SAFETY - 8 potentially life-saving questions you urgently need to ask your PPE supplier
I dropped into a steel fabrication site recently – a neighbour of one of our long-standing Anchor Safety Customers in the North East. The HSE Manager was in reception, and we got chatting about his approach to keeping their staff safe on such a high risk site. “PPE?” he opined haughtily… “I don’t deal with that – it’s all done by Procurement. In Wales...”
Wow… Just WOW!!
Since my change of specialism in the world of safety, I’ve been surprised (shocked, frankly) at how often Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) ends up at the bottom of the priority pile.
I know some Safety Professionals, especially in the more rarified echelons of the field, get good and sniffy about PPE – dismissing it as the “last resort" in the Hierarchy of Controls . But if you look through the other end of the telescope – from the front line, where your people get hurt – you quickly realise that to them it’s the FIRST line of defence, against an often dangerous and unforgiving world.
It’s... Err... Personal! There’s even a clue right there in the title.
But the “Personal” element so often gets lost in the process of abbreviation. Especially if your HSE Lead thinks it’s best dealt with from hundreds of miles away - by someone who isn’t a specialist, doesn’t know the specific exposures you face daily, and seems to buy the cheapest commodity gear they can.
You’re going to have a pretty strong view on how to protect yourself, and you'll inevitably make your own in-the-moment decisions about what’s best for you. From a behavioural perspective, it becomes clear why people continue to get hurt and killed at work.
The world of Personal Safety provision is changing. Here are eight questions I strongly recommend you ask yourself (or your Procurement Team!) about your current PPE provider, to make sure they’re helping you stay ahead of the curve.
Understanding your Safety Exposures
- Do they have the necessary expertise to knowledgeably evaluate your leading and lagging safety indicators with your HSE team?
- And do they use that intelligence to constantly refine your core PPE provision?
Implementation and Change Management Expertise
- Do they have a robust implementation framework that they share with you, and does it demonstrate their fluent expertise in Change Management issues at all levels?
Online Ordering and Management Information
- Do they provide you with a state of the art online ordering platform?
- Does it identify the correct PPE for each task and user, allocate it to individuals for audit purposes, and feed back detailed usage and spend data at whatever granularity you wish?
Inventory Management Solutions
- Do they offer a full range of inventory management solutions, including embedded inventory, dedicated stockholdings, guaranteed next day delivery, in-house branding, and vending?
Employee Engagement and Behavioural Reliability
- Do they truly understand how to engage your employees, and ensure they commit to always using the correct PPE – even at 3am in the morning, on the night shift, when there’s no one around to enforce compliance?
Product Innovation and Co-Creation
- When an exposure is identified, for which a solution isn’t already in production, do they tirelessly seek out innovations to meet the need – or create something new for you when required?
If you can’t answer a resounding “YES” to ALL of them, come and have a chat with us over at Anchor Safety – we can help you to send your people home safely to their families, every day.
Take care and speak soon.
Guy Boyd is Director, Sales and Customer Care for Anchor Safety, one of the UK’s most innovative Personal Protective Equipment providers. He has extensive global experience in safety, having previously been EVP, EMEA for Behavioural Science Technology Inc. and DEKRA Insight.