Personal protective equipment (PPE) is used to protect workers from injury related to contact with chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical, or other workplace hazards. There is a multitude of requirements that vary from industry to industry and the type of material being handled. Plus there are different standards of care set out by OSHA, The American National Standards Institute, Inc. (ANSI), ASTM International (ASTM), among others.
Safety and legal responsibilities for identifying hazards, establishing and maintaining mitigation protocols within the scopes of work fall on both management and employees to ensure the safety of employees and the general public. These protocols are a dynamic system that is part of the daily operations of the business including feedback loops, training and constant commination between management and employees. The attitude of management should not be a “check the box" minimum legal and safety requirement satisfaction goal.
Looking Beyond the Basic Benefits of Proper PPE
Aside from establishing and complying with appropriate PPE protocols, there are intangible benefits restorers might not think much about and are not as easy to measure as safety standards experts on health and PPE product manufactures. Three big ones are:
- Employee morale
- Customer good will
- Strengthening operational discipline.
#1: Employee Morale
By establishing and complying with PPE protocols, with the emphasis placed on promoting health and safety rather than meeting basic standards, companies send a message of concern to their employees. This fosters the building of trust and mutual respect that pays off in higher morale, greater productivity, and lower costs in the long run thanks to fewer (or none!) worker's compensation or injury claims and bills.
#2: Customer Good Will
When customers see appropriate PPE protocols are being used, they feel more confident in the professionalism of the company and that your team has the knowledge needed to get the job done. Perception is very important when working with customers who are dealing with an emergency and hazardous situation. When customers see you care about PPE, this translates to the perception of caring about them and the job being done.
#3: Operational Discipline
When PPE compliance and protocols are followed, it strengthens discipline in other operational areas of the business.PPE compliance is one of the few areas of a business that has no “gray” areas. As a result, it is one of the best places to build discipline that will automatically transfer to areas beyond employee safety. If safety is first, other parts of your workflow will follow suit.
There are the legal and ethical requirements of following proper PPE protocols but let’s not forget about the intangible, harder to quantify, and possibly more beneficial to the bottom line as well. By establishing and maintaining PPE protocols companies can build employee morale, improve customer satisfaction and strengthen overall operational discipline. It can be a powerfully profitable experience.