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Behavioral Approaches to Personal Protective Equipment Usage.

Cohen A
NIOSH 1982 Feb:177-185
Techniques for enhancing worker compliance with safety programs requiring the usage of personal protective devices were described. Worker compliance was described as depending upon three variables: the immediacy of the hazard and its consequences, the discomfort or encumbrance imposed by the device, and the device's effectiveness as perceived by the worker. Important factors related to the perceived immediacy of the hazard included the severity of the exposure and the temporal realization of expected effects. The example was given of hazards associated with a chipping operation (acute, immediate hazard to eyes) compared to those associated with dusts generated in a mining operation (chronic, delayed effects of the hazard). Discomfort and encumbrance factors associated with the use of personal protective equipment included weight, resistance to normal body function and movement, interference with job performance, added stress, need for maintenance, and cosmetic factors for both men and women. The perceived effectiveness of personal protective gear depends both on worker safety training and on worker experience of accident avoidance using the suggested equipment. Worker concern about the immediacy of hazards was found to be enhanced by the discovery of preclinical signs of latent disorders. Rewards for usage of safety gear has also been found to be effective in enhancing worker compliance, even in the face of significant worker discomfort or encumbrance by such equipment. Finally, worker compliance was observed to be enhanced by frequent worker briefings related to findings on effectiveness of personal protective equipment.
NIOSH-Author; Industrial-safety-programs; Worker-health; Worker-motivation; Body-protection; Protective-measures; Safety-equipment; Warning-devices; Safety-research; Work-analysis; Personal-protection
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 82-103
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Symposium on Occupational Safety Research and Education, Division of Safety Research and Division of Training and Manpower Development, NIOSH, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 82-103
Page last reviewed: February 11, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division