So let me ask you a rather blunt question: Why are your employees using the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) they are today? Chances are, your company has a lot of PPE footwear standards that are mandatory, not voluntary, as a condition of employment. What about safety glasses, hard hats, steel-toe boots, high-visibility clothing, fire-retardant apparel?
These items are mandatory at most workplaces because your employees experienced injuries and someone made the connection between those injuries and the financial burden to the company. Then, an executive decision was made that this situation needed to stop and the PPE expenditure was approved.
Here are a few examples:
Your employees’ fingers kept getting cut on sharp objects. Someone realized that proper safety gloves could prevent that. So what did your company do? Mandate usage.
Your employees were breaking their toes when heavy objects fell on feet. Steel- toe boots were identified as a solution to the problem. So what did your company do? Mandate usage.
Your employees were subjected to eye injuries. It was determined that safety glasses could remedy the situation. So what did your company do? Contact a PPE supplier and mandate usage.
Look at it this way. If you’re a parent, do you ask your children “if” they want to brush their teeth? No, you tell them. I make my children brush their teeth twice a day because I have their well-being in mind.
A similar thing is true in the workplace. If you give employees the option to stop wearing mandatory PPE, how many would stop using the equipment? And what happens next? You guessed it. Accidents and injuries increase. And your safety record plummets.
Today, nearly every large, successful company is “chasing zero” when it comes to accidents in the workplace. So, how are you going to get there if you’re giving employees the power to decide to work safe or not? It just leads to increased accident and injury rates, lowered productivity, and ever-increasing costs.
So the next time you think about safety footwear and employee compliance, remember, mandatory ice cleat programs have the ability to reduce winter slips and falls on snow and ice by 70-100%. Imagine the health benefits. (And then imagine the cost savings!)
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Bill Coyne is the VP of Sales for Winter Walking. He has been helping organizations across a wide variety of business sectors prevent workplace slips and falls in ice and snow for over 16 years. Winter Walking currently helps some of the world’s largest organizations keep their employees both safer and more productive while working outdoors in the winter season. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.winterwalking.com.