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3M Study Reveals Use of Occupational Safety Equipment Varies Broadly by Geography

July 26, 2012
A new study from 3M helps EHS professionals gain insight on potential personal protection equipment socioeconomic disparities between major markets.
A new study released by 3M offers safety and health professionals a snapshot of how personal protective equipment (PPE) is used around the world. The survey of 298 safety professionals in 10 countries, representing the Americas, Europe and Asia, covered a spectrum of industries, including construction, oil and gas, transportation and mining.

The study cites that the top ten PPE products most commonly specified by safety professionals include safety gloves, shoes, ear plugs, goggles, helmets/hard hats, non-prescription eyewear, face shields, disposable respirators, earmuffs and welding protection shields. Safety gloves are the most commonly used safety product worldwide, with 91 percent of respondents indicating their use.

Use of PPE varies widely by country, with Norway employing the most PPE, followed closely by the United States. Of the top ten most commonly used categories of PPE, China reported the lowest use in seven categories. China also offers the greatest growth potential for the application of personal protection equipment (PPE) because of its booming manufacturing sector, combined with a relatively recent focus on workplace safety.

In addition to geographical differences in the overall use of PPE, the 3M study also revealed differences in the use of specific types of PPE. For example, earmuffs are specified by 100 percent of respondents in Norway but only 15 percent of respondents in China. Communication headsets are specified by 67 percent of respondents in France but only 10 percent of respondents in Italy.

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