Non-compliance with Personal Protective Equipment can have serious consequences for the individuals involved, the companies and society as a whole. In this, the third in a series of four blog posts, Sarah Broadbent, from 3M’s Technical Service team, gives us an idea of the sheer scale of this problem.
Let’s start with a couple of figures that you might find surprising. Over 9,000 PPE-related accidents are reported every year and the annual cost to society of accidents where PPE is provided, but not used or not worn correctly, is a staggering £65 million*.
“Over 9,000 PPE-related accidents are reported every year”
If, like me, you were struck by how large those figures seem to be, you should be aware that experts are estimating the real figures are likely to be significantly higher. This is because they suspect that many such accidents will often go unreported. On top of that, these figures only refer to specific accidents rather than the many cases of ill-health which develop over time but are likely to be every bit as serious and costly.
“On top of these figures are the many cases of ill-health which develop over time”
Taking a specific example, it can be shown that if a hearing protector with an expected attenuation of 30dB is removed for half of an eight hour shift, the expected attenuation plummets to just 3dB.
All this shows how vital it is for us to get to grips with this problem as fast as we possibly can. In the next, and final, blog in this series, I will be giving you some useful tips to help you address any issues of PPE non-compliance within your own company.
* Source: Health and Safety Executive, Research Report 419, 2006. Evidence base for identifying potential failures in the specification, use and maintenance of PPE at work.
For more information on this topic, download the Injuries in the Workplace Infographic.