Top reasons workers don’t use PPE properly

A large majority of safety managers and coordinators have trouble ensuring workers wear their personal protective equipment, according to a recent survey conducted by PPE provider J.J. Keller Safegear.

Employees most often didn’t wear PPE because they simply didn’t want to, according to the survey. Over 70% of those surveyed indicated employees had communicated that sentiment, while half said employees didn’t think PPE was necessary or that it made the job more difficult.

Respondents to the survey were largely from the manufacturing, transportation and construction sectors, and most of them were responsible for buying PPE as well as training on proper use and ensuring employee compliance.

The survey also identified three major areas of current PPE struggles: sizing, heat and supply chain concerns.

One in three respondents said they struggled to buy PPE in the right sizes — 55% said they needed larger sizes and 41% needed smaller ones. The sizing issue most often related to head and upper body protection; 53% said they had trouble with PPE for both.

Meanwhile, 35% of respondents said they struggled to find PPE to fit female employees. Respondents stressed that finding the right fit is essential: workers should be able to don gear and have it fit comfortably for the entirety of their workday.

Open-ended comments to the survey indicated that managers also struggle to ensure proper PPE usage in heat. A previous J.J. Keller survey found 93% of workers’ environments reach temperatures in which PPE usage could raise the risk of heat illness.

Finally, about half of respondents said they sometimes experienced supply chain delays, which left them without critical protective equipment, and one in four said they experienced them often.

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