COVID-19: Protective equipment in the workplace
Significant number of workers in the C&E sector would refuse to go to work without the right PPE
THE vast majority of workers in the construction and engineering (C&E) industry believe that it is their employer’s responsibility to ensure they have the right protective equipment in the workplace – with a significant number stating they would refuse to go to work without the right PPE, according to a survey by Populus Data Solutions.
The survey, carried out for industrial workwear and protective clothing specialists Ballyclare, also found that a large proportion of construction and engineering workers are still seeking clarity on PPE from their employers and the Government.
The results come as Ballyclare publish a new factsheet, clearly spelling out to employers and employees which PPE should be worn across various workplace settings and how it can be worn most safely.
As the economy slowly reopens, worker safety is a key focus for both employers and employees. When asked who should be responsible for ensuring workers have the right equipment to work safely, 85% of respondents in the construction and engineering sector said it is the employer’s role, whilst 27% also said the Government should shoulder the responsibility.
These answers reflect sentiment from other sectors, which showed that 87% felt it was the employer’s role, and 40% believed it was the Government’s role.
In a stark illustration of the issues facing businesses coming out of lockdown, the survey found that if an employer did not provide the employee with PPE, almost a half of respondents in the construction and engineering sector said that they were very likely or likely to refuse to go into work (46%), compared to 24% who said they would still attend.
The survey results showed that a significant majority of workers in the construction and engineering sector want clarity on what protective equipment they should wear – 71% said they would feel safer in returning to work if their employers provide the right PPE, with 83% saying they wanted clear advice from their employer. At the same time, 63% said they also wanted clear advice from the Government.
As lockdown measures are relaxed and people consider their back-to-work options, the analysis shows that if people were able to go into work tomorrow, a significant portion of the construction and engineering industry would not feel comfortable (35%) compared with those who said they would (34%). Also, 7% said that they are back at work and do not feel comfortable.
Silke Hendricks, managing director of Ballyclare, said: ‘If people continue to feel insecure about returning to work, we could see a huge impact on the UK’s efforts to reopen the economy. The more employers can do to communicate the steps they are taking to make the workplace safe, the better.
‘We have created a [face mask] factsheet, based on our years of experience of working with PPE, to provide some practical advice as companies look to do everything they can to reopen their workplace in as safe a manner as possible.’
The Ballyclare Face Mask Factsheet can be downloaded below.