The dangers in skimping on PPE

Inferior Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the workplace could have a negative effect on productivity and a company’s bottom line. A number of companies have been found skimping on the PPE they supply to their staff, resulting in growing concern amid vigorous local and international drives to promote the creation of safer working environments.

Business unit manager of Innovative PPE Solutions, Anton Zwanepoel, cautions companies against being frugal when it comes to PPE.

He says: “Business owners need to alter their perception of PPE as a grudge purchase, to that of an investment in employee safety. This will protect both the company and its employees, as well as lives and money in the long run.”

He adds that poor-quality PPE can impact output and the bottom line if left unchecked. “For example, an ill-fitting conti suit can impede a worker’s ability to do his job properly or even result in accidents. I’ve heard of one incident where a driver wearing an ill-fitting overall hooked the cuff of his suit onto one of the poles used to hoist the sails on the side of his truck, resulting in serious injury,” says Zwanepoel.

Inferior-quality work boots can be more of a hindrance than a help in the workplace. Loose soles or heels have been known to hook onto steps or equipment, also resulting in harm. In addition, employees working with welding or grinding equipment, who have been issued with inadequate safety glasses, run the risk of visual impairment should a spark penetrate the lenses.

“Employees who work in areas characterised by poor visibility need to be equipped with brightly coloured protective equipment. This is especially true for people working at night or on mines and construction sites, where dusty conditions prevail,” adds Zwanepoel.

“Our credo at Innovative PPE Solutions is ‘Safety First’. As a rule, when it comes to PPE, you get what you pay for. We always urge our customers to consider the implications of not investing in top quality gear for their staff. Compensation for Occupational Injury and Diseases (COID) is unlikely to be paid for claims where an accident is caused by negligence,” adds Zwanepoel.

“Ultimately, good quality PPE will ensure a safe work environment and a healthy, productive workforce. After all, our employees are one of our greatest assets and should be treated as such,” he concludes.

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