OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is a government agency that ensures that all employees work in a safe environment with the right protection. Though OSHA standards are there to keep you safe, that doesn’t mean you have to stop there. These rules are the benchmark and starting point to ensure employee safety. Companies have to comply with all OSHA standards; if they don’t, they could end up in serious legal trouble.
Why PPE is Essential
Personal Protective Equipment is one of the first lines of defense to prevent bodily injury. Therefore, you need the right products to avoid serious problems and even death. Though you’re likely to think of safety glasses or steel-toe boots as PPE, you’ll find other pieces that are equally as important, depending on the industry in which you work.
The newest PPE products allow companies to comply with and surpass OSHA standards. This will greatly benefit employees and company heads alike.
Chemical- and Flame-Retardant Clothing
Two of the fastest-growing PPE include flame- and chemical-resistant clothing. Since there has been an increase in on-site deaths, specifically because of chemicals and fires, there is a need for such items of protection. Most companies now acknowledge this freely. Fire departments often partner with flame-resistant clothing manufacturers to protect life and maximize safety precautions. You’ll also find that new safety regulations are going to require that safety clothing be upgraded.
There will also be a greater focus on gear that is protective against particulate matter and radiation. Traditional mechanical protective clothing is limited to general use needs. However, clean-room products will protect against much more as well as regular usage.
Anyone who has ever had to wear personal protective equipment knows that it isn’t very comfortable. Safety glasses could pinch the nose or ears, and steel toe shoes are likely to hurt the sides of your feet or may not have adequate arch supports. Therefore, it’s no wonder that PPE can use help in the comfort area.
Safety shouldn’t have to be compromised to help your employees be comfortable while wearing it. If your employees aren’t satisfied, they are bound to rush through tasks to be able to get out of the clothes faster. This could cause damage to your systems and machines, but it could also cause them to be negligent and get hurt.
With the technological advancements out there, heavy isn’t synonymous with safe any longer. You can now work comfortably and pay full attention to your task instead of thinking about how heavy the clothes are. This ensures that you are safer while you work.
Along the comfort aspect, respirators are also likely to see an upgrade. These systems were quite heavy for various reasons. Plus, it was harder to move around while wearing them. Companies are now looking to replace old, uncomfortable equipment with items that are user-friendly and lightweight.
Compliance and Style
Though most company owners don’t think of style as being important for worker health and happiness, it’s an essential part of the PPE’s design. If an employee’s clothes look bad, it affects their desire to wear it. They may rush through the job to be able to remove the clothes sooner or may choose a different career altogether. With advancements in technology, workers can now select items that will protect them while making them look good. Everyone is happier with this outcome.
Employers require safety solutions that will focus primarily on compliance. However, they have to understand that employees need to be happy and content with the personal protective equipment they must wear. A worker is more likely to wear PPE when they can request customizations that meet their particular style need. This can include a special design or size. Regardless of what it is, employers should be happy to oblige so that employees want to wear the equipment, and the company can stay compliant.
One of the biggest trends for 2019 includes wearables and smart PPE. It’s shaking up the whole industry, which is a good thing. There is plenty of data gathered and used to find out what workers want and how to keep them safe. Some companies have already chosen to use wearables and smart PPE to increase employer safety.
Smart PPE is technologically-advanced and can connect to various systems using Bluetooth technology. This connectivity option means that the device can send real-time information to supervisors in case of a problem. You can, in a sense, track employee safety and health to provide quick action if an accident occurs. Therefore, you’re creating a safer work environment.
Benefits of Wearables and Smart PPE
Using such smart PPE can save time and improve productivity using connections, remote communication, and live updating.
Sensors are part of this, which automates processes. You can have a sensor inspect a container frequently and monitor them to determine if there are changes or leaks. This means your employees can focus on other things.
The new trend is to keep workplaces as safe as possible and more compliant. With the innovations of smart PPE and these new trends, this is possible. Many companies are already taking advantage of these trending options.
Though OSHA isn’t likely to require these changes for a few more years, you can ensure that your employees are safe. When there are fewer accidents, people are more comfortable and willing to work. While you must comply with OSHA standards, going above and beyond is a great way to show your employees that you care about their health and safety.