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Dean Clark

The balancing act of managing cost-to-wear

Employee safety, comfort and productivity should always be the primary objectives. When the price becomes the sole objective, companies often lose in the long run with increased injuries and down time, lower morale and greater waste.

Most safety and plant managers will agree that companies typically get what they pay for when it comes to PPE. While a lower quality glove may cost less initially, it will likely cost more in the long term if it must be replaced more frequently or if injury rates rise.

Questions to ask include the following: How does the company acquire its PPE and how are products used? Do products perform as expected and how much does it cost to keep them in inventory? Do workers have the right gloves for the task at hand and do the products successfully reduce injury, which increases productivity and decreases medical costs? Are workers wearing the gloves for their full-service life?

Management must also consider the waste aspect of the business. Are PPE products laundered and/ or recycled or do they go into the waste stream for disposal in a landfill? What are the costs for laundering, recycling and/or disposal? Are there losses in productivity due to workers frequently changing PPE or from time consumed donning the products?