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PPE that helps build a positive working environment

13 October 2023

PROVIDING WORKERS with personal protective equipment that delivers on wearability can significantly improve compliance, safety and overall wellbeing

Worker wellbeing has become a hot topic in recent years - and with good reason. From increased productivity to reduced absenteeism, a happy workforce can bring exponential benefits for business.

Nonetheless, a positive working environment is about much more than controlling the lighting and temperature or employee benefits. 

The new ISO 45003 standard on psychological health and safety shows organisations how to make their people their priority, identifying where psychosocial risks arise and how they can be mitigated or eliminated. The standard shows how improving psychological safety involves taking precautions to avert injury or danger to employee psychological health. 

That means high-quality PPE is vital. How workers feel in what they're wearing has a psychological effect. If employees are given poor-standard PPE, they will inevitably feel less important themselves. 

Implications of poor PPE

PPE should meet EN standards as the bare minimum but, even then, workers often dread having to wear it. Women, smaller men and young people in particular can find it hard to find PPE that fits, but poor-quality products tend to be uncomfortable for anyone. That can reduce compliance and increase the risk of accidents and discontentment.

Substandard products generally fail to stand the test of time, too. Workers throwing poorly produced gloves into an overflowing bin at the end of their shift are reminded on a daily basis about the disposable nature of their protective equipment. That not only increases waste - hurting the bottom line - but can negatively impact on workers' well-being and the company's culture more generally.

If employees receive good-quality PPE, on the other hand, they are more likely to use it. Ergonomic products that are easy to wear will therefore dramatically cut the risk of non-compliance.

That means safety gloves that are designed and manufactured to fit the shape of the individual's hand. It means footwear that delivers all-day comfort, cushioning to reduce musculoskeletal issues as well as protection from workplace hazards. It means comfortable earplugs helping to reduce pressure and also containing no contaminants that could enter the body. 

Products should also be created for longer-term use. Durability signals quality to employees and means they are more likely to look after them. That brings benefits for well-being, cost and sustainability.

The importance of wearability

A valued employee is the greatest asset a business can have, so it makes sense to choose PPE that delivers on wearability. There are four main factors that determine whether a product offers true wearability:

Proper fit: One size does not fit all. It may seem obvious, but products that have been selected for the individual and their workplace requirements can help avoid accidents, reduce discomfort, increase productivity and give wearers confidence.

All-day comfort: With proper fit comes comfort. Products should be designed to work with the body, with considerations including whether they are free from pressure points, lightweight, and breathable. It’s only when PPE fits well and is comfortable that it remains worn throughout the day.

Product performance: In addition to fulfilling the required safety standards, the product's design, quality of materials, and production technologies all have a bearing on the wearer experience. 

Modern style: We all want to look and feel good, and this is no different when we're at work. By choosing products that are high performing, comfortable and stylish, wearing PPE is effortless and something to take pride in. As a result, PPE is more likely to be worn and remain where it should throughout the day so employees stay compliant.

The uvex approach

At uvex, we design wearability into every product we make. Our range features a broad range of sizes to ensure the right fit, while we have complete ownership of the entire value-chain from raw material to finished product to ensure the highest-quality PPE.

Our safety gloves are designed to fit like a second skin. The uvex phynomic range is manufactured using 3D hand ‘formas’ that simulate the contours of the wearer's hand with up to eight precisely coordinated sizes. Our Bamboo TwinFlex D XG gloves, meanwhile, adapt precisely to fit the shape of the hand within five minutes while also offering noticeable comfort for their skin thanks to the bamboo-viscose.

We offer hearing protection based on the human anatomy. The uvex xact-fit mimics the natural oval shape of the ear canal, reducing pressure inside the ear – even when worn for extended periods - as well as allowing fast, easy and accurate insertion.

Our safety footwear is made with ergonomic design and features such as adaptive fit insoles for a customised wearing experience. uvex i-PUREnrj technology offers increased stability, very high levels of shock absorption as well as energy-return. The recovered landing energy over the entire sole unit is returned to the wearer providing a boost of energy, greater comfort and significantly lower fatigue in the legs and feet.

The uvex safety eyewear range is designed to fit different head and facial shapes, with adaptable features such as lens inclination and extendable side arms. The uvex CBR65 tint is ideal for use at workplaces with screens as it reduces blue light by up to 50% and reduces harsh overhead LED lighting for fatigue-free vision.

We know the best PPE is the one that gets worn. We create comfortable, durable, high-quality PPE that doesn’t get in the way - allowing workers to focus on the task at hand. 

For more information, visit www.uvex-safety.co.uk/en/