Training is important for any job. It’s especially important when you work in the utility industry where safety is critical.
Companies need to promote safety in the workplace. You also need to be OSHA and National Fire Association (NFPA) compliant when it comes to your personal protection equipment (PPE).
PPE training is required OSHA regulations, contained in 29 CFR 1910.132.140. Hazard assessment is required by OSHA under 1910.132(d)(1). This regulatory standard mandates employers determine present or potentially unsafe conditions which may merit PPE. The NFPA also sets forth over 300 consensus codes and standards, including the National Electric Code® NFPA 70®.
Here are 6 company-wide tips you can use when it comes to personal protective equipment training.
Why is PPE Training Important?
Personal protective equipment training is critically important since you must be compliant in the OSHA 1910.132 and NFPA 70 regulations. Training is even more important since it helps to prevent a wide variety of injuries and worksite hazards.
What happens when personal protective equipment isn’t used?
Just because your utility crews are accident-free, that doesn’t mean an incident won’t happen. It may be right around the corner, especially when they’re not wearing their PPE. Take, for example:
- A Kimberly-Clark Professional survey asked attendees at an American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) conference if they had observed workers not wearing safety equipment when they should have been. Ninety-eight percent answered “Yes.” The same survey showed that 30% of these same responders saw workers not wearing their PPE on numerous occasions.
- The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported over 100,000 hand injuries annually, this in spite of the availability of gloves.
- The Health and Safety Executive (HSE)-funded report showed that around 9,000 PPE-related incidents are reported each year.
- The CDC’s National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) reports that electrical hazards cause over 300 deaths and 4,000 injuries in the workplace each year.
Here are 6 Company-wide Tips Your Utility Workers for Personal Protective Equipment Training
In order to provide your utility workers with personal protective equipment training, you can supply them with a number of reasons why it’s important for them. Here are 6 company-wide tips for your crews to get them ready for their personal protective equipment training. These are tips you can incorporate into their actual training.
Tip 1: Wear personal protective equipment when it’s required. Provide personal protective equipment training about the equipment they need.
Start by asking your workers why they should be wearing their personal protective equipment. Make the analogy of their favorite professional athletes—football, ice hockey, baseball, etc. Ask them what would happen if their favorite player didn’t. Even if they are cyclists or bikers, they should be wearing helmets. Those are PPE too.
Stretch the analogy into if they wanted their kids or grandkids not to wear protective gear when they play sports.
Finally, push the envelope further. Enquire how many of them have a healthy lifestyle: healthy diet, exercising regularly, seeing their doctor, etc. Should they ruin all that for “unhealthy”—and potentially dangerous—workplace practices? Personal protective equipment for your workers generally includes items such as steel-toe boots, and shank boots worn over or under the safety boots, hardhats, insulating rubber gloves with leather protectors, insulating sleeves, flame-resistant (FR) clothing, face shields, fall protection equipment, and respirators.
Tip 2: It’s the law and can have serious implications from accidents that occur. Train your workers on why wearing PPE is so important.
Let them know that PPE safety training is mandatory. It’s the law that they’re OSHA and FSPA-compliant. The results are serious: Infractions can result in steep monetary fines and potential criminal charges for the company.
Tip 3: When needed, it protects them from injuries. Train your workers on why PPE is required.
Let your utility workers know that it’s critical they understand the role of their PPE and why it should be used. Ask if they know why it’s important (aside from the fact it’s the law).
They should know that their personal protective equipment is used when a hazard can’t be adequately controlled by any other means.
Personal protective equipment is important as it protects them from injuries to their heads and feet, eyes, skin, lungs, and body.
Their PPE protects them against burns, falls, eye damage, electrocutions, extreme pain, respiratory arrest, cardiac arrest, probably death.
Tip 4: Determine if using PPE has any limitations and discuss this with your workers. Train your crews on these issues.
While PPE is extremely important, it can have its limitations. Your decisions to implement PPE can have bearings from the following:
- Are there safety hazards from restricted movement due to the weight of the equipment?
- Is vision restricted because of visual field limitations?
- Are there communication difficulties due to face protection?
- Is there stress due to the confining nature of a full suit?
- Are heat stress and risk of dehydration possible?
- Can masks fit properly because of facial hair?
Tip 5: Enroll your workers in a personal protective equipment training course that addresses this area.
Do your workers how to don, remove, adjust, and wear their PPE? If they’re not sure in any areas, now’s the time to introduce personal protective equipment training.
Tip 6: Implement training courses to teach them best practices regarding their PPE.
You should regularly review your crews’ knowledge of their PPE items’ condition. Are they aware of the proper care and cleaning, useful life, and disposal of old or non-reusable equipment?
They should recognize when their PPE needs replacement from tears, worn materials, and inform the supervisor when they need to repair or replace their PPE.
Personal Protective Equipment Training for Your Workers
It’s crucial to offer your utility workers personal protective equipment training. However, they may think any coursework may be boring and nothing more than sitting in a class taking notes followed by stress-inducing testing. Online PPE training from WestNet Learning provides them with learning that’s engaging and memorable. Why not use the sports analogies in action videos at the course start to get them really excited?
Your crews can take their PPE training course using a computer, laptop, or even their tablets or smartphones. For the competitive ones in the group, there’s a leader board that shows who has the highest score. When they’re finished with the course, they receive a copy of their transcript and their certificate showing their successful completion.
Keep Your Workers Safe and Your Company Compliant
PPE is the most basic of your workplace safety program. It’s highly visible and its training is critical for your company. Implementing a WestNet Learning personal protective equipment training course works to keep your workers safe and your company compliant.
If you would like to learn more about how to engage and train your employees with efficiency that increases your compliance training completion rates, makes employees more productive, and increases stakeholder value, feel free to reach out and schedule a 1-on-1 strategy session today!