Imagine not being able to see family or enjoy special moments with friends and loved ones. That’s the reality of many employees who severely injure themselves or lose their lives due to a workplace incident. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 4,764 workers died on the job in 2020.
In addition, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 1.5 million workers severely injured themselves. Personal protective equipment (PPE) can help prevent your employees from adding to these statistics. But PPE only works if your employees wear it! One tactic to get employees to use their PPE is to stress the importance of safety in ways that will hit home with them. Essentially, your employees’ outlook on PPE might change if you focus on improving your safety culture.
Safety Culture Club
What’s the safety culture like in your workplace? Depending on your safety culture, employees may be more likely to sport PPE.
Here are a few tips to help ramp up your safety culture and convince employees to wear their PPE in your workplace:
Don’t be the safety police. While it may be easier to be the safety police, understand that employees may respond better to a safety culture that shows appreciation for hard work and rewards safety. The goal is to get employees to wear their PPE because they want to, not because they have to.
Pull on employees’ heartstrings. Instead of disciplining employees for not wearing their PPE, get them to see the bigger picture. For example, have employees sit down and write a letter to their closest friends and family. Tell them to write what they’d say to a family member if they were severely injured on the job. Of course, employees shouldn’t provide the letter to their loved ones. Instead, have them explain how they felt during the exercise. The end result: employees will understand the importance of wearing their PPE.
Reinforcement works. A supervisor who stops work to immediately correct hazardous conditions or practices (like not wearing PPE) should help demonstrate the importance of safety to the workers. However, positive reinforcement by recognizing safe practices is just as important.
Provide positive feedback. While corrections may be necessary, you do not want all interactions to be negative. Occasionally stop to compliment workers on how well they are following safe procedures by wearing the appropriate PPE. Delivering positive feedback also goes a long way towards promoting desired behaviors. And a small gift card or other token doesn’t hurt either!
Encourage PPE Usage With These FREE Eye-Catching Posters
OSHA’s PPE Standard at 1910.132 provides you with a handful of requirements you need to follow to keep your employees safe. However, it’s important you go beyond the regulations to protect your employees.
Everyone is responsible for safety in the workplace. If you recognize safety and reward employees, they’ll likely be more diligent about wearing their PPE. In the end, everyone benefits from being safe on the job!
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