Why It’s So Important to Include Your Employees in Workwear Decisions
Have you ever stopped and thought about the order of the words in ‘PPE’? It’s not ‘protective personal equipment’, even though that makes almost as much sense. Instead, it’s ‘personal protective equipment. As we like to say here at Wearwell, the ‘personal’ comes before the ‘protective’. That’s something we should all remember.
Because right now, business leaders are finding it challenging to maintain optimal levels of compliance amongst their employees. And in the vast majority of cases, failure to wear the correct PPE isn’t a simple case of forgetting. It’s personal.
When employees don’t like their workwear, they won’t wear it. When there’s a problem with the ‘personal’ side of PPE, the ‘protective’ side can’t be achieved. So, while it may sound unusual to prioritise the personal side - after all, PPE is designed to protect - a personal liking of workwear is key to ensuring it does what it needs to.
For this reason, it’s critical to involve employees in any workwear decisions you make; it’s vital that there’s good communication so that business leaders can understand more about what employees want and need to feel safe on the job.
Communication is Key
Opening up doors and facilitating two-way communication with employees at the earliest stages of decision making can help resolve the compliance problem. When employee opinions are considered from the start, it may be possible to eradicate some of the most common obstacles standing in the way of compliance, such as:
- It’s uncomfortable to wear
- It doesn’t make me feel safe
- It’s too heavy
- It restricts my movement
- It’s too hot in the summer
- It’s too cold in the winter
- The sizing doesn’t work for me
- It makes me look unprofessional
Ultimately, the voice of the wearer is one of your most valuable assets. There are two very clear, very real benefits to involving the employee and listening to their needs and concerns. Firstly, the opportunity to select workwear that employees *want* to wear, boosting workplace safety. Secondly, it’s an opportunity to show employees that their opinions are valued, that they matter, and that they’re an important part of the team; things that are key to building a happy, satisfied, productive workforce.
There’s Value in the Voice of the Wearer
Employee participation is rarely - if ever - discussed when building health and safety strategies or for developing a safety-first workplace culture. Yet its potential is huge.
Your employees are in the thick of it. They’re the ones that are required to wear PPE all day. They’re the ones that see first-hand the risks associated with their roles. They’re the ones who understand the precise factors in workwear that make their job more challenging or prevent them from reaching their full potential. That sort of insight can make a massive difference, on every level of business.