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How to Get Younger Workers to Buy In to PPE Programs

by Joe Geng on June 4, 2015

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Workers under the age of 25 are twice as likely to have nonfatal injuries within the first six months of a new job.

Some injuries, particularly those to the hands, can be career ending at a time when these workers’ careers are just beginning. Getting younger workers to understand the importance of proper PPE is critical in preventing these injuries. What can your safety program do to get this group involved in your PPE program one hundred percent?



It always seems like training is the first and last answer to issues like this. Training is where the importance of PPE can be demonstrated to young workers. There are several categories of training that you should provide to your workers.

  • Proper selection of PPE – PPE comes in all shapes and sizes. Knowing the difference between electrical insulating and heat insulating gloves can help younger workers avoid injury. Quite often, they are just not knowledgeable enough regarding what they should be using. Training on selection can aid them in properly sized gear, as well as the right category of gear.
  • Proper Use of PPE – Once the proper gear is selected, the next step is using the gear properly. Knowing when to safely remove gloves, what to do when PPE seems cumbersome or uncomfortable and knowing the limitations of the gear can all help your workers buy in to using it.
  • Storage and Handling of PPE – Preventing injury begins with having properly cared for equipment. Education about what to do when the job is done is just as important as what to do during the job. Make sure that cleaning and storage training is given so that when equipment is picked up for usage, it is in top shape for the job.

Understanding who is Responsible for Safety

You as the employer are responsible for keeping your worker safe and out of harms way. It is your job to examine the workplace conditions and to educate your employees, old and young on the dangers of the job. If an employee does not feel that the working environment is safe, they have the right to refuse unsafe work. Educate your young workers that they have the right to exercise that right without being reprimanded.


Quality Tools

Young workers who are responsible for providing their own tools might not have access to high quality tools. Using cheap or used tools might seem like a good idea to save money. It is important to realize these tools can cause injury if they are not rated for the job at hand. Ensuring that younger workers have access to proper tools can help them make good choices when selecting the right tool for the

Job Analysis

Involving young workers in the entire job process, from planning to execution can give a sense of involvement they have not gotten in the past. It can also help to point out potential hazards they might not identify on their own due to inexperience.


Looking for more information on how to get young workers safe? Download our Top Ten Safety Compliance Tips!

Top Ten compliance tips

Top Ten compliance tips

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