Maybe This Story is a Bit Too Dramatic but Maybe Not?
By: Rich Gojdics
“We need new electrical PPE.” “Oh, okay, I’ll order some, what size?” It’s an endless cycle. Employees need electrical PPE, you order from the same vendor. Over and over. Sadly, it’s also a vicious cycle. You order the same PPE, you know, the kind everyone hates. The kind that is so uncomfortable, so unbearable to wear, is a hassle to put on, and difficult to complete work in. You wait weeks or months for delivery and it finally comes. You think to yourself, “great. We’re protected.”
Why? Because that’s how it’s always been.
That is, until a worker, so unhappy with the PPE, thinks to himself, “I can just get this quick job done, it’s more of a hassle to put this suit on than it’s worth.”
Then all of the sudden you hear a loud Boom
You go rushing to the sound; it’s not pretty. The ambulance comes, you fill out an incident report, you report the injury to OSHA, and everything comes together. The employee didn’t wear appropriate PPE for the job at hand, an arc flash occurred, and his life changed forever.
Not only is the accident tragic—best case scenario without the proper PPE (aside from a near miss), your employee spends weeks in the hospital recovering from second and third degree burns and months thereafter getting skin grafts living in agonizing pain.
This isn’t even to mention the cost such an incident will have on your business. The OSHA fine of $13,260 for a ‘serious’ violation only scratches the surface when you add medical bills, legal fees, lost production and many other intangible costs you could be looking at hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.
Beyond money, an incident like this could negatively impact your reputation and employee moral will suffer. An OSHA press release, articles in the local newspaper, and complaints about your business on social media from the family about your “shoddy” business practices that caused this. Word travels fast and your reputation is forever tarnished.
Here’s the thing. Maybe this story was a bit too dramatic, maybe it wasn’t. However, if you’ve ever caught and reprimanded an employee for failure to wear the appropriate PPE, you avoided this situation. However, it may be time to step back and look at the root cause of the issue.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different outcome—how often have you had to reprimand or speak with your employees for electrical PPE violations?
Maybe, just maybe, your employees are putting themselves at risk because the PPE you’ve given them is so unbearable, they’d rather take on or ignore the risk then wearing the same uncomfortable and restrictive PPE you’ve been ordering for years.
At Enespro PPE, our goal from the start was to truly listen to what electricians want and produce PPE with much more comfort, breathability, mobility and convenience to help safety professionals increase compliance to hopefully help avoid situations like this.
That’s why we’re here. If you are sick of the status quo in electrical PPE, if your employees are sick of you ordering the same PPE time and time again, give us a look. We have years of experience in the electrical safety industry where we talked with hundreds of companies, just like yours, about what they need from PPE. All of this feedback, your feedback, was used to design lightweight, comfortable, breathable, flexible and innovative PPE that never sacrificed safety.
Get to know us and get to know our products, including our AirLite 40 CAL suit that is so lightweight and comfortable, many companies use it for CAT 2 tasks. Your employees will thank you for it!
PPE Adherence and Safety Culture: Hear Them Out
Workarounds, shortcuts, and ignored PPE requirements are three symptoms of the same disease—a lack of safety culture. When employees don’t feel that their opinions are valued, behaviors start to slip, quickly derailing your safety program and creating a different type of culture, a hazard culture. However, not all is lost. Why aren’t workers wearing PPE? Why are they taking shortcuts? How can you help them? One of the many steps to developing a culture of safety is to listen to workers’ concerns, as discussed in our latest guide, Developing a Culture of Safety
Developing a Culture of Electrical Safety explores the differences between a compliant program and a true culture of safety while offering tips that can make your people safer. Preview this guide below and download it here.
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