Personal protective equipment, or PPE, is a vital component for every safe workplace. Your employees’ safety is paramount to a productive and prosperous business. Safety not only greatly reduces lost time and saves on expenses, but providing and using proper PPE is also the morally right thing to do.

All employers are concerned with keeping costs under control and some managers may see PPE as an expensive commodity. It’s understandable you want to be careful with spending valuable cash on PPE for your business, but it is important to also understand PPE can save you a tremendous amount of money.

At Construction Fasteners & Tools, we believe in the value of workplace safety programs supported by an investment in quality PPE. In a perfect world, when workers strictly follow safety procedures and eliminate all workplace hazards, there would be little need for the many different types of workplace PPE. Unfortunately, your business has hazards to manage, and the right type of quality PPE is a must.

Investing in PPE For Businesses

Workplace injuries and illnesses cost businesses millions of dollars and thousands of productivity hours every year. Most of them are preventable with the right combination of a committed company safety culture, hazard identification and mitigation, as well as workers who have precise PPE. They also must be trained in properly using their PPE. You can make a strong business case that investing in PPE reduces your overall direct and indirect costs.

Safety Guide
A workplace safety report for executives provides interesting figures on how safety programs, including investing in PPE, significantly save businesses like yours on a long-term, cost-benefit ratio. This PPE safety guide reports cost-saving PPE solutions return between 16 and 48 times your initial investment, when you consider direct and indirect costs resulting from workplace injuries and fatalities.

Direct Costs From Accidents

Direct costs from accidents in your workplace are front-line expenses you can clearly measure in dollars and cents. You can account for these accidents as specific costs that detract from your bottom line. Some direct injury and illness costs are:

  • Medical expenses: These can be extensive, especially if your injured worker requires surgery and hospitalization. Even if you are covered by adequate medical insurance and workers’ compensation, you might require deductibles or incidental costs such as pharmaceuticals or intermediate care.
  • Medical Expenses
  • Workers’ compensation: Workers compensation payments often rise after accident claims. If you are in the construction business with one of the highest risk ratings and premium assessments, even one serious accident might place you in a bracket that raises your payments to an intolerable level. It is difficult to pass on high compensation premiums in a competitive market, and your profitability will take a hit.
  • Property losses: These commonly accompany workplace accidents and injuries. Damaged products and equipment may come with the territory during an accident. You might be separately insured for property damage, but it is sure to come back in increased premium rates.
  • Civil liability damages: These are another direct cost associated with accidents, particularly where serious injury and long-term disability result. Failure to provide your workers with the right PPE can end with a massive payout many times greater than your entire PPE budget could ever be.
  • Litigation expenses: Legal expenses go hand-in-hand with liability claims. Your lawyer’s fees can also exceed any amount you could spend in a preventive safety program that includes sourcing, training and ensuring your employees have the required personal protective equipment.

Indirect Costs from Accidents

Indirect costs from accidents are much harder to put exact figures on. You won’t get a direct bill from intangible negative impacts because these can take time to develop. Indirect costs can add up to be a lot more in the long run than direct expenses. You might not see these costs for years as the compounded effects from one serious accident manifest in business loss. Here are some of the indirect costs of accidents that could have been prevented using the right PPE:

  • Workplace disruption or downtime: This occurs when your entire site or production line stops while an injured worker is treated or removed for medical aid. You suffer expensive downtime while an investigation takes place. Outside parties like workers’ compensation investigators need to take time determining your accident cause and assess your degree of responsibility.
  • Citations from regulatory authorities: You may be fined or levied higher compensation premiums that raise your operating expenses over several years. Citations reflect on other insurance providers deeming your business as a higher-than-normal risk. This forces them to raise their rates.
  • Safety Fines
  • Project schedule delays: Your injured worker could be a key person you depend on to deliver project completion on time and within budget. The derivative cost from their downtime may be enormous as you struggle to find a competent replacement.
  • Worker morale: Your staff can be severely shocked by a serious incident, especially when a fatality occurs. Poor morale leads to less care and attention. That compounds into higher risk situations, which lead to more accidents. Morale problems cause high worker turnover and incur more cost in recruitment, training and dealing with a new learning curve.
  • Negative publicity: This could be your greatest indirect cost from and injury or death that could have been prevented by investing in PPE. Bad news travels fast, and it can undermine confidence in workers, suppliers, financial supporters and potential investors. Future customers may be hesitant to contract with publicized high-risk businesses.

Common Accident Types Preventable With PPE

It is fair to say you can greatly reduce the vast majority of accidents and serious injuries when you use proper personal protective equipment. To prevent accidents, you need to begin by identifying and minimizing all potential hazards in your workplace.

Providing your workers with the right PPE is backup insurance for when your safety program breaks down or unexpected things happen. This is similar to the philosophy that your first-aid program is what you rely on when your safety program fails. PPE is caught in the middle between your front-line prevention measures and your back-end treatments. Fortunately, the correct PPE worn in the right situations prevents many injuries. Some common workplace injuries PPE prevents are:

  • Slips, trips and falls: There are several fall classifications. Slips, trips and falls are less serious, but can easily result in bruising, sprains, lacerations and fractures. Most slips and trips resulting in low-velocity falls are the result of sudden hazards like wet floors and carelessly placed obstacles. Simple PPE such as proper footwear, hard hats, gloves and proper clothing are cost-effective investments that pay back enormously.
  • Falls from heights: Often, falls from heights are deadly. Most workplace regulations stipulate a height of three meters, or 10 feet, as being the limit where you need to wear fall protection. The biggest fall prevention devices are guards and barriers, but these are not possible in many construction and maintenance situations. Fall prevention and fall arrest PPE is priceless when working at height.
  • Fall Protection
  • Cuts and lacerations: Sharp objects like utility knives, shears or rotary power tools such as saws, drills and grinders can all be dangerous. It’s easy to prevent cuts and lacerations with simple PPE precautions. Special gloves, aprons and protective coveralls give great safety protection for a low price.
  • Eye damage: Flying debris from impact strikes has a way of heading straight toward your eyes. Sawdust and splatters from caustic wet concrete can cause serious eye damage and put your workers into long downtime. Investing proper eye PPE is something you can’t afford not to do. Choose simple impact-resistant eyeglasses, as well as goggles and full face shields.
  • Respiratory ailments: Lung conditions come from long-term exposure to toxic fumes and irritating airborne pathogens. You need to provide all workers exposed to toxic materials with approved respiratory PPE. In some cases, simple disposable dust masks are sufficient. Other situations might require a personally fitted chemical respirator with high-grade filters. Proper PPE is a perfect defense against permanent lung disease.
  • Chemical burns — Like thermal and electrical burns, chemicals can also cause first-, second- and third-degree burns to skin across your entire body. The right PPE for preventing chemical burns depends on the materials your workers are exposed to. Nitrile and latex rubber gloves are popular choices. But it is wise to entirely outfit your chemical workers with full-body protection like rubber boots, coveralls and face shields.
  • General hazards — Your workers might be exposed to excessive noise or vibratory conditions. You may be working in hot temperatures or outdoors where frostbite is a threat. Your workers might also be exposed to overhead hazards. Suitable PPE in these cases range from hard hats to hearing protection and thermal clothing. All are cost-effective investments in your employees’ safety and well being.

Professional Companies Care About Worker Safety

Professional companies care for their workers’ safety. You know your employees are your most valuable asset. Great employers provide workers with the best possible equipment to get the job done effectively, profitably and safely. They know the value of PPE and how PPE can save their company money.

To these savvy companies, saving on PPE doesn’t mean saving money with PPE reduction or buying less expensive equipment to cut costs. The opposite is true. Progressive companies who care about worker safety make PPE a vital part of their occupational health and safety (OHS) program. PPE supports all parts of four vital OHS program pillars:

  • Leadership and engagement: This is the most vital occupational health and safety pillar. It is also the most elusive and difficult to obtain. An integrated and effective OHS program starts with upper management. You must show leadership and engage your workers into participating in a company culture where worker safety is paramount. That includes providing the best PPE.
  • Safety management systems: These extend beyond mere compliance and basic safety initiatives. Good safety management incorporates policies, employee incentives, training, development, prevention and emergency planning, as well as analyzing working conditions and comparing with other companies’ performances. Safety management systems determine what PPE is best suited for individual workplaces.
  • Risk reduction: It’s just a fact of doing business that risks are always present in your workplace. The safest approach is to design out risks as much as possible. You should minimize risks and hazards early and keep vigilant for any changes that raise risks beyond an acceptable level. Keeping your employees equipped with PPE that suits their hazards is part of good risk reduction.
  • Performance measurement: This is a process of benchmarking your safety successes and failures. You set performance baselines, determine targets and quantify your measurements so you know what is working and what needs improving. Lagging indicators are downstream measures that reflect the results of a lack of safety. These results include injuries, illnesses, near-misses and lost days. Leading indicators are more proactive. You can use worker feedback, audits and committees and evaluate the performance of safety devices like your PPE.

Safe Companies Invest in Quality PPE

Safe companies always invest in excellent personal protection equipment. To save money with PPE, you have to take a holistic view of your PPE requirements. You need to appreciate overall value. This means taking account of the injury prevention costs you save by buying top-quality PPE and maintaining it in good condition.

There is little value in purchasing PPE that does not serve your purpose or is of inferior quality. You get what you pay for when you invest in PPE for your workers’ safety. Here are a few PPE safety tips about buying and maintaining your personal protection equipment:

  • Purchase your PPE from a reputable company: Good suppliers stand behind their products. They also know what PPE meets your exact requirements and work with you to ensure you get the best value with top protection.
  • Clean your PPE on a regular basis: Some PPE is designed to be disposable, but most expensive pieces require care and attention. Clean PPE is safer than soiled, worn equipment. Your employees are far more likely to use PPE when it is fresh and clean.
  • Store your PPE in a clean and dry place: Make sure all your PPE is safe from contamination that can weaken performance and lower effectiveness. Many pieces of PPE are available with their own storage containers, so make sure you use the entire system.

Must-Have PPE Pieces

Construction Fasteners & Tools is your leading supplier of personal protection equipment. We understand the overall value using the best PPE offers your company in health, safety and financial returns. The four pillars of occupational health and safety are also a part of our company’s core culture.

PPE and Financials

We carry a full line of must-have pieces of personal protection equipment to help your company grow while keeping your employees safe and sound. Check out our extensive online selection of PPE must-haves, including:

Contact Construction Fasteners & Tools today and talk to us about your PPE needs. Shop our inventory of PPE and safety supplies. Take advantage of free delivery on orders over $200. We are here to help you with our first-class customer service and same-day shipping.