Wearing personal protective equipment(PPE) will decrease occurrences of work-related injuries and fatalities. Occasionally, however, employees need encouragement to don their safety garb. As an employer, you can instill fear by stating "wear this or you're fired," but most employers use that as a last resort. On the other end of the spectrum, rewarding employees with gifts or pizza parties is expensive. You want your employees to be safe, so what middle-ground options do you have?

Wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) will decrease occurrences of work-related injuries and fatalities. Occasionally, however, employees need encouragement to don their safety garb. As an employer, you can instill fear by stating "wear this or you're fired," but most employers use that as a last resort. On the other end of the spectrum, rewarding employees with gifts or pizza parties is expensive. You want your employees to be safe, so what middle-ground options do you have?

What's Good for You is Good for the Company

Relay the message to employees that, when they are safe, accidents and injuries are prevented, which saves them time and money. Expenses associated with accidents and injuries negatively impact funds available for compensation and benefits. Knowing that their actions affect their own bottom lines, and not just the company's, can help them take safety more seriously.

Spend Money to Make Money

This is especially true when referring to PPE. Sometimes it's hard for employees to ask for PPE. Some see it as a weakness or feel that they will be looked down on for spending money. However, for an employer, the cost of PPE is often far less than the cost of a major accident and the fines that could result from it. Managers should frequently ask employees if they need PPE and reiterate the company's commitment to investing in safety.

Purchase the Correct PPE

There are many types of PPE for various forms of protection. Respiratory, head, hand, foot, leg and hearing protection all offer myriad options for ensuring an employee's safety while performing specific jobs. Knowing what type of equipment is needed will help keep your employees safe. To put it simply, if equipment does not help keep the employee safe, it is not a good investment.

Fit and Comfort

Purchasing the correct PPE is the first half of the challenge. The other is making sure the PPE fits properly and is as comfortable as possible. If an employee has comfortable PPE, he or she will be more willing to wear it. Put yourself in the employee's position when purchasing PPE by asking yourself, "What would it take for me to want to wear this for the entire length of time required?" It may be necessary to purchase more than one brand or style to accommodate everyone.

Fashionable

Some believe there's no fashion in PPE. That may have been the case years ago, but today, many distributors are making PPE that's not only safe, but is also fashionable! Ask for your employees' input before purchasing PPE. When employees have a say in their safety equipment, they are more likely to find value in it and use it properly.

Employee is Valued

Remind employees that they need to wear PPE for their safety. Being safe ensures that they continue working and return home to their family and friends at the end of each shift. As an employer, you value your employees and want them to come back the next day! You can remind employees with payroll stuffers, posters in work/break areas, emails and more.

Approaching PPE from a variety of perspectives will assist in making employees aware of the importance of wearing PPE. By focusing on the positives, like savings and comfort, employees will be more likely to follow through and wear the appropriate and necessary PPE.