Thought Leadership

Why should PPE be ergonomic? Top five reasons

April 23, 2014

For most of us, our work has a pretty sizeable impact on our lives. Our ability to do our job – and to do it well – is something which we all value, for a variety of reasons. As such, it is no surprise that we should also value the equipment which helps us do a good job day in and day out.

In different types of equipment, we value different things. When it comes to personal protective equipment, one thing we are always keen to see is that it is ergonomic. The better designed a piece of personal protective equipment is, the more it helps us to do our job.

Here, we take a look at the five most compelling reasons telling us why PPE should be ergonomic.

1. Ergonomic equipment reduces our chances of injury

Most pieces of personal protective equipment are designed with the user's safety in mind. Whether you're working with high temperatures or sharp objects, for example, you'll make use of protective equipment on a daily basis and it is this equipment which keeps you from harm.

When it comes to items of clothing, what is particularly important is the fit. With gloves especially, when an item is too large or too small, this can have a devastating impact on the effectiveness of that item.

An ergonomic glove is one which fits the user perfectly. This massively reduces the chance of sustaining an injury. If a glove is too big, it could easily come loose, leaving a hand exposed. Conversely, a glove which is too small may not offer sufficient coverage to keep the worker safe.

2. Ergonomic equipment makes work easier

Personal protective equipment can do far more for workers than simply protecting them, as important as that is. Well-designed equipment should come with the added benefit of making a job easier. The very existence of protective equipment often allows workers to perform tasks which would otherwise not be possible. This might include the handling of dangerous materials, for example.

While standard protective equipment makes certain tasks possible, ergonomic equipment can make these tasks easier. When equipment is lightweight, the worker can retain their dexterity – something which is often lost with the use of lower quality equipment. Heavier and less comfortable protective gear often makes life difficult for workers, adding to their fatigue. Ergonomically designed protective equipment is able to remove this hardship.

3. Ergonomic equipment makes work faster

Making tasks easier doesn't just mean that work is more enjoyable, it also allows us to be more productive than ever. With the correct gear, we are able to streamline our work flow. Where inefficient designs added weight and size to protective equipment in the past, today's ergonomic equipment ensures there's nothing standing between a worker and the swift completion of a task.

Changes like these can benefit just about everybody in the workplace. Not only can workers themselves spend less time on difficult tasks, but the company itself is placed in a profitable position as productivity increases. The most successful businesses are those which recognise the significance of smaller details like these when it comes to creating a pleasant and productive workplace.

4. Workers' comfort Is important

Personal protective equipment is typically quite different to everyday clothing. Due to the higher demands which are placed on protective equipment, it often has to be thicker and heavier than our usual clothes. Needless to say, this has in the past proved uncomfortable for those who have to use protective equipment on a daily basis as a requirement of their job.

Our comfort at work is a number one priority. Not only can discomfort make us unhappy, but it can also have a hugely negative impact on our work. For this reason, it is no surprise that companies and their employees alike favour ergonomic protective equipment which can provide the utmost comfort alongside supreme levels of safety.

5. Ergonomic equipment helps build relationships

As important as the ability to complete tasks efficiently and to a high standard is the social dynamic within the workplace. The relationship an employee has with the company he or she works for can have huge implications for the overall success of a company.

Simply put, businesses of all kinds have an interest in keeping their employees safe and happy - the provision of ergonomic personal protective equipment can help to do just that. Providing employees with equipment which is tailored to their needs sends a message, letting them know that their employer cares about their welfare. Conversely, where ergonomic equipment is not provided, there is less hope for a positive relationship between a company and their employees.



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