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PPE Introduction in the Workplace and Worker Acceptance

Melanie Predolich PPE Safety Work Gloves Workplace Safety

When new procedures or new safety measures are implemented in a work place, these changes are often times met with resistance or questioning. Workers want to understand why changes are being made. This article will outline five ideas for helping to bring about successful change and acceptance when it comes to introducing new standards for PPE.
Fully Understand your PPE Needs
One of the worst things a manager could do is introduce a new policy just for the fun of it. If you’re going to introduce something new, you must be certain that it is a necessary change to be made.
In most work environments, risks can be minimized at the source. However, in many work situations, the hazard may not be able to be entirely removed, which is where the need for PPE comes in. The use of PPE should be used in combination with the knowledge of your workers capabilities to keep themselves safe. Again, do not change safety procedures unless it is a necessity.
Create a Plan
Before introducing a new method of PPE to your workers, craft a logical plan for bringing it to their attention. There are three main points that you should include in this plan to communicate to employees:
- Reiterate that the changes are taking place because of the value you place on the workers and their long-term safety.
- If the introduction of new policies is because of legal compliance obligations, be sure to communicate this clearly to your workers. Typically, they will be more accepting of new changes if they realize that it is for a legal obligation.
- Explain clearly how the new equipment and policies will protect your workers, and assure them that it will not interfere with their efficiency of work.
Implement the Plan
As you begin the process of implementing new PPE equipment and policies, it is important to openly engage with your employees and spread awareness of the upcoming changes.
It can be helpful to distribute surveys to your staff to gather information about concerns you need to address. It is also vital to sell, not dictate this change to employees. In other words, communicate as much information as you can about the change using a variety of different methods including, general announcements, emails, memos, or fliers. Communication and patience is key when implementing a new policy.
Training, Review & the Role of Leadership
A key thing to remember during this introductory phase is to lead by example. Managers and supervisors should clearly abide by the new PPE equipment and policy themselves. Doing this will improve employee moral, and help them to take ownership of the changes.
It can be helpful to offer brief training sessions with the implementation of new PPE, even gloves. This allows for clear and consistent communication to all employees, and gives those who are uncertain the chance to be confident in the changes.
After the introductory period has passed and employees have had the opportunity to get used to the new PPE and policies, it is wise to conduct reviews and evaluations. This allows minor adjustments to be made if needed, and also lets managers know if more training needs to take place.
Channels of Communication
After implementation has taken place, be sure to keep all channels of communication open for your employees. It is important for employees to feel that if they have concerns or questions about policies, they can freely ask their superiors. Many times employees will have insightful ideas for adjustments to the policies, or ways to improve efficiency and safety. It is also good to encourage compliance with staff recognition and celebrations.

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