturers have ploughed money into the development of new materials and better designs.
Take cut-resistant gloves as an example. Many workers still think that wearing chunky gloves will cut down their grip and dexterity, making it more difficult to complete basic tasks.
Well, that’s simply not the case.
Decent gloves are thinner, lighter, more flexible and more comfortable than ever before. They’re specially designed to not inhibit a worker’s actions and let you get on with what’s important.
It Could Save Your Life
At the end of the day, I think it comes down to perception. Contrary to popular belief, businesses do not force their employees to wear PPE because of some dogmatic love for rules and regulations. They do so because PPE provides one final line of defence between a person and injury.
Without suitable PPE, employees are at greater risk of serious injury and that simply isn’t acceptable.
So, next time you wonder whether PPE is necessary just put it on.