A safety eyewear win-win in the lumber industry

Many companies understand how important employee safety is, but still struggle with the balance between providing proper PPE and keeping costs down. For procurement departments, it's all about measuring the cost versus the benefit of providing proper protection. But what ends up being pricier? PPE that properly protects? Or "saving money" upfront and hoping that employees won't have any injuries resulting in expenses and lost time?

The problem

A lumber manufacturer’s safety manager, Ricky, was experiencing compliance issues with his employees when it came to wearing their safety eyewear. Workers were either removing their eyewear throughout the day because it was uncomfortable or fogging or they weren’t wearing it at all. Unsurprisingly, this started causing a greater risk of employees getting dirt, debris, and sawdust in their eyes. Ricky knew they needed to improve their eye safety program but wasn’t sure where to start, so he invited HexArmor® to talk through some possible solutions.

The process

After learning the lumber manufacturer’s challenges, HexArmor® suggested a trial with a few different pairs of safety eyewear so that they could determine which would be best for them.

They started trialing HexArmor’s safety eyewear with a TruShield® anti-fog coating. TruShield® is a multipurpose coating that has a permanent anti-fog coating on the interior of the lens and a scratch-resistant hard coat on the exterior of the lens (that won’t wash off over time). TruShield® was chosen because workers were experiencing fogging on the inside of their lenses from body heat, and scratched lenses because of improper cleaning and the dirt and sawdust that was flying around.

After the initial trials, the overall feedback was extremely positive. Employees expressed that HexArmor® safety eyewear was much more comfortable than their previous PPE and eliminated almost all their fogging issues. The compliance problem was solved; employees were keeping their eyewear where it needed to be – in front of their eyes.

As happy as Ricky was with the results, he was nervous about approaching the purchasing manager and proposing that they spend two to three times the cost on new eyewear, for fear that employees wouldn’t take good care of them.

The result

HexArmor® understood and listened to Ricky’s concerns and proposed a cost and use analysis (cost per day) to compare what the lumber mill employees were currently wearing with the HexArmor® safety eyewear they were interested in using. The goal was to see if the longevity and performance of HexArmor® eyewear could justify the cost of the offering.

What they found was compelling. Their current eyewear was only lasting them 12 days, while HexArmor® eyewear was lasting an average of 35 days. The ultimate finding? Switching to HexArmor® eyewear would cost them nothing over and above what they were currently spending in terms of cost per day.

Frames in use:

After reviewing the cost per day, cost per year, and cost per injury information, the lumber mill extended the trial and was pleased to find that about 80% of the HexArmor® safety eyewear they were trialing was lasting well past the 40-day mark. The only pairs that didn’t last as long were either lost or poorly cared for.

After the trial was completed, HexArmor® returned to the lumber mill to help fully implement HexArmor® safety eyewear. They spent time educating the team on how HexArmor® eyewear technology works, how to properly fit test the eyewear, and how to care and maintain it for increased longevity. After three months of use, only a few pairs were replaced – well above the 40-day target goal. Overall, it was a win-win for safety, compliance, and the company’s bottom line.

The importance of cost analysis

Cost-benefit analysis is a vital part of any decision-making process and is especially important when making PPE purchasing decisions. It is imperative that those involved in purchasing decisions consider all the factors and weigh them appropriately. Every company will have different qualifiers for their safety program, but there are a few factors that should never go unaddressed:

  • Prevalence of injuries in a specific application or industry
  • Cost of an individual injury case
  • Proper ways to prevent common injuries

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