When it's impossible to completely eliminate risks and hazards from the workplace, safety equipment supplies are a necessity. Safety equipment is a legal requirement, so ensure you take all reasonable steps to keep your workers safe. It's important to choose safety equipment that not only meets requirements, but that is tailored to your specific workplace needs.
Protect your Employees
Regulatory bodies like OSHA in the US or HSE in the UK require employers to assess the workplace to determine which hazards require the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Controlling or eliminating a hazard at its source is the most effective way of protecting workers. However, controls are sometimes not possible or do not provide adequate protection. It's important that appropriate industrial safety equipment is provided to further minimize exposure to dangers in the workplace.
Whatever the environment, all workplaces need certain essential safety supplies. Consider the following safety equipment used to combat common hazards that are typically hard to control:
- Head protection. Hard hats protect employees from injuries caused by falling objects and help prevent injuries that may be caused by hitting heads on fixed objects such as exposed beams and low machinery.
- Hearing protection. If thunderous noise cannot be removed or controlled at the source, workers need adequate earplugs or earmuffs to avoid hearing loss. Proper hearing protection should also be provided where an employee is constantly subjected to loud noise throughout each shift.
- Face and eye protection. Flying particles, liquids, and gasses can cause serious damage to workers’ eyes or faces. Safety glasses or goggles and face shields provide staff with necessary face protection. Particulate dust masks or respirators also prevent employees from inhaling dust, fumes, and smoke.
- Foot and hand protection. Employees in many industrial workplaces require strong, sturdy safety shoes to keep their feet shielded from injuries. Appropriate footwear provides protection from sharp objects and crushing injuries, prevents slipping, and supports the ankles. Well-designed safety gloves safeguard workers’ hands, protecting them from burns, cuts, scrapes, and bruising. Gloves must fit properly, as ill-fitting gloves have the potential to get caught in machinery.
Ensuring your workplace has appropriate and adequate safety kit is a fundamental best practice. To maximize employee cooperation and ensure workplace industrial safety, supply your workers with well-fitting, comfortable gear that encourages continual use. Research safety items to check if manufacturers have subjected their products to rigorous testing. When selecting a safety supply company, arm yourself with the right questions to ensure you have a supplier who understands your needs.
Educate Your Employees About Safety Equipment Supplies
Employers need to ensure their employees are given adequate training and proper instructions on wearing, using, maintaining, and storing their safety equipment. Train employees in the proper use and care of all safety supplies, including first aid kits, fire extinguishers, and of course, PPE. Employees must also understand the limitations of the safety equipment, including situations when the equipment will keep them safe and circumstances that require them to change their behavior because they are at risk.
Ensure your industrial safety stock is periodically reviewed, updated, and evaluated to ensure maximum effect in the workplace. Maintaining equipment involves cleaning, disinfecting, and checking for wear and tear. Replace any items that are out of date or broken by immediately ordering new products from safety equipment wholesale suppliers.
Prepare Your Workplace - Safety Products
Aside from providing your workers with adequate protective gear and equipment, ensure your workplace has adequate safety supplies that employees can access and know how to use.
Consider the following:
- First aid kits. The provision of first aid kits is imperative in all workplaces. OSHA provides guidance on the number and type of first aid supplies required in each pack, adequate for approximately two or three employees. For large workplaces, qualities should be adjusted accordingly. First aid kits provide materials for initial assistance and quick medical treatment to injured employees until professional medics arrive. Provide your staff with adequate first aid training so they can treat themselves or those around them. Check with your local regulatory authority to ensure you meet your specific requirements.
- Fire extinguishers. Regulatory bodies require that employers provide portable fire extinguishers that are mounted and easy for employees to locate, identify, and use. These fire extinguishers must be selected and distributed based on the type and size of fires anticipated in the workplace. Employees should receive adequate training in the use of this safety equipment.
- Floor markings. Keep your workers in the right areas or walkways, mark and identify equipment and storage facilities, and guide staff in emergencies with different floor colors and patterns. Highlight potential hazards such as stairs, slippery surfaces, or low ceilings to protect your employees from accidents and injuries. Floor markings, used in conjunction with signs, enable your employees to quickly locate and use safety equipment supplies in emergency situations.
- Signs. Your local regulatory body will provide guidance on requiring the use of safety signs to highlight hazards that, without proper identification, could lead to accidents or injury. There will also be regulations as to the composition of the signs placed around the workplace, including smooth edges and specific text and background colors. Exit and evacuation signs are necessary to mark escape pathways in the event of an emergency, while all safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers, fire hoses, and first aid kits, must be clearly marked.
The following video gives examples of safety signs and the circumstances in which they should be used: