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Survey asks safety pros: What are your biggest PPE-related hurdles?


Photo: J J Keller

Neenah, WI — Getting workers to wear their personal protective equipment is one of the biggest challenges safety pros face, results of a recent survey show.

The vast majority of respondents (91%) to the J. J. Keller Center for Market Insights online survey of 172 safety pros said they often or sometimes have issues with employees following proper PPE protocol. The most common reason: Workers “just didn’t want to wear it,” cited by 72% of the respondents. That was followed by: Workers didn’t think PPE was necessary (50%), PPE made their job more difficult (50%), workers didn’t know it was required (21%) and the PPE was poor fitting (14%).

The respondents helped identify the three biggest challenges to PPE noncompliance: sizing, heat and supply-chain disruptions.

When it comes to sizing:

  • 34% of the respondents said they had trouble in the past year purchasing PPE in the sizes they needed for their workers. Of that group, 55% indicated they needed larger sizes, while 41% needed smaller sizes.
  • Upper body protection (53%) and hand protection (53%) items caused the most sizing issues.
  • 35% of the respondents said they have difficulty purchasing PPE that properly fits female employees.

Heat was an issue that came up often. Challenges include:

  • “Getting employees to wear them when it is hot outside.”
  • “Having employees wear their eye protection, especially in this heat.”
  • “Hard hats that don’t cause my workers to overheat in the high desert that we work in.”

With regard to supply-chain disruptions, 71% of the respondents said they often or sometimes experienced delays in the past year.

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