Personal Productivity Equipment Boosts Safety

May 28, 2008
Any occupational health and safety professional knows that PPE stands for personal protective equipment. But when EMCOR Group Inc. developed the concept of “personal productivity equipment,” the acronym took on a whole new meaning.

By putting a spin on this familiar safety term, EMCOR, a provider of mechanical and electrical construction, energy infrastructure and facilities services, is changing the way its employees work. The term PPE traditionally refers to the safety equipment workers wear to reduce the risk of on-the-job injuries. But because this equipment sometimes was uncomfortable, inconvenient or impractical, many workers did not use it, leading to injuries that negatively impact productivity, EMCOR said.

“If you remember what gloves or safety glasses were like 10-15 years ago, you can see how they might impede productivity. But that has all changed and now there are many different types and styles of gloves and protective eyewear for every task that not only prevent injury but increase productivity,” said Dave Copley, vice president of safety and quality management for EMCOR Construction and Facility Services. “As a result, an evolution in the application of PPE was a natural step, hence the development of personal productivity equipment.”

EMCOR embraced its new “personal productivity equipment” concept and introduced it to project management and field leaders to help company employees be more productive. Some of this equipment includes:

  • LED task lighting in gloves and eyewear or hardhat-mounted headlamps to improve the ability of workers to see what they are doing in poorly lighted environments;
  • Appropriate footwear or working surfaces to reduce fatigue; and
  • Consistent use of gel knee pads to make working at floor level safer, less tiring and more productive.

The correct and consistent use of these and other pieces of equipment are an essential part of EMCOR’s process at every job site. This “PPE” is part of EMCOR’s overall corporate commitment to safety that also includes a risk reduction strategy that involves such aspects as engineering controls, hazard mitigation and improved planning.

“Thinking in these terms is a revolutionary step in improving safety and performance. The use of PPE is not only the safe and responsible thing to do, it’s one of the best ways to help improve productivity,” Copley said. “If we can reduce risk, fatigue, injury and downtime through the use of PPE, overall results will improve. It’s simply not acceptable for production losses to occur because PPE is not used.”

About the Author

Laura Walter

Laura Walter was formerly senior editor of EHS Today. She is a subject matter expert in EHS compliance and government issues and has covered a variety of topics relating to occupational safety and health. Her writing has earned awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), the Trade Association Business Publications International (TABPI) and APEX Awards for Publication Excellence. Her debut novel, Body of Stars (Dutton) was published in 2021.

Sponsored Recommendations

10 Facts About the State of Workplace Safety in the U.S.

July 12, 2024
Workplace safety in the U.S. has improved over the past 50 years, but progress has recently stalled. This report from the AFL-CIO highlights key challenges.

Free Webinar: ISO 45001 – A Commitment to Occupational Health, Safety & Personal Wellness

May 30, 2024
Secure a safer and more productive workplace using proven Management Systems ISO 45001 and ISO 45003.

ISO 45003 – Psychological Health and Safety at Work

May 30, 2024
ISO 45003 offers a comprehensive framework to expand your existing occupational health and safety program, helping you mitigate psychosocial risks and promote overall employee...

Case Study: Improve TRIR from 4+ to 1 with EHS Solution and Safety Training

May 29, 2024
Safety training and EHS solutions improve TRIR for Complete Mechanical Services, leading to increased business. Moving incidents, training, and other EHS procedures into the digital...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of EHS Today, create an account today!