Construction sites are a dangerous place, and providing protection for workers and visitors on a given site is not just wise, but also a legal requirement. Personal protective equipment, or PPE, is crucial for worksite safety, but only as part of a robust health and safety programme, including risk assessments. Even so, here are five items of PPE required for work on a construction site.
Head protection, more specifically the hard hat, is a quintessential piece of workplace PPE for the active construction site. The point of the hard hat is to protect the head – largely from objects falling from height, but also from low-level hazards such as outcrops, low ceilings and low bars. Head trauma can be a potentially life-threatening injury if not treated with the requisite care and attention; hard hats are one such way to ensure visitors and site workers are kept relatively safe from head trauma risks.
Safety boots are a must-wear on construction sites, for a variety of reasons. Firstly, safety boots provide a rigid structure which can protect the sensitive and delicate parts of the foot, from dropped objects and heavy materials. It is common for safety boots to contain steel toecaps, to protect the toes from injury and breakage – it is relatively easy to break a toe from simply connecting with an object, let alone from crush injuries under moving or falling objects. Safety boots also incorporate rubber soles with a deep tread, to provide strong grip and purchase on all surfaces. This reduces the risk of slipping in wet or muddy conditions common to outdoor construction spaces.
Ear protection is often overlooked as a form of PPE, but crucial – not just in large-scale construction environments, but also in certain smaller-scale scenarios. Large equipment and machinery can produce noise at dangerous levels, presenting the risk of long-term hearing damage. So too can certain power tools in more domestic scenarios, for example the masonry drill. Ear protection comes in different shapes and sizes, from disposable memory foam earplugs to full-on ear-defending headphones.
Eye and Face Protection@
Your eyes are particularly vulnerable to many hazards on the job site, whether dust, toxins, falling or failing tools. As such, eye protection is important to wear for a variety of construction tasks. Drilling masonry can kick out irritant brick dust, which could scratch the eye; the drill bit could also snap, leading to potential shrapnel hazards. The same can be true of angle grinders and circular saws, where if they catch in a material they can fail at high speeds, propelling sharp shards towards the face.
The eyes are not the only vulnerable part of the face; your airways are also at risk of dust, microparticles and toxic fumes. Face masks present a safe way to work in dust-heavy environments and tasks, from drilling to laying concrete and plastering.
High Visibility Clothing
Hi-vis jackets and reflective bands are commonplace on construction sites, in order to increase visibility of workers and visitors and prevent accidents or collisions. Work often takes place on sites in the dark, whether due to late-night shifts, early starts or daylight savings. With visibility low in darker conditions, the use of bright and reflective clothing ensures workers can stay visible and hence stay safe.