Safety Products: Spend More To Save More
Safety is an issue for everyone in industrial and ware- house environments. That’s why so many distributors offer a safety product line, if not make it their core
This month, ID is focusing on two prominent safety
Eye protection isn’t what it used to be. Safety glasses
of yesteryear are bulky, heavy, and largely designed as
one-size-fits all for cost savings. But as OSHA citations
and fines are on the rise for the first time in 25 years, and
the cap penalty OSHA can impose has nearly doubled,
employers are realizing that spending a little more up
front on eye protection products tends to pay off in the
“The relationship between improved design and
compliance is simple: workers requiring eye protection
are more likely to put on – and keep on – safety glasses
that look good and provide long-term comfort,” says
Katie Mielcarek, Marketing Manager for Gateway Safety.
“This trend is relevant for employers who want to both
avoid OSHA citations and, more importantly, keep their
Mielcarek says that one of the biggest areas of
improvement in eye protection is in regards to the temple
area – behind the eyes. Poor temple designs can put too
much pressure on this area, pinch the back of the head, or
cause glasses to fall off in hot, sweaty conditions.
“Workers that don’t find their eye protection comfort-
able will frequently put their safety glasses on top of
their heads, or remove them entirely,” Mielcarek says.
“By focusing on specialized temple features that improve
comfort, manufacturers can produce products that work-
ers will want to wear, which encourages employers to
Like with any industrial product, technology is con-
stantly changing to fit the needs of PPE users. When it
comes to eye protection, products that answer the need
for both protection and comfort will improve compliance.
A pair of safety glasses can be the best in the industry at
protecting the eyes, but can still be a poor product if em-
ployees tend not to wear them because of comfort issues.
“Safety eyewear products that offer better fit and
comfort – with emphasis on unique temple design – will
improve compliance,” Mielcarek says. “Distributors should
be looking for manufacturing partners who are listening
to end user needs and finding innovative ways to produce
better safety eyewear for today’s workers.”
At the STAFDA convention, Roberts spoke about the
evolution of safety products, using fall protection as an
example. When Roberts started his career in 1979, a fall
protection unit was usually just a safety belt with a single
D-ring and a six-foot nylon rope lanyard with snap hooks
on both ends. It sold for about $50 to the end user.
“Today, standard fall protection is a full body harness
with a retractable shock-absorbing landyard system that
sells for about $300,” Roberts said.
Obviously, the cost of fall protection products have
risen significantly over the last 37 years, but so have their
ability to ensure users come home safely.
With 7,402 citations last year, fall protection was
OSHA’s top safety violation of 2015 for a fifth-year running. Trips, slips, and falls are among the most common
causes of serious work-related injuries and deaths.
“Slips, trips and falls are preventable, and it’s vital that
employers put effective workplace strategies in place to
prevent employees from falling off of overhead platforms, elevated work stations or into holes in walls and
floors,” says Rob Honeycutt, co-founder of fall protection
solutions provider SixAxis.
Today’s OSHA standards require that fall protection be
provided at elevations of four feet in general industry
workplaces, five feet in shipyards, six feet in the construction industry, and eight feet in longshoring operations.
In addition, OSHA necessitates that fall protection be
provided when working over dangerous equipment and
machinery, regardless of the fall distance.
“OSHA’s four-foot rule has continued to generate
platform, stair and handrail projects and many specialty
fall protection products – like gangways for tank car and
trucks – continue to grow,” Honeycutt says.
BY MIKE HOCKETT