The construction industry creates amazing infrastructures and provides all sorts of opportunities to people. However, it is also known for being one of the top industries when it comes to workplace accidents.
The concerning number of potential hazards at a construction site is the reason why each worker and employees need to wear complete PPE on site. Personal protective equipment is a construction worker’s primary line of defense in the workplace.
Getting to Know Each PPE Item
Each PPE item is designed to minimize exposure to certain risks of injuries and damages in a construction site. Each site and job duty should be evaluated to be able to identify the appropriate PPE needed for the job.
Some of the common hazards that PPE can mitigate include:
- harmful dust
- caught-in and caught-between
On top of knowing the right type of PPE for the job, each worker should use PPE that is properly fitted to them. Any PPE that is not secured or causes discomfort or limited mobility can cause further risk and damage to its wearer. For instance, items of clothing and other items should neither be too loose or too tight. Loose clothing can get caught in moving parts while tight clothing can cause limited mobility which can also endanger its wearer.
Here are the basic PPE construction workers should have:
This PPE is one of the essentials at most construction sites. They protect workers from head injuries that may be caused by swinging or falling objects. They can also protect workers from striking the head against something, or accidental head contact with an electrical hazard.
Hard hats need to be inspected for damages such as dents or cracks. A damaged hard hat should never be worn on site.
Steel-toe boots or foot protection should be worn on site to prevent crushed toes due to falling equipment or heavy materials. A construction worker’s foot protection should be puncture-resistant and should have nonslip soles.
There are different types of hand protection depending on the job at hand. Different jobs at the site call for different types of gloves. For instance, heavy-duty leather and canvas gloves are best for protecting workers from cuts and burns, while heavy-duty rubber gloves are for working with concrete, etc.
Proper Work Attire
Construction workers should have special work attire that protects their full legs, full arms, and torso against cuts, scrapes, burns, etc. Obviously, a simple shirt and a pair of pants cannot do this.
The construction site work attire should be flexible and should allow maximum mobility without being too baggy.
Face and Eye Protection
If the site has a danger of flying debris or harmful dust getting in the eyes– then workers should have face and/or eye protection.
If someone’s job on-site involves cutting, grinding, welding, chipping, and nailing, then it is necessary that they wear the appropriate eyewear.
Some face and eye-protective wear include basic safety glasses, welding shields, chemical splash goggles, and dust goggles.
A construction site can be really loud especially when people are working with loud equipment such as chainsaws, jackhammers, and other tools and heavy equipment. These tools create noise levels that can damage workers’ hearing, especially with prolonged exposure.
The best type of hearing protection would be formable earplugs, but acoustic foam-lined ear muffs can also work as long as they are tightly sealed against the head.
Brightly colored or reflective jackets are also important PPE at a construction site as it increases worker visibility. Construction workers should wear it at all times, especially around active roadways, places with low lighting, and during dark shifts.
These are the basic PPE that construction workers should have, but of course, there are more like personal fall protection, respiratory protection, to name a few.
As mentioned previously, every job site and task must be evaluated for potential risks and dangers so that workers can be given the appropriate personal protective equipment for the situation.