It might sound like a strange comparison, but protective clothing and insurance in fact have several things in common. And when all goes well, you don’t need both. However, when things go wrong you certainly need both.
When it’s time to review your team’s current protective gear or review any of your insurances for that matter, we often notice that both are products of low interest. It’s as though these are things we must do as we consider them important, but we often do them as though we are checking off items in a list. We do them for the sake of doing them.
A careful review and selection of something new – be it new protective gear or an insurance – is not only seen as cumbersome but also complex. It’s an area where the one making the choices is often not always the specialist and because there are often many choices to be made, it’s experienced as a jungle of sorts for those not in the know.
RATHER SAFE THAN SORRY!
And we all know that when all goes well, it may seem as though we wouldn’t necessarily need protective clothing or insurances. This is something experienced by many people and on various levels – in fact, some don’t always take out what may seem like costly insurances in the event of something possibly happening. It’s a matter of weighing up the options. But as with all possible risks you simply never know if and when they will happen. And in our opinion, we believe you should be covered.
Believe it or not, we still come across companies where workers could possibly be exposed to certain risks, like heat, flame or arc flash risks – that’s because their basic cotton or cotton-polyester workwear without any special protection has never caused any problems before. And so, the team sticks to what they have and know – what feels safe! The only thing I can say in such a situation is that these individuals have been extremely lucky up until now. Because if a worker were to have been exposed to flames for instance, he would have probably passed on or suffered severe burns.
ALWAYS DO A PROPER RISK ASSESSMENT
When deciding to take out any kind of insurance, you need to firstly assess any risks you might indeed run into to define the kind of insurance you might very well need. Health and Safety Managers within companies have the same task. They regularly perform risk assessments and make inventories of potential risks workers might face. This helps define what kind of protective clothing is needed.
Added to this, it’s crucial to take into account that protective clothing must adhere to all kinds of standards. The process of defining which standards would apply may seem quite straightforward but this is not really the case in practice. That’s because the choice of protective clothing and insurance is complex and might seem endless - many different types might seem to meet your requirements regarding risks, at least on the surface.
IT’S A JUNGLE OUT THERE!
With so many different types on offer and different features, we understand that some might think the world of insurances feels like a jungle. And added to this, as a Health and Safety Manager, the wide range of protective clothing on offer out there might unfortunately feel the same.
Nowadays there are so many websites where you can easily compare insurances with each other – at least on a superficial level - but for the more complex choices where it’s a life or death situation - contacting an experience insurance advisor is the best port of call.
So why not do the same when selecting protective clothing? As an independent party with years of expertise in the field of protective fabrics, we’d be happy to support you in making the right choice of fabric for your team. You can also read more about our broad range of solutions in general here.
THE REAL DIFFERENCE IS IN COMFORT
We’ve seen how similar insurances and protective clothing in fact are. But what is the real difference here? The true value of protective clothing lies in the comfort of the wearer – which we call a ‘satisfier’. And that’s complex as well. Where one insurance ends, that’s where the real selection process for protective clothing actually begins. Norms must always be met but comfort is important to ensure worker satisfaction. Workers wear these garments during a full shift, often in demanding working conditions, so comfort can make a world of difference.
Uncomfortable garments can also pose additional risks as wearers tend to take them off or open them partly to get some air. This means that if and when an accident does arise, the safety of the wearer cannot be guaranteed as a result of the uncomfortable garment.
Added to this, comfort is often also something particularly subjective and what can be perceived as warm for one person, can be felt as cold for another. So, finding the right balance that satisfies the entire team is the trick for health and safety managers.
That’s where a proper trial of the fabric and overall garments comes into play. Also checking with wearers prior to placing a final order for new garments is important. What do the wearers think of their current workwear and what they would like to see improved? Gathering qualitative feedback on this point is crucial to ensuring improved garments in the future.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SELECTING THE RIGHT PROTECTIVE CLOTHING
Although we can’t control the unknown, the one good thing that we can control is the comfort of fabric and that this can lead to improved employee satisfaction. Happy workers that are provided with the right protective gear, tools, and a pleasant work environment naturally perform better.
And that’s why protective clothing should be high on the agenda of Health and Safety Managers as the effect on both worker satisfaction and safety can be significant and life-saving.
Are you a Health and Safety Manager and do you feel you could use some help in selecting your team’s protective clothing? Don’t hesitate to contact one of our experts who can support you and guide you through this jungle of choices.