A guide to prevent workplace accidents: Attention and knowledge are required before the purchase of safety equipment supplies.

PPE - Personal Protective Equipment

The purchase of safety equipment supplies is often undervalued and overlooked

Management strives hard to continually improve upon quality in most industries, yet they often ignore the safety or well-being of their employees when purchasing safety equipment.

When it comes to safety equipment supplies, the cheapest option is often the worst option. Most times, there is no need to buy a state-of-the-art piece of safety equipment; but if an item costs a fraction of the price charged by most resellers, there has to be something dodgy. Unfortunately, even with all Regulations and Safety Standards that are in place in Australia, some dodgy and counterfeit safety equipment still find a way to get in.

But the biggest problem is not the low quality safety equipment; the biggest cause of deaths, in juries and illnesses in workplaces is the improper use of safety equipment.

In the construction and manufacturing industries, the risk of accidents is very high. The use of improper safety equipment can potentially cost someone’s life.  There is also huge danger of employees being constantly exposed to harmful substances, which over time can lead to illnesses.

This is why it is very important to purchase the correct safety equipment supplies for each task performed.

It is imperative to highlight that it is not good enough to buy a safety product made by a reputable manufacturer and purchased from a trustworthy retailer. The safety product must be the correct piece of equipment for the type of job performed. Every job has its own safety equipment requirements.

For example, there is no point purchasing a particulate respirator filter with a top quality respirator mask if your employees are going to be working in an environment with organic vapours. The employees will still be exposed to the dangerous fumes and the money spent on the safety equipment will have been wasted.

Safety equipment supplies purchase officers must talk to the safety officer in charge and consult with the employees who will be using the safety equipment supplies before making purchases.

Safety equipment has to be as confortable as possible to wear. Often, when something is uncomfortable, it gets put aside and not used, defeating its purpose.

Every workplace must have a policy on safety equipment use and this policy must be checked and reinforced by managers and supervisors. Safety equipment policies must also be periodically reviewed. New materials pose new threats. Previously unknown hazardous substances get discovered quite often.

One recent example is the new cases of pulmonary disease caused by the dust from silica bench tops. Managers, supervisors and workers thought they were protected with standard dust masks, but it is now proven this is not the case. Workers cutting bench tops need to wear proper respirator masks to be protected

Hard Hats, safety gloves, respirator masks and cartridges and coveralls are some safety products that are important for worker’s safety.

Fire extinguishers are also one of necessary industrial safety supply item for better risk management. In manufacturing sites, chances of small fire outbreaks are common and in such cases in-house fire extinguishers can help put off fire easily.

First aid kits are another essential safety equipment item that gets overlooked.  There are several types of first aid kits. To purchase the correct kit, the purchase officer must consider the size of the site, how many people work there and what type of accidents could happen.

First Aid kits must checked and re-stocked often, because many of first aid products have an expiry date.

Be careful when purchasing safety equipment supplies. Get as much information as possible; understand the type of work that will be performed and what types of dangers the employee performing the task might be exposed to.

If you are not sure, contact the store or the manufacturer and ask for help.

Be safe and keep your employees safe at all times!

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