The use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is a vital component of workplace safety, but many employers are unduly concerned with the cost of introducing new safety measures. Ignoring the fact that the safety of your employees far outweighs the initial costs of using new PPE in your workplace, there are many reasons why you should introduce PPE and why you can actually save money by making sure you have proper hand protection in place.
The high cost of low protection
The simple truth of the matter is, while purchasing personal protective equipment can represent something of an upfront cost to your company, the cost of not using PPE is much higher. Every injury your employees suffer will cost a great deal in insurance claims, medical bills and even workers’ compensation payouts, and the instances of injury for not using PPE are quite higher than when using proper PPE. The average lost-time hand injury costs $7,500 per incident. The price difference between a general-purpose work glove made with cotton or leather and a cut-resistant glove made of Kevlar or Dyneema can be as little as $3 per pair. Preventing even a single hand injury pays for 2,500 pairs of cut-resistant work gloves. The math is simple, so make sure you (or your purchasing department) are not penny-wise and pound-foolish.
So the first factor in reducing the costs of hand protection in your business is, quite simply, to use proper PPE.
Choosing the right protection
Choosing the right hand protection for your business is vital. This doesn’t mean just going with the most expensive gloves, but analyzing the kind of work you do and equipment you use and picking PPE that suits that specific type of work and equipment.
The more careful you are in choosing the right gloves, the more effective your PPE will be in reducing injury, and you will save money in the long run. Take the time to have the proper research done, so you can pick the perfect gloves for your company.
While many companies offer disposable or short-term-use gloves at discount prices, this is not always a good long-term savings. Purchasing highly durable gloves that will withstand heavy use and can be used over and over again for a long time may cost you more in upfront costs, but will save you a great deal in replacement costs, which can build to be a significant expense.
PPE vending program
PPE vending machines are becoming very popular in the manufacturing industry. These machines use software to track how many pieces of PPE are used and can let you know when inventory is low.
These machines reduce inventory costs and reduce theft and abuse by accurately tracking inventory and providing PPE only when it is needed, rather than giving it to all of your staff, many of whom may never use it. A properly instituted PPE vending program can save you up to 40 per cent in increased efficiency, productivity and inventory.
Managing the ratio of cost to wear in your company can save a lot of money in PPE expenses. Focus on the individual costs of your gloves, work to remove redundant and duplicate products and standardize your PPE usage. This will reduce your supply-chain costs and increase efficiency by reducing restocking times and cutting costs, as well as ensuring the optimal equipment is used for the job.
Consider laundering gloves
The right-quality PPE can actually be washed and reused. Check to see if this is possible with your gloves. The cost savings of laundering PPE are obvious—you will spend far less money on replacement costs, as it is generally much cheaper to clean equipment than it is to replace it.
You might also want to use an ROI Calculator to determine what you’re spending and where you could be saving.
When considering PPE gloves for your business, keep in mind that the right choices can result in great cost savings across the board, and using the right PPE is almost always the route to long-term cost savings.
Julie McFater is the marketing and communications manager of Superior Glove in Acton, Ontario.