PPE: Small Investment with A Big Return

In my years of working with various companies, I’ve found a lot of reasons to appreciate well-made, quality, personal protective equipment (PPE). By “well-made,” I’m referring to PPE that meets the safety requirements AND is actually comfortable, economical and easy to wear. For PPE to be effective, workers must wear it. And they’ll be more likely to wear something that is comfortable. (But you should never sacrifice comfort for safety.) It’s a rare product that satisfies all the above criteria.

Due to all the training events, expos and trade shows that I’ve attended, I acquire a sea of products to sample. I almost feel like a PPE testing laboratory at times. I’ve tried adorable, bright orange framed safety glasses that fogged up the second the humidity rose a fraction of a notch. Fail.  A type of hearing protection I tested once (billed as, “World’s Most Effective Hearing Protection”) really did work overtime to prevent hearing loss, because the device actually swelled in my ears and became nearly impossible to remove without surgical assistance. FAIL.  

And safety shoes? In general, they are cumbersome, expensive and well…my female side screams, “ugly”… especially if they are also “slip resistant.” Sigh. What’s a girl to do?

The answer was found in a recent networking exchange with a fellow safety professional at Bottomline Safety, the authorized distributor of the original Wilkuro Brand Safety Toes. The product is simply excellent, offering both high quality toe protection and slip resistance. You’ll also find them to be economical (roughly, 30 bucks) and not ugly or cumbersome. Simply slip on over your existing shoes and you’re good to go. A great option for those in and out of hazardous facilities, such as visitors and vendors.

You can read more about Wilkuro Brand Safety Toes here and see if they meet your facilities needs. (Make sure you check out the product’s testing results from various independent labs). (Go to the “more info” under the product and then hit, “Technical specs” tab for several PDF’s detailing the product’s integrity).

Additionally, you’ll find a few blogs that I’ve posted on their site. As part of our networking, Bottomline will also provide a few guest posts on here from time to time and offer industry news and info on forthcoming PPE.

One of the articles I wrote for their site, “The Case for PPE: Protecting Workers and Your Bottom Line from Costly Injuries and Penalties” is worth a read, especially if you’ve gotta “sell” the idea of PPE to workers or budgeting departments. Here’s a brief expert:

The overall benefits of a strong personal protective equipment (PPE) program are quite profound. For a relatively small investment in proper equipment, you can minimize exceedingly costly injuries and excessive OSHA penalties, as well as boost workplace morale and productivity.

Although the big push is currently on saving money and reducing expenses, every employer needs to understand why stepping up the efforts toward a better PPE program is worthwhile and even vital.

The Impact of PPE on Injury Rates

According to NIOSH statistics, there are approximately 2,000 daily reported eye injuries in the workplace and roughly a third of these are serious, requiring emergency medical care. Common sources of work-related eye injuries include ocular contact with dust, small particulates, chemicals or objects. In most cases, eye injuries can be prevented (or significantly minimized) when employees wear the correct personal protective equipment.

In one study cited by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Work Injury Reports (WIR), as many as 70 percent of work-related hand injuries could have been prevented if workers were wearing gloves, while the remaining 30 percent of injuries resulted from wearing poorly selected or damaged equipment. Likewise, eye, head and foot injuries were also evaluated in-depth, with similar conclusions discovered.

Apart from the impact injuries have on workers’ health and wellbeing, these events are fiscally detrimental to the workplace. A few too many foot, head, hand or eye injuries and employers can find themselves in a high-risk insurance pool.

Additionally, excessive injuries can trigger OSHA inspections and incite penalties.

You can find the rest of the article on Bottomline Safety’s Blog, along with other industry news. Check out their site for frequent updates and info.

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