Indiana Daily Student

Social media contest showcases University protective wear

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Yellow hard hats, neon safety vests and tinted safety glasses are among the apparel being modeled by officers of the IU Police Department, dental hygiene students, groundskeepers and more in an unlikely fashion-based 
social media campaign.

Last week, Tracy James, assurance communications manager for IU Public Safety and Institutional Assurance, invited members of all eight IU campuses to join “PPE Fashion Week: Personal Protective Equipment,” geared toward showcasing different protective attire worn by IU students, faculty and staff.

For the fashion week, IU faculty, staff and students emailed photos of them wearing their routine personal protective equipment to James to be used on Protect IU’s social media platforms.

Mike Jenson, University director of IU Environmental Health and Safety, partnered with James for the interactive visual campaign to recognize a new PPE policy put in place this year.

“Wearing PPE is one of the easiest ways that people can reduce their risks when they’re doing their work,” Jenson said. “It’s not very attractive, but my point is that if you go home at the end of the day and you don’t have any injuries, you look really great.”

Jenson said each campus previously had its own PPE policy in place. The changes in the policy implemented this year created a standard PPE policy that could be understood and followed on all IU campuses.

“There’s not a whole lot there that’s really new,” Jenson said. “It’s just new that it’s the same for everybody now.”

The new PPE policy requires all University faculty, staff and student workers to wear proper attire when working in hazardous situations. The policy takes various factors into consideration, including physical and chemical hazards, environmental conditions, maintenance 
requirements and more.

Dan Derheimer, IU-Bloomington director of Environmental Health and Safety, said PPE can include departments ranging from Residential Programs and Services to custodians and painters.

“It’s hard to reach a full university of people, so anything we can do to do that I think is kind of a neat idea,” Derheimer said of the PPE Fashion Week campaign.

James said she received 43 photo entries University-wide in last week’s submission period. The participants sport protective eyewear, steel-toed boots, bulletproof vests and more.

This week James is encouraging all members of the IU community to vote for their favorite photos, which are posted on Protect IU’s Twitter and Facebook pages. Ballots will be posted via social media and emailed to various human resources directors across the University.

The winning photo will be posted on the Protect IU homepage and will be named PPE Top Model.

James said she hopes PPE Fashion Week can become an annual event based on the response of voting. She said PPE, as well as being worn as a protective measure while working at the University, could also be used at home.

“It’s not just a work thing,” James said. “When you’re cleaning at home it might be a good idea to put on some gloves or putting glasses on if you’re using power equipment, like saws or drills.”

A direct link to the PPE Fashion Week ballot can be made available by contacting James attraljame@iu.edu.

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