As Minnesota workers may know, wearing personal protective equipment is necessary when working on hazardous jobs. A study by Kimberly-Clark Professional showed that the non-compliance rate was around 80 percent in 2012. Despite the fact that workers are trained in the need for PPE, some workers still opt not to wear them.
Ill-fitting protective apparel poses a problem for many workers. Bulky, loose-fitting garments may restrict their movements and cause delays in getting the job done. Getting apparel caught in gears may potentially be dangerous. Heavy-weighted materials may lack air permeability. This increases the worker’s exposure to heat and might lead to heat stress and exhaustion.
Other factors to consider when discussing personal protective equipment is that many workers are limited by time constraints to finish the job and wearing some protective clothing slows them down. Workers may be forced to choose between wearing safety equipment and risking a bad job review because they are slower than management expects them to be. Another situation faced by workers is that many move from one area to another and equipment that might be appropriate for one is not for the other.
Today, employers have a choice between heavier safety equipment materials that are used, and newer, lightweight types that accomplish the same level of protection. Lightweight garments also provide greater flexibility and enable better movement. Workers may also be able to layer two lightweight garments giving them the same total protection as a heavier one.
Workers injured in workplace accidents due to ill-fitting or inadequate protective apparel may choose to file a personal injury suit against their employer since alternative protective clothing is available. While this precludes filing for workers’ compensation, an attorney may assist a worker in choosing which option is best for them.
Source: Occupational Health & Safety, “If You Can’t Stand the Heat“, Jake Hirschi, August 01, 2014