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TALK #18

PPE – What it “Says” About Your Safety Program

PPE, of course, stands for Personal Protective Equipment. PPE includes hard hats, safety glasses, work boots, dust masks, face-shields and any number of other protective items.

What PPE is used, or not used at a project, says a lot about a company’s safety program as a whole.

A trained safety professional, who’s made thousands of construction jobsite safety inspections, remarked that he usually knows what kind of inspection results he’ll find at any particular jobsite within the first 30 seconds of his inspection just by noting if the workers on site are wearing PPE, or not.

He notes further, “If I walk onto a site and I quickly see that all employees and subcontractors are wearing hard hats, even though there might be NO overhead work at all, I’m confident that I’ll find a jobsite that is very safety conscious and likely will find very few safety violations.”

“On the contrary, if I walk onto a site and I quickly see an obvious lack of personal protective equipment, I’m equally confident that I’ll find a jobsite that is likely full of safety violations, sometimes including very serious safety violations.”

What would this safety inspector discover about PPE use in his first 30 seconds while inspecting your site?

  Yes/ No
Are Hard hats worn all the time by all employees and subcontractors? ___
Can you find site workers cutting, grinding, etc without safety glasses? ___
Are all site workers wearing the proper work boots and clothing? ___
Are fall protection harnesses worn, but not tied off? ___
Do you allow any exceptions to PPE rules on your site? ___

PPE is the first defense against accidents. But maybe even more important, proper PPE use can set the tone for a safe jobsite or workplace. Its constant use tells all involved that these individuals and companyies are serious about working safely.

Proper PPE use is critical to the long-term success of most company safety programs. Don't ever compromise with your employees or subcontractors when it comes to PPE compliance.

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