Does Safety Equipment Really Work?
The priority of any project manager is the safety of his workers and everyone on site. With this consideration in mind, it is essential to ensure that the appropriate safety equipment is worn at all times, but is this level of concern warranted? Is there really any need for safety equipment to be worn at all times?
We’ve compiled a number of statistics from the Safety & Health Practitioner (SHP) Online to help us answer this question. Throughout the piece, we’ve used their study for a number of our featured statistics.
The Facts of the Matter
98% of employees claim to have seen colleagues without the correct safety equipment on site.
These statistics go some way to unearthing the true feelings of workers about their safety equipment. With 98 per cent of employers claiming to have seen colleagues without the correct safety equipment on site, and 30 per cent claiming to have seen employers repeatedly without the right gear, we can see that industry standard safety equipment leaves a lot to be desired.
The most pressing question as a result of these statistics is why there is such a dislike of safety equipment. With poor fitting and ugly designs among the most common responses for why workers refuse to wear safety equipment, it is clear to see that the majority of workers believe that safety equipment does not make a difference, despite its importance. Appearance and comfort do not detract from importance, and they should not be the deciding factors when workers decide to ignore them.
Safety Equipment Presents Proven Improvements in Safety
9% of all workplace injuries are head injuries. Workers are struck by falling objects 50,000 times per year in the US.
A further look at SHP’s study will give any worker who opts not to wear safety equipment some food for thought. With 9 per cent of all workplace injuries coming as a result of knocks to the head, the importance of a protective helmet cannot be understated. Workers are struck by a falling object over 50,000 times per year in the US, and an industry standard hard hat will absorb some of the force of a dropped or falling object, significantly reducing the severity of any injury.
The most effective form of protection is prevention, which is why lanyards tying tools to workers are even more effective than hard hats. A standard wrench can produce over 2,800 pounds of force per square inch from a 200 foot fall, which is almost guaranteed to cause a fatality. However, with tools being tied to workers, this fall is far less-likely, if not completely implausible.
99% of noise-induced hearing loss cases are preventable with the use of ear-defenders. 90% of eye injuries can be prevented with the use of protective eyewear.
Construction sites can be loud places, hence why earmuffs and defenders are a vital piece of any worker’s uniform. The fact that 99 per cent of noise induced hearing loss cases are preventable provides even more reason as to why this piece of safety equipment should not be ignored. The same can be said for eye injuries; 90 per cent of these problems can be prevented by wearing protective goggles or glasses.
84% of employees who sustain a head injury at work were not wearing the proper PPE.
Unsurprisingly, injuries to the head are among the most severe. 84 per cent of employees who sustain a head injury at work were found to have not been wearing the proper equipment. Clearly, the evidence behind the effectiveness of safety equipment at helping to prevent head injuries cannot be disputed; wearing head protectors significantly reduces your chances of sustaining a severe injury.
Our aforementioned statistics and studies certainly raise a few questions… Is the lack of PPE application down to employees or employers? What is going to make workers more inclined to wear their safety equipment? Thoughts of scare-mongering and fines come to mind, as a result of the positive approach most employers take lacking the appropriate results thus far. Safety measures are designed to keep workers safe, and yet a large number of people choose to ignore the rules and regulations.
Charles Wilson Engineers Ltd have a huge selection of safety equipment available to contractors all over the UK. For more information on all of our products and services, contact us today on 01582 763 122 or leave us a message via our online form.