Reducing the Risks on Construction Sites with Personal Protective Equipment

Reducing the Risks on Construction Sites with Personal Protective Equipment

04th April 2019

Safety Ladders | Safety EquipmentAnybody working on a construction site here in the UK should be issued with personal protection equipment (PPE) which is suitable for the jobs being carried out.  There are so many potential hazards on construction sites that some form of PPE is always required.  Most construction sites these days will display signs and posters to remind anybody entering the construction site that they should be using some form of PPE and workers who show up for work without their PPE may be turned away from a day’s work (and, therefore, a day’s pay) if no suitable alternative is available.

Not wearing PPE, or not using it correctly could cost you more than just your job – it could cost you your health or even your life!  Because construction work is considered high risk PPE is a vitally important control measure that combines with all of the other control measures that should be in place to protect you from the risks faced on a busy construction site. 

Risks need to be properly controlled, but your PPE is the last defence against injury should other control measures fail.  For example, a construction site will have controls in place to prevent objects (tools, materials, waste, etc.) from falling from a height.  However, if all of these controls should fail, your hard hat should protect you from serious injury should an object fall.

PPE is designed to protect you from risks which cannot be totally eliminated or controlled by other effective means.  PPE is defined as “all equipment (including clothing affording protection against the weather) which is intended to be worn or held by a person at work and which protects him against one or more risks to his health or safety”.  PPE includes safety helmets, eye protection, gloves, high visibility clothing, safety footwear and safety harnesses. 

Your employer has a legal obligation to assess the work you carry out and take all reasonable steps to eliminate or reduce the risks involved.  However, some risks will always remain, so your employer must provide you with adequate PPE designed to protect you from the risks you’re likely to encounter. 

While your employer is legally required to provide you with the correct type of PPE and make sure you know that it must be worn or used onsite, you also have responsibilities to obey the rules when it comes to using PPE.  Your employer is not the only person onsite with responsibilities.  You also have responsibilities – towards yourself, your employer and your colleagues. 

Next week, we’ll be publishing some rules that can be used by all workers on all types of construction site to ensure that they are taking their responsibilities seriously and making sure they add to the culture of safe working on construction sites.  Don’t miss out on the information, follow us on Twitter or Facebook so that you know when these rules are ready for you to read.