According to the National Safety Council, construction is one of the leading industries with the largest number of workplace injuries. This is why there is an urgent need for construction firms and companies to comply with workplace safety standards to minimize workplace accidents which result not only in lost wages or lost productivity but also injuries and fatalities. Based on the publication by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the most common hazards in construction are falling, structural collapse, electric shock, repetitive motion injuries, and failure to use appropriate personal protective equipment.
Importance of PPEs
Although adherence to workplace safety regulations, proper training on equipment and job execution, and proper supervision are important in improving workplace safety, ensuring that your workers are properly equipped with Personal Protective Equipment or PPEs is one of the best ways to protect your workers from injury. As such, we’ll be taking a look at PPEs that are essential for employees working in a construction site:
Head Protection: Hard Hats
Hard hats are integral in protecting your skull from any head injury resulting from objects falling from a height, bumping into fixed objects or structures, and even head contact with electrical hazards. Always insist that you’re provided proper-fitting hard hats and to inspect them for any cracks and damages; as with all the other PPEs in this list, make sure that your equipment is the right size and are in good condition.
Hand Protection: Gloves
There are different kinds of gloves for different types of construction work, so ensure that you’re given the right one for the job: rubber gloves for concrete, welding gloves for welding work, heat-resistant gloves when working with high temperatures, chemical-resistant gloves when working with caustic chemicals, and insulated gloves when working with electrical hazards.
Face and Eye Protection
Always wear safety glasses or face shields especially when you’re exposed to projectiles, harmful chemicals, and other airborne particulates that could damage your eyes. For welders, a welder’s mask and goggles are essential in preventing welding-related injuries to the face and eyes such as welder’s flash and radiation burns.
Steel-toed boots or footwear with slip-resistant and puncture-resistant soles are a must for every worker in the construction site in order to avoid a plethora of injuries to their feet such as crushing, puncture from stepping on sharp objects, slipping, and even harmful chemicals.
One of the common yet overlooked safety aspects is hearing protection. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 51% of construction workers are exposed to hazardous noise and 31% of workers do not wear hearing protection. The same agency noted that 16% of construction workers have hearing impairment while another 14% have hearing difficulty. That said, it’s important that construction workers wear earplugs and earmuffs in areas with loud noises and machinery.
If you’re doing a job that exposes you to airborne hazards such as dust, smoke, and fumes, it’s important that you have masks in order to protect your mouth, nose, and lungs.
Workers should pay attention during training, wear the proper PPEs, and be attentive while working in a construction site. It’s also important that you insist on being provided functional and well-fitting PPEs to ensure your own safety. However, should you ever suffer any injury at the workplace, whether it’s something as common as a bruise or something more dangerous like a traumatic brain injury, don’t hesitate to call a lawyer that specializes in workplace accidents and injuries to help you with claiming medical expenses and compensation.