Why Relying on PPE Alone is Killing Us

By: Garrett Genest
Blackline GPS
Originally Written for Advisor Magazine

Has anyone seen Ted? It’s 3:19 PM in the afternoon when Suzanne realizes that she hasn’t seen her co-worker Ted in a while. She figures Ted is probably off working on the other side of the site as usual and goes back to work. At 4:22 PM Ted has been found unconscious, face-down in a puddle of muddy water behind a small structure. He is taken to the hospital where he later succumbs to a heart attack.

Would your company have found Ted in time? Vast amounts of money are spent every year on personal protective equipment (PPE) as new advances in those areas are made, and yet, in spite of these investments, fatalities continue to occur. In 2013 in Alberta, 2.6 construction workers died for every 100,000 people employed in the industry, and many more suffered major injuries. Regardless of the PPE purchased, fatality and injury statistics will always be a reality – and it’s a reality that many businesses have still not made plans to deal with.
Death and injury at the workplace costs everyone. Families are torn apart, co-workers are forever changed, and businesses pay higher insurance, face safety citations, and suffer many other ongoing costs. Even so, some businesses continue to bury their heads in the sand and ignore the issues – sending unequipped and sometimes untrained workers into unsafe work environments without even having an adequate mechanism in place to discover when these workers have been injured.
Suzanne and her late friend Ted are fictional, but the risks they face are not and no one is immune. Every year, real people die or are injured in construction in Alberta. Whether they are struck by vehicles, crushed by  falling objects, suffer heart attacks or strokes, or are the victims of any other type of emergency event, these people deserve better.
The next step in improving the outcomes of employees is the implementation of effective safety monitoring. By bringing real-time awareness of incidents to managers in a prompt manner, businesses cannot only save lives but also reduce costs. By mitigating or eliminating the impact caused by unnecessary delays in providing help to injured employees, businesses save on insurance costs, legal expenses, potential fines, training of new employees and lost operational productivity from extended downtime.
If the safety of your employees is a priority, look up “employee safety monitoring” online for a variety of innovative products and services that have been designed for businesses like those in the construction industry. The benefits of saving the lives of your employees, not to mention the cost savings associated with avoiding incidents, will return great dividends. Next time an incident occurs, we all hope Ted will return home safe. 

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