Survey Finds High Rate of PPE Non-Compliance

According to a new survey released today by Kimberly-Clark Professional, 89 percent of safety professionals polled at the 2008 National Safety Council (NSC) Congress have observed workers failing to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when they should have been.

"We find it disheartening that people continue to put themselves at risk by failing to wear PPE when undertaking hazardous tasks," said Randy Kates, general manager of the safety business for Kimberly-Clark Professional. "Despite the importance of PPE, there is still an unacceptably high rate of noncompliance in the workplace."

Kimberly-Clark's survey marks the third consecutive year that it has revealed a high rate of PPE noncompliance. In 2007, 87 percent of respondents said they had observed PPE noncompliance in the workplace, while 85 percent answered yes to this question in 2006.

When asked to name the top workplace safety issue in their facilities one third of respondents cited worker compliance with safety protocols. Next was insufficient management support and/or resources for health and safety functions (27 percent). Under-reporting of workplace injuries and illnesses was third (14 percent), followed by training a multilingual, multicultural workforce (7 percent), and escalating worker compensation costs (5 percent).

Thirty-four percent of respondents said the economy had affected worker safety training programs or resources. Fifty-nine percent said it had not. Of those who said the economy had impacted safety training or resources, the survey found that:

  • 63 percent said it had led to less money for education and training.
  • 42 percent said it had resulted in reduced personnel to handle safety training tasks.
  • 33 percent said the faltering economy had led to business concerns taking precedence over safety concerns.

This year's survey also polled safety professionals about the steps they have taken or intend to take to encourage greater PPE compliance. The top response was "improving existing education and training programs," followed by "purchasing more comfortable PPE."

The survey questionnaires were filled out by 153 safety professionals who reported being responsible for purchasing, selecting, or influencing the purchase or selection of, or compliance with, PPE. For full survey results, visit www.kcprofessional.com/us/mkt/2008nscpressrelease.

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