PPE Rules for Construction Workers
Last week we published an article on how Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can reduce the risks on construction sites. We covered the importance of hazard control and explained that PPE should be seen as the “last defence” that workers have against injury should other control measures fail. As promised, this week we’re taking a look at some simple rules that can be used by construction workers to make sure they are taking their responsibilities seriously and adding to the culture of safe working on construction sites. Whilst your employer has a legal obligation to provide PPE, all workers also have a responsibility in accordance with the following rules.
- Your employer is also responsible for ensuring that you use the PPE provided for you and it is you are legally obliged to comply with legislation and wear the PPE provided.
- You should make sure that any PPE provided fits correctly and is compatible with other items you wear. This means not wearing your hard hat too loose or wearing your Hi-Viz vest under a coat or hoodie – these items can only protect you if you use them correctly.
- One of the most common reasons for non-compliance when it comes to PPE is that it is uncomfortable because it does not fit correctly. If you are issued with PPE that does not fit you properly, you must report this and arrange to be issued with the correct size.
- PPE should be suitable for both the potential risk and the work being undertaken. Don’t wear your PPE for the sake of wearing it – make sure that it’s provides the right type of protection for the work you are doing.
- Never abuse your PPE equipment – you have an obligation to take care of it so that it provides adequate protection. Don’t throw your hard hat on the ground (or into the back of a van/car), make sure to clean, maintain and store your PPE properly. Any damage sustained by your PPE puts you at risk.
- PPE should not create a new risk - make sure it does not hinder your work (for example making you work in an awkward posture or preventing escape in case of emergency). If it’s creating a new type of risk, report this immediately.
- If you’re not sure about how to use your PPE correctly (such as safety harnesses, lanyards, breathing apparatus, etc.) ask for full training in its use. Some PPE is relatively straightforward to use (safety gloves, safety boots, etc.), but more complex items of PPE may not easy to use without training.
- Make sure your PPE is fully maintained at all times. This means making sure no parts are broken or missing, regular replacement of dust mask filters, etc. If your PPE is in need of maintenance, report it for repair or replacement by an authorised person. Don’t try to do repairs yourself, you may render the item unsafe for future work. If replacing parts on an item of PPE, make sure they are recommended by the manufacturer of the PPE.
- Make sure that multiple use items of PPE are compatible when worn together – for example, make sure that your hard hat still fits whilst wearing ear defenders.
- Never take your PPE off site unless your employer allows you to. PPE should be returned to the appropriate onsite storage place after each use.