We all know that providing healthy and safe working conditions is good for employees, business owners and the greater community. The new PPE Regulation (EU) 2016/425, which will be enforced starting 21st April, 2018, will bring many changes to PPE in the workplace. PPE, (personal protective equipment), is any product or equipment intended to be worn or held in order to protect an individual against health and safety hazards. Here are a few changes you should consider making in 2018 to keep up in today’s work world.
Wearable technology is the latest trend for both consumers and in the workplace. This includes devices that you may have once dreamed of and some that are even beyond your imagination! They combine practical function with the most up-to-date technology. Today’s wearable technology is being used to collect and analyse data, thereby making the workplace safer.
Many industries are using sensors and other technology to compile valuable data. This data can be used to increase efficiency as well as making future data based decisions, making it easier to avoid incidents.
The latest generation of personal protective equipment (PPE) includes wireless connectivity. A “vital signs monitor system” could be used to monitor a worker’s temperature or blood pressure. It can be used to track exposure to occupational illnesses, poisons or skin disorders. Technology is also used to improve communication, especially among workers wearing helmets or face masks, or those working in loud environments. Even safety vests can contain wireless or Bluetooth technology. Wireless communication can also assist in monitoring hazardous materials.
Every employee should have an interest in protecting their health and safety. It is critical that an employee using PPE understands why it is required and how it is used. Employees must be educated about what PPE is necessary. They should know how to use their protective equipment correctly, as well as how to care for, and dispose of it and to understand what the limitations are. As new products and technology are implemented, workers must be retrained.
Taking pride in safety leadership starts with safety managers and supervisors. They must take an ongoing active role in keeping workers and the workplace safe. They should encourage participation and communication from the employees and promote good safety habits by example.
There is a clear correlation between reducing accidents and employee engagement. Establishing a safe work environment is the first step, but maintaining that environment over time is also a challenge. When employees are not engaged, they stop paying attention to safety briefings, or take risky shortcuts. Disengaged workers may not report injuries, hazards or concerns. Keeping employees engaged starts with communication and involvement. They should be encouraged to express concerns and opinions without fear of retribution. Inviting employees to safety meetings and discussing proposed changes affects the employee’s attitude and encourages the sharing of important information. Recognise good ideas and hard work. Respect and compassion go a long way towards maintaining employee engagement. This is an ongoing process, but it reduces the workplace risks and improves the workers’ quality of life.
Using software to automate the safety process
Keeping track of all PPE, training and procedures can be overwhelming, but using software to automate the process makes it easier. Software can streamline the collection of data from PPE devices and allows safety managers to see and deal with potential hazards. Incident forms, investigations and reports can be done promptly. It greatly reduces the burden of administrative paperwork and allows supervisors to focus on problem solving. The improved efficiency minimises risk and helps companies stay compliant.
For more information on the (EU) 2016/425 PPE Regulation or for help with your PPE needs, please contact us.