Personal protection equipment (PPE) and safety clothing are absolutely vital on a construction site. There are so many hazards associated with construction and injuries can occur very easily, so it’s important for workers to feel safe and employers to follow their responsibilities to maintain health and safety in the workplace.
If you are an employer, you have a legal requirement to provide basic safety equipment and PPE to your workers. If you are an employee you should expect your employer to offer you the safety gear you will need to do your job safely.
Construction site managers and company owners should be sure to thoroughly look through the laws regulating the kind of work their team is carrying out to check what they are required to provide. While if you are an employee and you feel unsafe at work you need to talk to your manager about it – you should sort this out before any injury can occur. So let’s have a look at the kinds of PPE and safety gear that construction workers need.
On almost all construction sites, head protection is a requirement according to the law. There are just so many hazards with heavy falling objects and other debris that can cause serious head injuries – even when it doesn’t seem like the risk is great, it’s still important to be protected from accidents. Safety helmets or hard hats should be provided to every construction worker by their employer as they are one of the most important pieces of PPE.
Safety Glasses and Face Shields
Safety glasses and face shields protect construction workers from eye and facial injuries. Whether you are working with chemicals, sparks or simply particles from broken concrete, it is important to keep your eyes safe as well as avoid injuries to your face.
For most forms of construction work simple safety glasses are perfectly acceptable, but if you are working with heavy duty machinery or noxious chemicals it could be that workers will need considerably stronger protection.
On the same note, if you are working in an environment with chemicals, dust or other hazardous substances in the air it might be necessary to wear respirator masks. Employers have a duty of care to establish whether their workers will be at risk from fibres or dust where respirators could protect them. If you are an employee and you feel that you could benefit from a respirator, talk to management about it to see if they will agree to provide them.
Gloves and Hand Protection
Gloves are a minimum requirement for working on building and construction sites. However, it’s important to note that there are a huge variety of different kinds of gloves which can each be useful in different situations. Thinner gloves can allow for greater dexterity but do not provide the same level of protection as heavy duty gloves. The kind of glove that will be most useful to you will depend on the kind of site that you are working and you must make sure that the gloves you are using are up to task. Also consider that gloves must be the right size to be effective or they will simply cause problems.
Boots are a very important piece of PPE as foot and ankle injuries are relatively common occurrences on construction sites.
Good quality boots should have steel toes, non-skid soles and sole protection to keep workers safe from the most regular problems. Once again it’s important to note that getting the right type of boot and the right size are both essential.
High Visibility Clothing
Many construction sites like to make a rule that all workers should wear high visibility clothing and this is especially true anywhere that vehicles are present alongside workers. There are many different types of high visibility clothing including simple vests that are often fine in summer or sheltered environments, however, if workers are likely to be exposed to inclement weather remember they will put on coats. These coats will obscure the vests so you must instead provide high visibility coats.
Ear protection is vital on any site where workers are exposed to loud noises through much of the day. There are a variety of ear defenders and ears muffs available so be sure to check that you are using the right kind of protection suitable for the site you are on. It is also important that the ear muffs should not prevent the wearer from also using head protection and vice versa.
Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer working together with supplies specialist JP Supplies, who were consulted over this post.