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PPE Compliance, Stage 2 – Reasons for non-compliance

Unfortunately, it isn’t enough just to provide your workforce with suitable Personal Protective Equipment – you also need to ensure they’re always wearing it when required. In this, the second in a series of four blog posts, Sarah Broadbent, from 3M’s Technical Service team, explores the various reasons why employees put their health at risk.

There are all kinds of reasons for non-compliance with Personal Protective Equipment, and they can be divided into two types: unintentional and deliberate.

Looking at unintentional non-compliance first, there can sometimes be a serious lack of understanding of how equipment actually works. Take the case, for example, of the employee who cut a hole in his respirator so he could smoke a cigarette. He then continued to wear the respirator on his shift, not realising his actions had completely compromised the respirator’s effectiveness.

“…there can sometimes be a serious lack of understanding of how equipment actually works…”

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Communication needn’t compromise safety

Then there are those who find their equipment uncomfortable and impractical and end up partially removing it during long shifts or if, for example, they need to communicate with a colleague. It can often be the case that if workers can’t see a hazard, they don’t take it seriously. However, if these kinds of negligence are repeated regularly then the health risks will obviously increase.

“…non-compliance can result from bravado, defiance or just pure laziness…”

Deliberate non-compliance can result from bravado, defiance or just pure laziness. This can happen because certain individuals believe health problems just couldn’t happen to them or, in the case of experienced workers, occasionally they just think they know best.All of this non-compliance, deliberate or unintentional, can usually be solved by training, education and a better understanding of why the supplied equipment always needs to be worn in the correct way at the required times.

For more information on this topic, watch our recent Safety Spotlight Webinar on “Linking Behavioural Safety to PPE Compliance” in the downloads section.

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