- Helmets. “If the tree you’re working on is not on the ground already, an approved helmet is recommended,” says Harold. “Many injuries are caused by falling branches, particularly in the head area. Many helmets come with hearing and eye protection built in.”
- Gloves with built-in cut resistance are recommended.
- Dust mask
- Eye protection, such as safety glasses and faceshield
- Hearing protection, such as ear plugs or muffs
Rental businesses need to ensure that the PPE they provide meets all the appropriate standards and properly fits the customer.
“The degree of safety depends, in part, on the degree of coverage,” says Quinn. “Hard hats, face shields, safety glasses and goggles should be fitted to provide sufficient coverage.”
PPE sizes can vary according to the manufacturer, model and even price range. Also, the assemblies should be checked on all equipment so that they are in working order before the customer leaves the store with them.
Harold with Husqvarna notes several questions rental businesses can ask regarding their PPE supplier.
- Are there standards for the type of PPE we’re buying? If so, only those certified items should be purchased. UL is a regulatory agency that certifies apparel/equipment for safety usage, while ANSI is an industry group that sets standards but does not certify products. “Many times these ratings become the standard to ensure you’re buying the right type of PPE,” says Harold.
- Are the materials constructed for durable, comfortable usage — whether it’s going to be used one hour or 100 hours?
For example, Malone with Youngstown says that when selecting gloves, one should look for the amount of PVC reinforcement on the palm, as well as the material used in between the fingers. “If it looks and feels tough, it will last longer,” he says.
The best — and most logical — way to promote your lawn & grounds PPE is to display it near the products it can be used with. There are many ways to display these products, and most suppliers of PPE have various displays to choose from.
Merchandising displays come in the form of countertop or floor models, and the type you choose will most likely depend on the space you can devote to it. Another idea is to display your PPE on a safety mannequin to show customers how it should look and to emphasize the importance of safe practices.
In addition to displays located near the trimmers, chainsaws, mowers and chippers, you could have a display on or near the counter where customers could grab safety glasses or gloves on impulse.
“Having [items] merchandised on the counter will help sell a lot more,” says Malone. “We often hear that when someone is renting equipment, they’ll include gloves as a last minute add-on when the gloves are right there on the counter.”
Along with PPE, your displays could include statistics of injuries or regulations for PPE to emphasize the importance of suiting up for safety.
Jay Larsen, North American marketing manager with Shindaiwa, suggests integrating quality safety training videos and safety manuals into your displays as well. He also recommends organizing one- or two-hour training classes as a way to get the safety message to end-users.
“It’s important for any retail business offering outdoor power equipment tools to promote safety and offer PPE,” he says.
“Lawn and grounds equipment these days typically come in small packages but tend to pack a lot of power. It’s important for customers not to take chances and skip wearing PPE. This is power equipment. It has no memory and no conscience. It doesn’t care who you are or what it cuts.”
One way to increase the likelihood of customers taking PPE out of the door with them when renting lawn & grounds equipment is to have knowledgeable employees. “Make sure employees are aware of potentially harmful situations pertaining to specific equipment and communicate those situations with the customer,” says Malone. “Have your employees ask the customer questions about the job at-hand. Communication is important.”