OSEA Safety Blog

Wearing PPE: Even Kids Do It

Thursday, June 11, 2015 Joseph Coniglio

Having a safety company and 3 young boys at home, risk mitigation is always on my mind. Being a safety manager on a site (construction or manufacturing) and being a parent have some of the same joys and challenges. How do we keep our kids safe at home and how does that approach parallel to how we do it at the work site? For me, I know training is an effective tool in helping them understand where hazards exist, how to mitigate them and how to do the job safely. However, I understand that all people, adult or child, must have a level of respect for their instructor otherwise they will simply turn off. The advantage we have with kids is two fold; one, they are sponges, everything is a cool new adventure to them. Second, incentives to keep their attention typically work. Adults can be a little more challenging when it comes to teaching us new things but some adults are still very eager to learn and it is those ones we must leverage in the classroom.

What I find very disturbing on the job site is adults who don't do the right thing even after being educated as to what right looks like. Perfect example is the hard hat and safety glasses. When found working on the job site without them we simply forgot to put them back on and are appreciative of a polite "hey you forgot your hard hat" from the neighborhood safety guy. But all too often we are finding employees that just don't want to wear it and they want to tell you, very loudly I may add, that safety equipment is the dumbest thing ever! I guess what I never understood is why would anyone scream at someone who is simply trying to help them get home to their family at the end of the shift? If I'm in the car and forget to buckle up, my wife is quick to throw me an elbow to the ribs, but that is for my safety not hers and I truly appreciate her letting me know (although less elbow is requested in the future)

Do some people view safety folks (OSHA, OSEA or other) as police officers? Well, I guess that's possible and therefore they don't like to be "policed" all day long. I completely agree that it's hard to respect some of these safety professionals who never leave their truck or get anywhere near the work site or scream violations at people all day long. But I do believe that these folks are the exception and not the rule and most safety professionals do care about your general well being. At OSEA, our team is instructed over and over that simply point out violations is not what we are all about. Rather my company strives to find solutions to everyday challenges on a job site. Some times those challenges are simple PPE issues other times they're very complex in nature. But we all understand that being respected by the crew is the most important aspect.

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