When one learns how to ride a bicycle as a child, the first thing they learn is the importance of wearing a helmet. Wearing a helmet is an important safety measure, just in case of an accident, to prevent serious injuries.
Presently, in light of COVID-19, personal protective equipment, also known as PPE, has become a common term across the globe. However, PPE doesn’t only apply to workers in healthcare, but can relate to workers in a variety of settings. It is essential to keep workers safe on the job and minimize the risks of a work injury. And yet, a majority of workers in a variety of fields do not wear the proper PPE at work.
More workers not wearing PPE
In 2012, Kimberly-Clark Professional published a survey that found that 89% of safety professionals stated workers failed to wear PPE on many occasions. This is the most recent study of its kind, but the surveys leading up to 2012 continued to show the alarming trend of workers forgoing PPE.
Workers listed several reasons for not wearing PPE, including:
- It was uncomfortable;
- It did not fit properly; or
- It was not readily available.
Some workers even felt that PPE was unnecessary and even unhelpful.
PPE is important for workers’ safety
All types of PPE are explicitly designed to protect workers against a wide range of hazards they might face, such as:
- Cuts and lacerations;
- Chemical burns or exposure; or
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
The National Safety Council reports that the majority of workplace accidents are preventable. Wearing PPE is one of many factors that helps to prevent a variety of injuries – which is why wearing PPE on the job is so critical.
Workers are still entitled to compensation if they suffer an accidental injury at work (Maryland Code, Labor & Employment §9-501). Maryland law does not require an injured worker to prove that the employer acted negligently by either failing to provide PPE or not providing effective PPE. Workers should wear PPE to protect themselves. Additionally, a worker’s failure to properly wear provided PPE does not bar them from receiving coverage under Maryland law.
There are times that a situation may appear complicated or an employer/insurer may attempt to deny a claim for illegitimate reasons. That considered, it is often critical for workers to consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to better understand their rights in these cases.