Encouraging Your Staff to Use PPE – Key Methods and Approaches

PPE is vitally important to worker safety in any business, and should be treated extremely seriously by leaders. But employees may be less enthused by the prospect of wearing PPE, whether due to personal discomfort or poor understanding. If you are experiencing difficulties with getting your employees onboard with PPE requirements, try the following methods to encourage staff uptake and make your work a safer place.

Mandatory Usage

Health and safety legislation is clear on the employer’s duty to provide adequate PPE to employees, as well as correct training in its use. What may be less clear, however, is the legal burden on employees to wear that PPE. The legislation states that a worker must use the PPE provided to them where a risk assessment has deemed that PPE a necessary response. 

It is easier for an employee to ignore such advice than it is for an employer, and dutyholders are often those held responsible for injuries or failures relating to the wearing of PPE. As such, your business’ internal code of conduct should make clear that the wearing of PPE is mandatory to personnel – with the threat of disciplinary action for non-compliance.

Stocking the Right PPE

One of the leading causes for worker rejection of PPE is the opinion that it gets in the way. Older, more seasoned workers may find their PPE a hindrance, while newer employees may find the PPE provided ungainly and uncomfortable. 

Choosing the right PPE in the first place can help with this; for example, safety footwear needs to be robust and well-sized to fit each individual. Soft soles can exacerbate back strain, and make work more uncomfortable as a result. By choosing strong footwear in the worker’s size, you are providing comfortable support that doesn’t represent a hindrance.

Health and Safety Training

Training is a crucial part of any health and safety programme, and another legal requirement for employers to provide to their staff. Personal protective equipment can come in many different shapes and sizes; giving your employees proper training in the selection and use of PPE can minimise injuries caused by improper usage and ill-fitting equipment alike.

Leading by Example

Lastly, encouragement for staff to use PPE shouldn’t fall in strictly legal territory. You also have a responsibility to your staff as a business leader – and if you manage your leadership right, your staff will look up to you and the decisions you make. 

By this token, leading by example can be an effective and positive way to ensure staff uptake of regular PPE wearing. By visibly wearing PPE around the workplace, even when not legally required to, you can demonstrate to staff the importance of wearing it – and show yourself to be on their level when it comes to wearing it.


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