Recently we observed two workers using industrial strimmer’s; one was seen to be wearing full PPE and the other no eye, facial or hearing protection. Clearly two guys doing the same task but with a very different attitude to their own health, safety and long term wellness.
Not knowing their background fully it’s difficult to tell why there was such a difference but we do know the organisation that employed them. On challenging the manager he responded that he had checked into our observations and was told both were wearing the necessary PPE. Clearly this was not the case as we observed them from only a few metres away.
What this case does show is the importance of supervising staff whose work requires them to rely on PPE as providing the right PPE and telling them to use it is not enough. We understand that these two workers were of Eastern European origin where health & safety is often not given the same focus as in the UK; this just reinforces the need for some level of supervising.
What is frustrating is that when such an issue is brought up that a more positive action is not taken. Ultimately we all have a responsibility for our own health, safety and wellness yet when it all goes wrong it’s too easy to point the finger and accuse others.
Obviously it’s impossible to continuously supervise workers but with a better focus on training then maybe this wouldn’t be necessary. The problem it seems is that many businesses fail to prioritise health and safety training or deliver basic bland training that the workforce fail to comprehend fully. Training can only be effectively delivered once the audience is known and the training is tailored to incorporate what they know, what they need to know and what risks they will face in their work.