Roswell, Ga — Among the findings in a Kimberly-Clark survey of safety professionals, noncompliance with wearing hearing protection was the second “most challenging” personal protective equipment category behind wearing eye protection.

In the recently released survey by Kimberly-Clark Professional, 89% of safety professionals said that they had observed workers not wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) when they should have been, including hearing protection. The same survey reported that 29% of the respondents said noncompliance had happened on numerous occasions.

Gina Tsiropoulos, manufacturing segment marketing manager for Kimberly-Clark Professional, commented in the press statement, "While the reasons for noncompliance are varied, the threat to workers is clear-cut. Without the proper use of PPE, they are at risk of serious injury or even death."

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) requires the use of PPE to reduce employee exposure to hazards when engineering and administrative controls are not feasible or effective.

In the top position, 24% of respondents said that not wearing eye protection was the “most challenging.” Noncompliance with hearing protection was the second most challenging, according to 18% of respondents.

The report finds the 18% figure “disturbing,” since occupational noise-induced hearing loss is 100% preventable when proper measures are implemented.

Of those respondents who observed PPE noncompliance in the workplace, 69% said the primary cause was workers thinking that PPE wasn’t needed. This was followed by:

  • Uncomfortable
  • Too hot
  • Poor fit
  • Not available near work task
  • Unattractive looking

What measures have safety managers taken or plan to take in the near future to encourage greater PPE compliance? The top strategies were: improving existing education and training programs (61%) and increased monitoring of employees (48%). These were followed by:

  • Purchasing more comfortable PPE
  • Tying compliance to individual performance evaluations
  • Purchasing more stylish PPE
  • Developing incentive programs

The survey of 119 people was conducted over the Internet from June 10, 2011 through July 11, 2011. All survey respondents said they were responsible for purchasing, selecting, or influencing the purchase or selection of PPE equipment or industrial wiping solutions.

Kimberly-Clark Professional provides worker safety solutions.

SOURCE: Kimberly-Clark Professional