What Safety Really Costs: The True Value of Personal Protective Equipment
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is more than just another requirement from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). It’s an essential layer of protection needed to keep your business running efficiently, profitably and, most importantly, safely.
You may find yourself asking the cost of these items, but the more important question is what will they save you?
PPE brings endless value to your team of contractors and your business by providing a layer of safety and larger returns for your business. Read on to learn how investment in the right equipment can make your contracting business profitable, and how you can enhance its value.
Personal Protective Equipment Protects Your Team of Contractors
The saying is, “you can’t put a price on safety.” And whoever coined that phrase is right; providing a safe work environment for your contractor is invaluable to your business. When your team is healthy, they’re more likely to perform their best work and mitigate potential losses for your business.
To determine what kind of PPE your business needs, conduct a hazard assessment. OSHA recommends the following categories:
- Compression (roll-over)
- Heat and cold
- Harmful dust
- Light (optical) radiation
Likewise, it’s also important to conduct a thorough evaluation of the workplace with your own safety checklist. It should take note of specific areas and potential hazards, including the following recommended by OSHA:
- Sources of electricity
- Lighting sources
- Sharp or hazardous objects
- Sources of motion
- Sources of high or low temperatures
- Potential for falling or dropping objects
- Damaged or frail fixtures
To make sure your PPE is consistently at its best, it’s up to you and your team to conduct regular evaluations of all equipment. Like tools and machinery, PPE may need to be replaced or repaired.
PPE, like goggles, gloves, face masks, helmets and hard hats, body suits, safety shoes, shin guards and more, can protect against many of these potential hazards in the workplace.
Personal Protective Equipment Provides Larger Savings for Your Contractor Business
While PPE obviously reduces the risk of many different types of injuries, it also provides a large boost to your company’s profitability. When your business doesn’t have the added expense of worker’s compensation or covering the bases for an injured employee, your business can keep its regular cashflow moving.
The National Safety Council estimates that the lost time associated with the average injury costs almost $30,000. However, if an employee files a workers’ compensation claim, that cost could skyrocket. OSHA estimates that U.S. employers pay an average of $1 billion per week for direct workers’ compensation costs alone.
When an employee is injured, there are a number of costs to consider, including the lost productivity costs, replacement costs, damages, incident and investigation costs. Wearing PPE can help prevent or reduce the severity of common workplace injuries for contractors.
The Value of Your Personal Protective Equipment Comes from the Person Wearing It
As mentioned previously, most of the value of PPE comes from the contractor who should be wearing it. Contractors must be proactive in making sure all their PPE is up to date and remember to put it on prior to commencing work.
In addition to your own safety checklist, consider adding an additional checklist for your PPE items for workers to evaluate and check off. Wearing PPE consistently while on the job should also be a key element of your company’s safety policy that contractors agree to upon hiring.
To reinforce this idea, make PPE part of the training and onboarding programs you already have in place. Keep record of these trainings should any workplace injuries arise as a result of not wearing PPE.
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