Safety is a major concern for all business owners. Every year accidents happen at the workplace. These accidents can destroy lives and devastate families. The expense of these injuries cannot simply be measured with monetarily value. The costs are much higher than just money. While there are medical bills to contend with, workmen’s compensation to deal with, and lost wages. The company has a different perspective and must also factor in, loss of productivity. The employer is responsible to compensate a person who is injured on the job, but business must go on, for the good of all the other families that depend on it. If the injured employee cannot perform his duties, other employees will fill in the gaps, costing the company even more money. These concerns make it important to take every precaution to ensure the safety of the employee. As part of the overall safety plan, personnel are often required to wear personal protective equipment. Let’s look at some of the most common and effective personal protective equipment available.
- Eye Protection – safety glasses, welding shields (also protects the face), prescription safety glasses
- Head Protection – Hard hats
- Foot protection – Non-slip boots, shoes and boots with steel toes, custom footwear for certain industrial applications
- Hand / arm protection – gloves to protect against cuts, chemical burns, heat, and cold
- Hearing protection – earplugs, head-sets
- Body protection – back braces, lift belts, protective aprons, and protective outerwear
Of course, all of these personal protection items are not appropriate for each situation. It is important to evaluate what type of protection is needed for a particular industry. There are different classes, degrees, and standards of personal protective equipment. Incorrect selection offers inadequate protection. It is necessary to ensure that all personal protection equipment is in good repair, well fitting, and up to the current and required standards. Improper fit and use of personal protective gear, will ensure adequate protection.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will provide you with the lists of laws businesses must comply with. Failure to comply will result in citations, fines, and legal prosecution. OSHA also offers safety training, management assistance, publications, and a host of assistance to help. Much of their material is available electronically. They also conduct inspections and point out safety violations, allowing the company time to make corrections. OSHA is on your team. They exist to protect people. They are not the enemy; they have the same goal you do.
The guidelines provided by the government through OSAH, the diligence of the business owners and the use of high-quality personal protective equipment prevents injury and saves lives. It takes the cooperation of everyone from the owner, down to the housekeeping staff to keep everyone safe. Anyone not willing to be involved in that effort is a liability, and must conform, or move on. If an employee does not care enough to protect himself, will he care about protecting the company? This is not an area a company can negotiate on. They are held to legal standards and must comply.