Things To Consider Before Asking PPE Suppliers For Advice
Because as the diversity of safety equipment rises, so does the ability to make the wrong choice. For businesses making the wrong choice when choosing personal protective equipment can often spell disaster, with not only employees potentially being injured, but also expensive compensation clams and damaged brands and reputations presenting long term issues.
This is why PPE suppliers have been experiencing a marked increase in the number of both enquiries and requests for help, support and advice in choosing the right equipment. It isn't just choosing the right equipment for the risk either which is the problem. Often businesses have discovered that choosing PPE equipment which is not fully compatible can also cause a range of problems.
For example, a business may have sought advice on choosing the most effective and appropriate form of respirator for workers exposed to harmful gasses or fumes, and the business may also have sought advice on choosing the best safety glasses to protect workers' eyes. But it is only in the practical application that a business may realise that the safety glasses do not fit over the respirator, and are therefore unsuitable through compatibility problems.
PPE suppliers need to be able to offer advice for a whole range of different risks and combinations of risks, and businesses need to be able to identify those PPE suppliers with the breadth and depth of experience and knowledge to be able to offer the best advice for each situation. But there are a few things which businesses can do to help improve the overall likelihood of making the right choice, and also ways to help make sure that the advice they receive from PPE suppliers is appropriate.
After all, as in the example of the respirators and safety glasses, it isn't the fault of the PPE supplier if the two items are incompatible if the business never provided the information that the two would be used together in some cases. Legally it is the responsibility of the business to get it right, and it will most certainly be the business who will be held accountable in the event of an accident or injury which could have been avoided had the right safety equipment been used. Seeking advice from PPE suppliers is highly recommended, but think about the following key points before calling, to make sure that the advice and recommendations you receive really are the best option for you.
1. When asking for advice about a particular item of safety equipment, such as safety goggles or gloves, think about whether there are ever likely to be circumstances when the equipment is likely to be worn in conjunction with other safety equipment. High visibility jackets and safety gloves, safety goggles and hard hats or ear defenders and hard hats can all represent potential problem combinations which need to be thought about in advance.
2. When thinking about purchasing personal protective equipment make sure that the specific circumstances have been considered. It is easy to assume that high visibility jackets are always suitable, but it may be that yellow hi-viz jackets may be the worst choice, as the environment may be pale yellow - such as working in certain quarries. In such cases green or even orange may be a better choice. When seeking advice from PPE suppliers make sure you describe the environmental conditions and locations in which the equipment will be worn.
3. Think about who will be wearing the equipment, and when. If a range of people may potentially be wearing the equipment, you may need to be looking for adjustable items. If you're thinking of providing high visibility jackets to personnel, think about the seasonal conditions they may be working in. After all, buying a thick jacket may be ideal for winter but wholly inappropriate for summer. These are issues you need to think about before seeking advice from PPE suppliers who are, after all, not required to be psychic when it comes to offering your business the best advice!
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