The current economic situation is pushing many firms to try and reduce outlay wherever they can. Inevitably Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is one of the areas that will be targeted. It’s up to those managing the use of such equipment to think about how to do this while maintaining a safe working environment for their staff.
So how do you reduce the cost of PPE without compromising safety?
Take Care of It
It seems like an obvious thing, but for many, PPE is seen as disposable. However, proper laundering of gloves and suits can extend the lifespan of such equipment threefold. Careful cleaning removes traces of perspiration and harmful chemicals, as well as everyday dirt and grime that can weaken the fibres. Particles of grit act like sandpaper, eating away at the fabric every time you move. Other substances and chemicals will do damage over time as well, so clean them out and protect the equipment that’s protecting you.
Talk to Your Staff
The people using your PPE are the experts in what they’re doing. They’ll be able to offer fresh insights that could bring you savings. Ask them how they perform their daily tasks and what critical factors are associated with each. It may be that you’re buying equipment that simply isn’t required.
Consider also the way they work. For example, if staff have concerns about the effectiveness of PPE, they may perform their tasks in a less efficient manner in order to minimise risk to themselves. Reviewing the quality of the equipment may allow them to increase their efficiency.
Look at the Equipment
Consider whether the equipment you’re using is fit for purpose. It’s not just about the protective aspects of clothing; other factors such as comfort are important considerations as well. If clothing makes staff too hot or reduces their manual dexterity, then their performance will be reduced. For example, do they have to remove equipment to do other bits of their job such as inputting data via a keyboard? Is there a way round that?
While better equipment may represent a larger initial capital outlay, savings through improved work speed and staff confidence, as well as reducing a number of times they have to spend divesting equipment for comfort, can increase efficiency with major cost savings as a result.
Think about Distribution
A good equipment distribution policy can save a lot of money in the long run. If staff have uncontrolled access to PPE, there’s a risk that equipment will be taken more often than needed, discarded prematurely, or poorly cared for. A more controlled system ensures the right equipment is given to the right people, and that each item is used to its maximum lifecycle and no longer than is safe. It also allows you to monitor the life expectancy of equipment, review sources and supply accordingly.
PPE will not remove the risk to the individuals, but may prevent life changing harm if used in the correct way. And this is the raison d’être of PPE after all. Whilst injuries are unpleasant for those involved and must be avoided, smaller injuries can be trivialised both by the organisation and by the staff too. However, even small injuries such as cut and burns can cost productivity by causing staff absence or downtime. Keeping thorough Health and Safety audits while analysing risk regularly, will help your company to tailor its PPE requirements to provide the best protection for the least cost.
Keep Training up to Scratch
Staff training is a key area when it comes to business efficiency, so don’t be afraid to keep improving it. Nothing stays the same. Technology changes and so do working practices. Keeping staff up to date on the most efficient ways of working is something that should be done constantly through ever-improving training regimes, as should proper care and maintenance of PPE.
Speak to us at Hazchem Safety for all the information you need about personal protective equipment for your industry. We’ll help you to review your needs, and suggest the best solutions to reduce costs without scrimping on safety.