Every Year, the South African Economy bears the cost of up to R 121 billion due to injuries sustained at work, and this is according to a report compiled by trade union Solidarity. It goes without saying then that PPE - Personal Protective Equipment is a must-have and should be given top priority by any industrial employer.
"One of the challenges is to get companies that have employees working in dangerous environments to recognise the benefits of certified PPE and to be aware that the risk of an employee being injured is probably the single largest potential cost to the company in terms of injury compensation," says supplier of leisurewear and PPE, Leisure & Work Safety MD John Marshall.
PPE is last in line when defending against hazardous working environments. "A safety officer will first determine the risk involved in a situation, install mechanical structures to reduce risk, and, finally, consider the type of PPE needed for the particular individuals working on-site," Marshall adds and goes on to say that PPE does lessen the risk of injury or death, thus reducing injury-related compensation.
Marshall believes that a culture change is needed within companies. "Safety officers generally have little decision-making authority to determine the PPE a company buys. Compounding this situation is that it is difficult to quantify cost savings when a company invests in more-expensive PPE as results are not seen immediately. Also, cost savings on safety aspects are seen independently from risk compensation; therefore, companies do not see the overall savings of buying high-quality PPE and tend to buy cheaper products." https://remingtonsupplies.co.za/?s=ppe&post_type=product&dgwt_wcas=1
He also notes that critical developments are being made in PPE, adaptation to industry trends, and business evolution see to this. For example, safety boots have become more advanced in terms of heat-resistant soles able to withstand temperatures of up to 300 °C. While this adds to the initial cost of the product, its life expectancy is increased.
This example illustrates a significant secondary benefit of buying high-quality PPE: the safety equipment will last longer and not be replaced as frequently as the cheaper equipment, saving a company money.
Marshall believes that the industry's adoption of higher technically specified products is a growing trend. For example, the interpretation of 'flame retardant' is different in many countries. "In South Africa, flame-retardant overalls are made of ordinary fibers that are chemically treated. There is a substantial cost implication, as one cannot guarantee how long the overalls will last in uncontrolled conditions. The chemical treatment is affected by different washing and drying processes.
In many international countries, the overalls are manufactured from intrinsically flame-retardant material. This is safer, but it also has a longer life expectancy. This is why I believe the industry is moving towards developing and using more technologically advanced products and high-quality products," concludes Marshall.
Meanwhile, he says, companies have also become more aware of overalls' impact and branding power. "The realisation of branding benefits has encouraged companies to move away from the standard two-piece blue work suit. We now have overalls reflecting company brand colours and logos through embroidery and screen printing. Companies should see PPE as an opportunity to leverage their brand through their safety policy."
Marshall also believes that the PPE industry should start offering solutions to challenges experienced by their clients rather than expecting their clients to understand the functions of particular PPE products. He concludes: "There has to be an ongoing recognition that PPE forms part of the average unit cost of labour, which is constantly increasing. Companies will become aware of the importance of high-quality PPE as the cost implications of work injuries become clear. One can always replace a machine, not an individual." https://www.facebook.com/remingtonsupplies