Posted on: May 31, 2011 Posted by: Diane Swarts Comments: 0

Southern African employers and workers are slack at compliance and best practice requiring provision and use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Awareness about health and safety risks and sheq management methods in mining, manufacturing, fishing and agriculture, will drive PPE market expansion in southern African countries, while legal compliance would remain a secondary consideration, says a Frost and Sullivan business report.

“Greater awareness about health and safety in the workplace is the main driver of the southern African PPE market”, notes the analyst. Awareness “has led to a reduction in the number of incidents at work, supporting increased production”.

Most African labour health and safety authorities, and employers, do not conduct consistent site visits to ensure correct and sustained use of PPE.

Random checks and blitzes on health, safety and environment risk management and compliance by African labour, health and environment authorities, impose fines, temporary closure, and rarely, closure.

Focus on workplace health and safety, as well as environmental impacts on water, groundwater, air and soil, is intensifying worldwide, compelling multinationals and larger companies in mining and industrial sectors to comply.

Employers that go beyond compliance, in a quest for best practice, standardisation to ISO 9001, ISO 14001 or OHSAS 18001, typically focus on risk assessment, prevention and worker awareness, with PPE seen as a last resort in areas and jobs where exposure to noise, dust, sharps and other personal injury risks could not be securely managed by other means.

PPE use requires quality management

“As awareness grows, smaller, local companies are also ensuring proper deployment of PPE for employees.” PPE management typically requires a reliable documentation, recoding and quality management system.

Some PPE suppliers extend their PPE record keeping expertise to major PPE users, by way of automated PPE assessment, procurement, storage, issuing, verification and replacement systems.

Frost and Sullivan analyses PPE market segments in eye, hearing, face, head, hand, respiration, foot and skin protection. The analyst Research and Markets has added Frost and Sullivan’s report on the southern African PPE market to their information offering, with a base year of 2009 and forecasts running to 2016.

The market is further divided according to product types like re-usabe PPE and end user types. A report titled ‘Southern African PPE Market’ examines eye, hearing, face and head protection; protective gloves; respiratory PPE; foot protection and protective clothing.

Among the countries included in the research are South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola.

Workplace awareness of several sheq aspects have to be maintained to support the success of workplace health, safety, environment and quality programmes. Toolbox talks are proven to be effective, especially when supported by authoritative toolbox leaflets and posters.

• For the Frost and Sullivan PPE market report, visit or

IMAGE; Workplace SHEQ awareness is best maintained by a range of toolbox talks, supported by well researched toolbox leaflets and posters.


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