Failure to adhere to best practices in occupational health and safety can have adverse financial implications for companies, says Anton Zwanepoel, Business Unit Manager at Innovative PPE Solutions, a subsidiary of Innovative Solutions Group TM.

“We have in recent times, seen lawsuits approaching R100 million lodged on behalf of workers who were not properly protected from the hazards inherent in their workplace. Work stoppages and labour disputes arising from safety issues result in hugely inflated production costs and, most importantly, too many lives are lost or wrecked in accidents that never should have happened, because companies compromised on their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) expenditure,” Zwanepoel says.

He says organisations should spend between 5% and 10% of their operating costs on initial PPE purchases, which include the likes of comprehensive safety gear for employees, ventilation in the workplace, fire extinguishers and cleaning materials.

“Global trends show that in the financial year of 2015-2016 there were over 51% of workplace deaths from falling from heights and 50% of serious workplace injuries occurred from slipping and tripping, according to Eurostat. PPE has immense benefits for both employers and employee. Employers are less likely to face legal action. Adhering to a solid PPE plan also increases the lack of accidents, which reduces production costs, staff turnover and improves service delivery,” Zwanepoel says.

In recent years employers have become more aware of the dangers inadequate safety equipment poses on employee wellbeing and the company’s bottom line. During 2015-2016, companies lost over 27 million working hours due to injuries on duty, according to Eurostat. Injuries on duty in South Africa are recorded by the Department of Labour and the Workman’s Compensation Fund. However, there have been calls for a more accurate reporting system to record the number of injuries and claims per annum.

But employers often lament the high costs associated with the implementation of safety regulations in the workplace. Choosing to exclude a comprehensive safety plan altogether or opting for unscrupulous suppliers of PPE.

Innovative PPE Solutions (IPS) will help companies remain compliant with safety regulations, assist with their specific requirements and ensure the organisation is not at risk while at the same time ensuring their employees’ safety by looking out for safety risks in the workplace.

“If management is conscious of dangers in the workplace, safety is bound to improve significantly. Safety performance will become value driven and safety excellence will be maintained with the use of proper PPE, together with employees understanding the necessity of PPE in the workplace,” Zwanepoel adds.

Zwanepoel says Innovative PPE Solutions (IPS) relies on a team of qualified researchers to scout the market for affordable and reliable personal protective equipment. Their vast industry knowledge pertaining to PPE policy implementation makes them experts in drafting out PPE strategies for companies.

“Innovative PPE Solutions (IPS) are offering a solution to business owners, supplying them with proper and comfortable PPE equipment to help them grow their business. PPE is there to save lives. It is there to prevent injuries. It protects employees in their work environment. Businesses can focus on their core business while a company such as Innovative PPE Solutions focuses on your safety requirements in the work place,” Zwanepoel concludes.