Portable Sanitation Association International

Association Insight Nov 27

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WEEKLY EDITION NOVEMBER 27, 2019 PPE: W ha t to Do W h en th e T e am S a ys "N op e " By Karleen Kos, PSAI Executive Director…continued from page 1 Lucie Ponting, a British journalist who specializes in health, safety, and environmental issues, has written about employees and the use of PPE. She has some good ideas about ways to help employees adhere to PPE requirements. As she says, "People sometimes refuse to wear PPE because of religious beliefs or on health grounds but, mostly, refusals stem from poor management, communication and training. If workers don't understand why they need to wear PPE or don't have any say in choosing it, they are more likely to refuse to use it than if they are properly trained and involved." R e fu s al Du e t o De e p -S e at e d B e lie f s There are several examples of ways in which religious beliefs can cause employees to refuse to wear PPE. We cannot be sure how often this arises in the portable sanitation industry but, especially in racially and ethnically diverse communities, if it hasn't come up already it probably will eventually. For instance, • Sikh workers might refuse to wear protective headgear. • Hindus may object to cow skin gloves since the cow is a sacred animal in their belief system. • Muslims could shy away from pigskin gloves because they consider pigs "unclean." • Clean-shaven policies in the workplace can be another source of conflict. Because facial hair can adversely affect the fit of certain respiratory protection, beard bans can cause problems for workers whose facial hair is a religious requirement. Other objections based on deeply held beliefs may originate from health concerns. Examples include: • Some people claim that ear defenders can lead to ear infections and that impermeable (waterproof) protective gloves contribute to dermatitis. • One warehouse worker was dismissed because his employer couldn't find an alternative to the safety boots that aggravated the worker's skin condition. PAGE 2 CONTINUED ON PAGE 3

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