10 reasons why workers don’t use PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)

We as HSE professionals do face this challenge of PPE use on our site. Understanding why workers don’t use PPE is the starting point to solving the problem and improving the use of PPE.

  1. Ignorant of the need to use the personal protective equipment
  2. Overconfidence: Some workers that has been involved in private practice for a long time without using PPE and wasn’t involve in any accident, they will become so overconfident that accident can never happen.
  3. Inconvenience: Most personal protective equipment are not convenient making the workers reluctant to use them even when they know the important.
  4. Job restriction: Some PPE are not applicable when doing some jobs; example it is difficult for a surveyor using a survey equipment like Total Station or Leveling equipment to make use of helmet.
  5. Poor PPE design. Some PPE design are so poor, discouraging most workers from using them.
  6. Negative identification: Organizations that differentiate professions with different helmet colour encounter this challenge. For instance, I may choose not to use my helmet so that someone will not know my profession since am not proud of the profession.
  7. Poor PPE maintenance or replacement. Some PPE get so bad, but the employer fails to replace them. The workers may not be consistent in using it because of that.
  8. Health complication: Some workers cannot use nose cover because of respiratory problems. Some may develop some level of breathlessness when they use it.
  9. Poor choice of PPE: For example, some reflective jacket are not meant for some kind of jobs. Giving construction workers working on the road a heavy reflective jacket will only increase the level of heat they are already exposed to; hence most of them may not use it.
  10. Poor enforcement. When PPE use is not properly enforced, compliance will be so negligible.

One or more of the reasons stated above may be the reason why workers don’t use PPE. You can improve compliance to PPE use by solving the problem associated with the PPE use. Some workers may need training and orientation.

You may need to eject PPE segregation if need be, you may also need to look into improving the PPE design adopted for your workplace or match the PPE with the job being carried out.

Think about why workers don’t use PPE in your work site, that is the starting point to driving compliance to the use of PPE.


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By Ubong Edet

A passionate Health and Safety professional with a good level of field experience and relevant certifications including NEBOSH, OSHA, ISO, etc certifications. An Health and Safety activist who believes in the growth and continual improvement of the profession. He is going all out to create awareness and safe precious lives.

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