Be Proactive — Get a PPE Hazard Assessment Today

Be Proactive — Get a PPE Hazard Assessment Today

When Todd Winters gets a call for a personal protective equipment (PPE) hazard assessment, it’s usually because of an injury.

“More often than not, a company is using the cheapest equipment possible,” said Winters, a Safety and Warehouse Equipment Group Product Specialist at IBT Industrial Solutions who routinely performs assessments of plant safety equipment. “The problem is usually that the equipment is not lasting long enough, or that the injury rate is going up.”

7 Reasons to Assess Your PPE — Now

A company may not even realize they’re using the wrong gloves—or eyewear—until it’s too late. Winters said that the 7 most important reasons to do a complete PPE assessment are:

  • Recent injuries
  • New product line
  • New equipment
  • Changes in hazards (chemical or physical)
  • New process
  • OSHA visit
  • Availability of new protective technology

What Happens During a PPE Assessment?

When performing a PPE hazard assessment, make sure that you review all safety data—including all hazards, injury incidents (both recordable and first-aid), controls, current PPE used, cost, and volume.

For his assessments, Winters meets with the Safety Director to review all of this data—then provides a formal report that offers specific recommendations in:

  • Hazard assessment
  • Injury reduction
  • Cost-to-wear ratio
  • New products or technology

Are You Overprotecting?

Occasionally, Winters finds areas where companies are overpaying for PPE—a situation he calls “overprotecting.”

“For example, the safety director at a manufacturer of corrugated products ordered metal mesh gloves to prevent cuts and stop injuries,” Winters said. “The problem is, those gloves are very heavy and don’t allow for fine dexterity movements. It was a real challenge for the employees.”

Winters recognized immediately that the safety director was overreacting to a recent injury, so he suggested a new technology.

“We recommended that his team try out a new glove technology from MCR Safety that has high-level cut resistance, but also great dexterity,” Winters said.  “It not only saved them money, but was more comfortable and efficient for employees.”

Cost-to-Wear Ratio

To prevent this situation, Winters looks closely at a company’s cost-to-wear ratio for each area of PPE—including:

  • Eyes/face
  • Head
  • Hands/arms
  • Feet/legs
  • Skin
  • Body
  • Lungs
  • Ears

He then provides samples, so that the company can test the product for 2-3 weeks before purchasing in volume—or changing standards.

“If I find that a company is using 8 pairs of 50¢ gloves per day, then we may give them a sample of $1.00 gloves to try,” Winters said.  “If they only use 2 pairs of the more expensive gloves per day, then it’s still a better overall value.”

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