The construction industry has a significant number of reported accidents each year, and many of these could be avoided if workers wore the proper personal protective equipment (PPE). This article will explain what PPE for construction is and why it is so crucial in the construction industry.

1. Definition of PPE for Construction

Personal protective equipment, or PPE, is worn to reduce exposure to risks that might result in significant occupational injuries or illnesses. Chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical, and other job dangers may cause these injuries and diseases. Gloves, safety glasses, and shoes, earplugs or muffs, hard helmets, respirators, or coveralls, vests, and full-body suits are examples of personal protection equipment.

2. Why PPE in construction is important

Construction work may involve many hazards so the problems of health and safety in construction should always be concentrated. Every year, the construction business has the highest number of fatal injury incidents. Workers may still be exposed to health and safety risks from hazards even after complete risk assessments and the implementation of suitable controls into a work environment, which is why PPE is so vital. In the case of an accident, wearing task-appropriate, well-fitted PPE can mean the difference between life and death.

definition of ppe for construction
Wearing PPE will protect workers on the construction site

It is critical that all parts of the body are safeguarded. Personal protective equipment (PPE) protects against health dangers that enter the body through several modes of exposure.

If a sensitizer comes into touch with the skin, the result could be long-lasting and recurrent (dermatitis).

If a corrosive chemical comes into contact with the eyes, it might cause lifelong blindness.

If regularly inhaling silica dust, an individual can develop lung cancer, which can be fatal.

All of these instances would have a significant detrimental impact on not only the individual’s ability to work, but also on other elements of their lives.

3. Types of PPE for Construction

3.1. Head Protection

There is a greater risk of falling objects, overhead electrical hazards, or fixed things hitting someone’s head under construction. Because head injuries might result in permanent disability or death, ANSI-compliant head protection is necessary.

ppe in construction
Head protection is necessary to prevent serious injuries

Hard hats protect the head from collision, but some can also shield the wearer from electrical shocks and burns. Head protection should, in general, include the following:

  • Correctly fit
  • Be properly worn
  • Examine prior to usage
  • If worn daily, be replaced every two years, with suspensions being replaced once a year.
  • Unless the manufacturer permits it, do not decorate hard hats. Hard helmets should not be stored in the sun.

3.2. Foot Protection

On-site construction employees are required to wear protective footwear at all times.

The bones in the foot are easily broken, and an injury to the muscles or tendons in the foot can prevent normal foot mobility for months. As a result, it is critical to take steps to reduce the risk of a foot injury. Steel toe caps guard against falling objects, and steel midsole protection protects against puncture or penetration wounds caused by treading on sharp objects.

The employer must supply basic footwear (or a suitable kit for those who are unable to wear basic footwear due to medical reasons) for free, on the condition that employees properly care for their equipment and ensure that it lasts a reasonable amount of time.

3.3. Protective Clothing

In order to protect entire legs, arms, and torsos from cuts, scratches, burns, and other superficial injuries, every construction personnel should Thick, flexible work pants and shirts. These should be form-fitting and never baggy, with enough flexibility for movement. When performing site inspections and other site duties, Site Engineers should wear a reflective vest to preserve visibility.

3.4. Eyes and Face Protections

When there is a risk of flying debris or dangerous dust going into the eyes, safety glasses or face shields should be worn. Protective eyewear is required for activities such as cutting, grinding, welding, chipping, and nailing. Other face protection options include welding shields, chemical splash goggles, and dust goggles, in addition to regular safety glasses.

When choosing eye and face protection, it’s critical to make sure it’s task-appropriate and that the right fit is chosen for each individual. Workers will still be exposed to dangers if this does not happen.

3.5. Hand Protection

All personnel handling rough, sharp, or excessively coarse material, such as reinforcement bars, rods, precast concrete, poisonous, electric, or hot materials, must wear safety gloves. The material used to make these hand protectors must be suitable for the risks associated with such operations. Gloves of several types are required for site workers, depending on their job description. For example, there are heavy-duty leather and canvas gloves for cutting and burning protection, welding gloves for welders, heavy-duty rubber gloves for working with concrete, insulated gloves with sleeves for working with electric hazards, and chemical-resistant gloves for working with chemical agents.

ppe for construction
Some types of PPE used in the construction site

3.6. Hearing Protection

To protect workers from noise dangers, ear protection is required. Both the period of exposure and the sound level to which workers are subjected can cause ear damage. Even if workers are only exposed for a brief time, very high-level sounds can cause hearing damage. As a result, all workers must be provided with the appropriate hearing protection for the type of task they are performing.

Available options for ear protection include earplugs, earmuffs, and semi-insert/canal caps. Ear PPE must provide adequate protection for the work being done while not compromising safety or communication. To provide optimal protection, all workers must understand how to properly wear their PPE.

3.7. Respiratory Protection

Because the lungs are a vital organ for survival, it is critical to safeguard the respiratory system. When working on a building site, workers are frequently exposed to risks such as dust, gases, and vapours, which necessitate respiratory system protection.

Examples of lung protection include: Filtering facepieces; Respirators; Power-assisted respirators; Self-contained breathing apparatus; Fresh-air hose.

When choosing lung protective equipment, it’s critical to make sure the item fits the intended user adequately. If respiratory PPE is chosen wrong, an appropriate seal may not be formed, leaving workers vulnerable to occupational risks.

3.8. Safety Belts

Employees on the jobsite who are working at a height of more than 2 metres must be fitted with a safety harness or belt to protect them from falling. The safety harness’s anchorage point must be at least 5 metres above the ground level and above the worker’s head. This point should be able to withstand a force of at least 5000 pounds (2275kg). Nylon or a material with a thickness of at least 1cm should be used. For safety, the hooks should be equipped with a double locking system that can only be opened by pressing both sections at the same time.

Both employers and workers have to raise awareness of the importance of PPE in construction. PPE is an essential part of keeping workers safe on the job. In the building site, following the above lists of personal protective equipment is necessary, and it should be rigorously followed at all times. This is to ensure that the construction team creates a safe and sound construction environment by avoiding dangers caused by physical, mechanical, and chemical factors.

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