Must-Have Personal Protective Equipment for Construction Workers
A construction site has several potential hazards, and the industry reports the highest cases of injuries every year. Besides having the necessary work environment controls in place, employees could still be subject to health and safety risks, and PPE is among the primary line of defense for every worker. Every employer and safety officer needs to ensure employees wear task-appropriate, well-fitted PPE to minimise injuries in the event of an accident. However, different items are designed to minimise exposure to particular risks. Below is a list of the main must-have PPE for your construction workers.
1. Head Protection
Head protection is essential in all construction sites where there’s a risk of head injuries. This protects against the risk of swinging or falling objects, even with necessary safeguards such as using brick guards and toe boards installed. They also protect against accidental head contact with an electrical hazard. You should provide your workers with hard hats in good condition, and that fits the worker properly. When purchasing your equipment, look for CE marked fabrications - products that meet the health and safety standards.
2. Hand Protection
Work gloves exist in different designs and materials to suit particular tasks. Welding gloves are designed for welders, heavy-duty canvas and leather protect against cuts and burns, insulated gloves with sleeves protect against electric hazards, heavy-duty rubber gloves are designed for working with concrete, and chemical-resistant gloves for working with chemical agents.
3. Foot Protection
Safety footwear protects the worker’s delicate tendons and foot bones as they perform their tasks. The footwear is equipped with steel toe caps to protect against dropped objects and mid-sole protection to prevent punctures and penetration from sharp metals like nails. There are several suppliers available, but it’s important to find safe, comfortable boots that meet the minimum safety ratings for a construction job. For instance, lace-up boots are not recommended for sites having asbestos.
4. Hearing Protection
Construction sites are common with high noise levels from tools and heavy equipment like jackhammers, chainsaws. Such levels can damage your hearing, especially with prolonged exposure. Formable or pre-molded earplugs are recommended for protection against the noise. You can also use items that tightly seal against the head, like acoustic foam-lined ear muffs.
5. Face & Eye Protection
Should there be a risk of harmful dust or flying debris getting in the eyes, face shields or safety glasses should always be worn. Such risks are common where there are activities like chipping, welding, cutting, nailing, and grinding. Chemical splash goggles, welding shields, and dust goggles are also essential tools in construction sites.
6. High-Visibility/Reflective Garments
Most construction sites have a Hi-Vis policy, and reflective garments are a necessity. They’re ideal for sites near vehicles or with vehicles moving around. It’s the responsibility of the contractors and subcontractors to provide workers with reflective garments. These garments range from vests to full-body clothing - but ensure to consult your site manager to know which garments are allowed.
7. Work Pants and Shirts
Work pants and shirts protect workers from on-site hazards, including splinters, grazes, cuts, skin damage, and infection. You can look for pants with kneepads or those with slots for the same. Long trousers are recommended for cold weather to help protect against cold stress injuries while keeping you warm.