25 Mar 16
Lean on Me: Trusting the Manufacturer
Trusting manufacturers to help with jobsite safety and training expertise is like garnishing fresh apple pie with a slice of cheddar cheese.* It may not feel right, but once you give it a try, you won’t want it any other way.
Why? Because both you and the manufacturer have a mutual responsibility to keep workers safe. Since the manufacturer is required to meet or exceed performance standards for the products they sell, they are well-versed in product regulations and often have relevant resources, including white papers, tech bulletins, and tools for evaluating use of their products such as checklists and site-evaluation forms. These resources allow you to purchase products with purpose and provide a clear vision as to how protective gear will be utilized on the factory floor, at the bottom of the ocean, or wherever your workers punch the clock.
When and How to Ask for Support
Before you buy, many manufacturers will work with you on an evaluation of your jobsite and project needs. If you face unique environmental challenges, contact your manufacturer and have them visit so they can help you to identify the best products to supply to your workers.
Too often, though, a manufacturer is called to a jobsite after an incident has occurred. Although a site evaluation can add detail to your company’s written safety programs, it cannot undo the damage caused by an accident. Use the manufacturer to perform evaluations proactively. It can become a resource for incident response, and identification of hazards, solutions, and controls.
Manufacturers remain a vital resource after your purchase as well. They can provide key insights into all aspects of proper equipment use and point out limitations that may be buried in the fine print of the owner’s manual. Equipment manufacturers can also provide awareness level training. This can be done as part of an established pre-task meeting, like a toolbox talk or a tailgate meeting. Or, if more detail is required, more extensive classroom training.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for More
Every smart safety professional knows that safety is about a whole lot more than wearing the correct PPE. It’s about having proper training and substantive programs in place to ensure a safety culture. Good manufacturers know this, can help and are far too often an untapped resource. Lean on them as you build a world-class safety program.
*Try this. It’ll change your life.