Functionality and style drives PPE


Style and performance are two key factors leading the way in the Workwear and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) category currently, with product style particularly influential when it comes to selecting workwear, according to Mayo Hardware. Workwear has taken on the look of streetwear as part of a recent style upgrade, while also maintaining safety regulations, Mayo Hardware Product Manager, Troy Wagstaff, said recently.

“While gloves, safety glasses and goggles each have a specific job requirement, it is the ergonomics, fit, style, as well as safety performance that remain the most sought-after features by the customer. In regards to footwear, there has also been quite a strong swing away from black coloured footwear in recent years, and the trend is now skewed more towards wheat coloured safety boots,” Mr Wagstaff said.

It seems that brand loyalty is another strong influencer in the category, with Mr Wagstaff saying that DeWalt’s PPE and work wear ranges are continually influenced by its strong branding.

“Customers that use DeWalt power tools trust the brand and have confidence in the product’s performance. Consumers are also aware that the DeWalt PPE and workwear ranges are made to the same strict and tough standards of the DeWalt brand, are highly developed and engineered while also rigorously tested. DeWalt products are known for their superior quality, performance and styling, as well as value for money,” he said.

While safety wear remains specific to the job requirements of each customer, the rate of protective cover required varies considerably across certain trades. It is for this reason that Mayo Hardware recently released a new Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) merchandising unit for the independent channel, according to Mr Wagstaff.

“The merchandising unit is supplied with gloves, glasses, goggles, hearing protection and footwear, while the stand design features mirrors, so customers can try on items and buy with confidence. Individual product units are also available for smaller stores, or for those stores that prefer to range a small number of workwear items. Overall, the new units have been very well received by customers,” he said.

After recently winning supplier of the year with Mitre 10 in New Zealand, Mayo Hardware believes it is important to continually advance and develop products so its customers always have access to the very best items in the category, Mr Wagstaff said.

“We are constantly evolving and growing our products which is why we also have new safety glasses, hearing protection products, as well as some extremely comfortable and durable safety footwear designs already in the pipeline,” he said.

When it comes to keeping up with high quality standards in the industry, Mr Wagstaff said the great thing about personal protective gear and workwear categories in Australia is that standards across all categories must be adhered to. It is for this reason that imported products have a difficult time penetrating the Australian market.

“In Australia and New Zealand there is a lot of legislation in place regarding safety in the construction, mining and manufacturing industries. As a result, the incident rate has declined. This legislation has also created a thriving workwear and PPE industry and there is now strong awareness around these categories both in-store and onsite,” he said.

Quality and innovation a priority for Honeywell
Remaining safe at work or around the home is paramount, which is why workers need to have the highest standards of safety available to them during any operations, no matter the industry they work in or the DIY job they may be completing at home.

It is for this reason that Honeywell recognises that when creating a safe culture, at work or at home, this does not necessarily mean adding a new set of rules, but rather embracing the philosophy of preventing injury, according to Honeywell Industrial Safety’s Respiratory Protection & Electrical Specialist, Louise Powell.

“For over 50 years Honeywell has protected those who have put their health and safety on the line every day, and we are continually innovating by introducing products and solutions to the market to ensure a safe and compliant workplace,” Ms Pywell said.

“While there are several companies that manufacture and provide PPE solutions, being a global operator ensures Honeywell is equipped with both international and local market insights that inform our innovations, meaning our approach to safety is unparalleled. We are constantly improving and updating our product range to meet safety standards and arm our customers – whether it be DIY, hardware or industry – with PPE that protects and improves safety while on the job,” she said.

With spring finally in the air, Honeywell recently reiterated that now is the perfect time to remind DIY gardeners of some of the hazards associated with handling potting mix.

“One issue for DIY gardeners is the potential of developing lung disease that can be associated with inhaling bacteria that live in the potting mix, such as Legionella longbeachae.

Although this bacterium is found in minute quantities in soil, and generally is not a health hazard, the moisture and ingredients in potting mixes make it an ideal environment for its breeding. Therefore, it is important that DIY gardeners wear a disposable mask to protect from inhaling harmful bacteria,” Ms Pywell said.

While speaking on the importance of protecting the lungs in the garden, Ms Pywell also touched on the increased prevalence of Silicosis, a lung disease caused by inhaling silica dust.

“Silica dust is found in materials common in construction sites such as concrete, engineered stone and landscaping materials to name a few. Due to an increase in DIY home renovations and gardening, individuals who are cutting, demolishing, mixing, sanding or sweeping up any of the above listed materials are at risk of being exposed to hazardous levels of silica dust. Therefore, it is very important that people are protecting themselves with adequately fitted respirators to avoid inhalation of the dust,” she said.

“For operations that have employees working with manufactured stone for example, it has become increasingly important that the employer ensures that their workers are fit-tested to their respirators so they are protected from dust inhalation. Honeywell is currently offering a complimentary fit-test when employers purchase from our selected range of disposable masks.”

“Hazardous health concerns such as, asbestos, silicosis and legionnaires disease are an ongoing issue for the DIY and hardware industries. As a PPE provider, we have a fostered duty of care to always provide up-to-date safety solutions to address these dangers, such as disposable respiratory masks, protective eyewear and gloves,” Ms Pywell said.

Honeywell recently released several new products onto the market, including its Rig Dog CR Gloves, which are designed with moulded thermoplastic rubber impact pads, providing optimal impact protection, as well as remaining cut-resistant. Rig Dog CR Gloves are designed for many applications and trades, including construction, mechanics, or the warehouse.

Honeywell also recently released its new Howard Leight™ Sync® Wireless protective earmuffs, which not only integrate Bluetooth wireless technology, but also allow workers to talk on the phone, connect with co-workers, get instructions and perform tasks, without sacrificing hearing protection in noisy environments.

October is National Safe Work Month
Safe Work Australia Chief Executive Officer, Michelle Baxter, recently reminded small business owners and their employers how a moment’s forethought can prevent harm to workers in the workplace, particularly tradies working on building and construction sites, during National Safe Work Month.

“Taking a safety moment can be as simple as spending five minutes every morning talking with your team about the hazards and risks in your workplace, and how to prevent harm (by following correct procedures and using the right PPE). This October, take a moment to consider what workplace safety means to you (and your customers). Over the coming months, we will publish a range of resources on the National Safe Work Month website to help workplaces take a safety moment this October,” Ms Baxter said.

In the lead up to National Safe Work Month, Safe Work Australia has also launched a nationwide initiative aiming to raise awareness of work health and safety risks for tradies and is one which could easily be reinforced by independents, to customers, in-store.

Worksites for tradies are hazardous by nature, and it is the employer’s duty to ensure their team is working safely and with the correct Personal Protective Equipment, Mr Baxter said.

“According to the latest WHS (Work Health and Safety) statistics, tradies make up almost one-third of Australia’s workforce, but they represent over half of the country’s serious workers’ compensation claims. Injuries often experienced by tradies include traumatic joint/ligament and muscle/tendon injuries,” Ms Baxter said.

Throughout August, Safe Work Australia shared resources on tradies’ health and safety by publishing a collection of data, videos, resources and information on its website.

“We want every tradie to go home safe. Serious injuries and fatalities will end up costing employers more if they take shortcuts. Deadlines are serious, but injuries and fatalities are worse. Young workers particularly have an increased risk of workplace injury due to lack of experience, maturity and awareness of WHS responsibilities, so we must focus on building safe and healthy workplaces for this vulnerable group. I can’t overstate the important role of employers, employees and business leaders in educating young workers about their WHS rights and responsibilities, providing the right tools and ensuring they feel empowered to speak up about safety and health,” Mr Baxter said.

Increasing work safety through PPE
Each year the PPE range continues to expand and grow with stylish, innovative products, including boots and safety shoes of all shapes and colours. Trendy pink work boots have become particularly popular with female tradies, along with a wide variety of ear plugs, innovative face masks, as well as gloves, goggles, hard hats, high visibility clothing, respirators, safety harnesses and sunscreen to combat the harsh Australian conditions.

Comfort and functionality are two core factors that are vital when it comes to using PPE, which is also why it is important consumers have the opportunity to touch and feel products, as well as try them on, while deciding which product they need for a particular job.

“How PPE is worn may also adversely affect how well tasks can be performed as PPE can restrict vision or mobility. For example, some items might hinder the body’s natural cooling mechanisms by preventing evaporation of perspiration. The product may be uncomfortable to wear and some workers may not be able to wear the recommended PPE due to skin sensitivities, such as workers who are allergic to latex cannot wear certain kinds of rubber gloves,” Safe Work Australia recently reported.

When a customer purchases a PPE product, Safe Work Australia suggests the purchaser is aware that PPE works when it is suitable for the nature of the work or hazard, the correct size, fit and comfort for the individual using it, is clean and hygienic, is in good working order and the workers have been provided with the right information for correct product use and maintenance.