In both the construction and the manufacturing industries, safety is a prime concern as these types of job sites can give birth to many potential risks and hazards. These risks can give rise to lost time in the workplace, major and minor injuries and in some extreme cases, even fatalities.

There are a number of steps that the management can take to minimise the probability of such hazards that include adjusting processes to make them safer, segregating risky tasks and providing appropriate signage such as bold icons, arrows and caution words. However, apart from al these steps, PPE or Personal Protective Equipment is one the most commonly used and effective tools that are used to provide safety at the job site.

PPE mainly consists of the equipment or the clothing that is worn by the workers in order to safeguard themselves from and reduce the severity of on-site dangers, injuries and illnesses. Some commonly used types of PPE are:

  • spectacles and goggles
  • face shields
  • hard hats
  • earplugs or earmuffs
  • respirators
  • gloves
  • safety vests
  • boots
  • Harnesses

How to choose the right PPE for your construction job?

Creating a personalised PPE program becomes very important in construction jobs. The program should be responsible for highlighting the potential hazards and the PPE that can be worn to ward off such dangers. This obviously has to be done in accordance with the nature of the job at hand. Apart from this, the program should explain how to select the right PPE, ensure their proper fit and also cover the inspection, enforcement and maintenance aspects.

Listed below are some tips and tricks that will come in handy in choosing the right PPE, whether you are the employer providing your workers with PPE, or you yourself want to be safer at your workplace.

Head Protection

  • Make sure that the hard hat you choose is lightweight, snug and approved by the appropriate standard authority.
  • Loose and cracked hard hats are not doing anyone any favours and are a safety hazard themselves. Throw them out immediately. 
  • Also, make sure that the hard hats are comfortable to wear and provide webbing. You can get the best quality hard hats at places like Workwear Hub, made with lightweight plastic. 
  • To ensure the best fit, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions for suspension adjustment in the hard hat.
  • Don’t stuff any object in the hat while wearing it. It could end up compromising the gap between the suspension and the shell.
  • Manufacturers usually don’t think painting the hard hat is a good idea because it might compromise the shell, although affixing stickers is okay.

Hearing Protection

  • Make sure that the earplugs and earmuffs fit properly in the ear.
  • Plain cotton balls or plugs are not acceptable devices for protection according to the law.

Face and Eye Protection

  • For employees wearing corrective lenses, specially prescribed eye protection should be designed that can be worn over the prescription lenses. 
  • Facemasks, safety glasses and goggles should be chosen based on the type of hazard that the workers may encounter.
  • Protective eyewear should be comfortable and fit the worker well.
  • When workers are to do welding, they must be provided with eyewear that has appropriate filter lens shade number, based on the type of welding they are performing.
  • When they are working with lasers, the management must provide them with safety goggles that have the proper optical density decided on the basis of wavelength of the laser.

Hand Protection

  • Always ensure that the gloves fit you well.
  • Invest in gloves that are made for specific purposes such as welding gloves, chemical resistant gloves, insulated gloves etc.

PPE is very important to keep workers safe. Safety supervisors should keep it check that PPE is used regularly and efficiently.