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A study on PPE cost management in heavy engineering industry.


Hazards are the situations that has the potential to cause damage to men, material, property and environment. Hence theses hazards should controlled at the sources to avoid workplace accidents. In general, hierarchy of controls includes elimination, substitution, engineering, administrative and Personal protective equipment (PPEs). When engineering, work practice and administrative controls do not provide sufficient protection, it is the duty of employers to provide (PPE) to their employees and ensure its use. PPE is a protective equipment or clothing worn by employee to resist against hazards.

PPE cost management is the process of planning and controlling the budget of PPEs in an industry and to regulate their expenses. In this work, a PPE Cost analysis is carried out for development of PPE cost management system in a Heavy Engineering Industry.

Motivation For Work:

A. What Norms says?:

Part Title: Occupational Safety and Health Standards' Part Number: 1910; Subpart: I; Subpart Title: Personal Protective Equipment; Standard Number: 1910.132; Title: General Requirements; 1910.132(a):Personal protective equipment for eyes, face, head, and extremities, protective clothing, respiratory devices, and protective shields and barriers, shall be provided, used, and maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition wherever it is necessary by reason of hazards of processes or environment, chemical hazards, radiological hazards, or mechanical irritants encountered in a manner capable of causing injury or impairment in the function of any part of the body through absorption, inhalation or physical contact.

It can be clearly seen from the above norms that it is mandatory for the employer to provide adequate PPEs to his employees at any cost. So there arises a necessity to arrive at a cost management system for these PPEs to regulate their costs.

Case study:

This study is carried out in a Heavy Engineering Industry with approximately 1000 employees working there under. The PPEs used in this organization includes Safety shoes with socks, Helmet grounded grinding face shield, eye goggles, safety belt, welding helmet, particulate filter, ear plugs, dust respirator, welding respirator, Hand glove, apron cotton, safety particulate respirator mask, color glass, leather apron, leather Hand sleeve, Leather leg guard, cotton gloves, front cover lens, welding color glass, gum boots, laser goggle, welder head cloth, welding dark/plain glass, chemical resistance apron, nitrile hand gloves, painting coverall, safety helmet, Hammering hand gloves. The study was carried out in the months of April - July 2015. As a result of this study, it is observed that there exists a non-uniformity in managing costs of PPEs every month. In order to arrive at the exact causes for these non-uniformity, a activity based costing model is developed.

Activity based costing model:

Activity based costing is a method for assigning costs to products based on the activities carried out for them. Activity-based costing (ABC) is a simple and concise method to represent activities involved in a process. This model is used to represent the activities involved in purchasing a PPE to arrive at the non-uniformity of costs. ABC identifies the cost involved in each activity through which both direct and indirect costs shall be evaluated. Fig 1. Shows the activities involved in procurement of PPEs in a Heavy Engineering Industry (Annexure - I).

The PPE supplier provides the details of PPEs to the HSE Team as well as to the purchase team. The HSE team decides to choose the appropriate PPEs for a process. HSE team provides guidance to the procurement team which in turn provides suggestions to purchase department. The purchase department contacts the PPE supplier and purchase the appropriate PPE as prescribed by the HSE team. From the purchase department, the PPE flows to stores where it is kept as a inventory. From the inventory, the PPEs are issued to departments and individuals.

Problem Statement:

The problems are arrived based on activities in the activity based costing model as sketched in figure.

B. HSE Team:

The potential problem statements are: Going for an PPE which costs Higher; Though PPE is selected based on end user reviews, the sample is not issued to different departments working in different conditions; Opting for branded ones which increases cost; No criteria for minimum and maximum number of PPEs for employees; Once the best PPEs is identified, it shall be used for all like operations; No details of what type of PPE is required for an activity; No follow-up activities to monitor the status of PPE after issuing it to employees; Opting for Bulk orders of PPEs which becomes incompatible as days progresses

C. Procurement:

The potential problem statements includes: No awareness on PPE (Specifications, types); Opting for Bulk orders of PPEs which becomes incompatible as days progresses.

D. Stores:

The potential problem statements includes: Large amount of Inventory of PPEs; Improper storage of PPEs which reduces its life. (Dust accumulation at PPE storage area).

E. Departments:

The potential problem statements includes: No criteria for number of PPEs to be issued to workers. So, Issuing as on demand by employees; No records for consumption of PPEs in a department; Allowing employees to access PPE Storage cartons ; Lack of educating the employees on PPEs by the supervisors; Using PPEs for inappropriate works; Improper storage of PPEs (Dust accumulation); Changing PPEs frequently though it has more life; No follow-up of consumption of PPEs.

F. Individuals:

The potential problem statements includes: No awareness on PPEs because of no training for newly updated PPEs; Rough and hard use of PPEs; provided with rights to access PPE storage Cartons. No restriction on access to PPEs storage cartons, which makes them to acquire PPEs on anytime; Inappropriate use of PPEs; Improper

Maintenance and handling of PPEs; Changing of PPEs in no time because an interest to go for a new PPE; Not using PPEs up to its lifetime, Changing PPEs if employee feels of changing it; No sign out process for new PPE.

Suggestions for improvement:

G. Suggestions for HSE Team:

The possible suggestions includes: Arriving at engineering controls for replacement of PPEs; Issuing PPE samples to at least three different environments and reviewing it; Setting of minimum and maximum number of PPE for an employee with respect to some defined Period. This can be achieved by monitoring the usage of PPEs by visual observation; PPE matrix shall be developed for all departments; Issuing a register to departments to track the usage of PPEs (Usually for high PPE consumption Departments)

H. Suggestions for Procurement Department:

The possible suggestions includes: Providing guidance to procurement team for purchasing PPEs; A training on PPE specifications and types shall be given to procurement team to make them aware of the day to day PPEs; Trying to avoid bulk orders, Avoiding incompatibility of PPEs.

I. Suggestions for Stores Department:

The possible suggestions includes: A training on PPE specifications and types shall be given to procurement team to make them aware of the day to day PPEs; Periodical Maintenance of PPE storage area

J. Suggestions for Departments:

The possible suggestions includes: HSE team shall after setting of minimum and maximum number of PPE for an employee with respect to some defined Period inform the departments to comply with it; A register shall be issued to all departments to note down the movement of PPEs ; PPEs shall be issued to employees only by authorized person in the department; Supervisors shall educate the employees on its usage and shall track the way of usage of PPEs and shall provide the same to the HSE team; PPE matrix shall be displayed at each department notice boards as to prescribe what PPE shall be used for an activity

K. Suggestions for Individuals:

The possible suggestions includes: Training the employees on PPE Specifications, its lifetime, usage, Maintenance and PPE matrix; Implementing a sign-out process for getting new PPEs.


It can be clearly seen from the analysis of documents that there is a large difference in budget over months (April - July). In this paper, from the analysis carried out in a Heavy Engineering Industry the potential causes for indirect costs involved in handling of PPEs are identified and described. So it leads a pathway for a development of some suggestions to rid of these problems. These suggestions will help the management for managing the cost of PPEs to s greater extent.



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Fig 1. Activity-Based Costing Model

(1) P. T VinothKumar and (2) M. A Rajesh Kumar

(1) Student, M.E. Industrial Safety Engineering Department of Mechanical Engineering Knowledge Institute of Technology Kakkapalayam, Salem.

(2) Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering Knowledge Institute of Technology Kakkapalayam, Salem.

Received 25 April 2016; Accepted 28 May 2016; Available 5 June 2016

Address For Correspondence:

P. T VinothKumar, Student, M.E. Industrial Safety Engineering Department of Mechanical Engineering Knowledge Institute of Technology Kakkapalayam, Salem.
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Author:VinothKumar, P.T.; Kumar, M.A. Rajesh
Publication:Advances in Natural and Applied Sciences
Date:Jun 15, 2016
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