In the construction industry, personal protective equipment (PPE) is the last line of defense when it comes to protecting workers from injuries on the job site. Employers are required to implement engineering controls and other safety measures to protect against accidents and prevent injuries. Should these measures fail or be impracticable to implement, personal protective equipment is in place to prevent injury when hazards arise. Employers are required to pay for and supply all PPE and are responsible for requiring its use when required. All PPE must meet American National Standards Institute (ANSI) specifications. Employers can allow workers to use their own personal protective equipment. If employee-owned equipment is allowed, employers are responsible that the PPE is in good working order, but are not required to compensate workers for the PPE they provide themselves. In order to best protect your workers, here are some tips to ensure proper use of personal protective equipment: Develop a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Program A personal protective equipment program should identify the risks involved and the appropriate personal protective equipment to be worn. The program should explain how to select and ensure the appropriate fit of personal protective equipment. The PPE program needs to cover proper inspections and maintenance of all PPE. Training of personnel on the proper use and safety features of personal protective equipment must be covered in your program. Be sure to put up signs alerting workers to the personal protective equipment they should wear in different areas of the work site. Head Protection Hard hats protect workers from falling and flying objects to prevent head injuries. It is also insulated from electric shock. Since conditions on construction sites are constantly changing, a good rule of thumb is to require everyone on the job site to wear a hard hat at all times. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for adjusting the suspension in the hard hat to ensure a comfortable and secure fit. Do not put anything in the hard hat while wearing it, it may damage the gap between the sleeve and the suspension. Consult the manufacturer’s recommendations if you are considering painting or affixing labels to hard hats. Most manufacturers don’t recommend painting a hard hat because the paint can damage the jacket, but it’s usually okay to stick labels on a hard hat. Some hard hats can be worn backwards as long as the suspension can be reversed. Ball caps should not be worn under a hard hat. Winter liners and cooler headgear are usually suitable for use with hard hats as long as they can be worn seated on the head and do not interfere with the suspension straps. Hard hats should be checked for damage such as cracks and dents before each use. Damaged hard hats should be discarded and replaced. Hearing Protection Hearing protection must be provided and used when noise levels or duration cannot be reduced to those specified in Schedule D-2 – Permissible Noise Exposure under OSHA 1926.52. Acceptable hearing protection includes earmuffs and earplugs that must be fitted in the ear. Earplugs must be installed individually by a competent person. Plain cotton is not an acceptable protective device according to OSHA. Eye and Face Protection Eye and face protection is essential when workers are exposed to hazards from volatile particles, molten metals, liquid chemicals, acids, caustic liquids, chemical gases, vapors, and light radiation. For workers who wear corrective lenses, prescriptions must be incorporated into the eye protection design or an eye shield must be designed to be worn over prescription lenses. Face masks, safety goggles and safety goggles should be chosen based on the risks they are designed to protect workers from. It should fit snugly, snugly, and not interfere with the worker’s movement. Goggles must be durable, cleanable and disinfectable. When workers perform welding operations, be sure to provide them with the appropriate filter lens cap number based on the type of welding they will be doing. When working with a laser, goggles with an appropriate optical density based on the wavelength of the laser should be used. Hand Protection Select the right glove for the task. The hand is the most commonly injured part of the body on the job site. Gloves should fit snugly and snugly while allowing full dexterity of the fingers. You don’t want workers to remove gloves because they don’t fit properly or because they don’t feel like they’re doing when working with tools or equipment. There are gloves designed to protect against a number of hazards on the job site: gloves to protect against cuts and lacerations, welding gloves, heavy-duty rubber gloves for working with concrete, chemical-resistant gloves to protect against burns, insulated gloves when performing electrical work. Foot Protection When most people think of foot protection on a construction site, they think of steel or composite toe shoes. These protect workers from tools, materials, or equipment that fall or fall on the foot. Compound and steel toe boots offer a high level of protection with steel toe boots that get the slight edge. Composite toe shoes are lighter and don’t hold heat, making them preferable if you’re working outside in very cold temperatures. They also do not conduct electricity which is a good thing if you do electrical work or work around live wires. When choosing foot protection, you also want to choose slip-resistant shoes, to protect against slips and falls, and puncture-resistant soles, to protect against sharp objects such as misplaced nails. Providing Training Workers need to be trained in the appropriate selection and use of personal protective equipment and what PPE is needed for various job site conditions and tasks. Workers assigned to wear PPE must know how to put it on and take it off and how to adjust it to ensure a proper fit. Make workers aware of the capabilities and limitations of the personal protective equipment they are required to wear. Workers must be able to properly inspect PPE before each use to determine if it is damaged and needs to be replaced or repaired. They must also be taught the correct way to maintain and care for equipment. Conclusion PPE is an important aspect of keeping workers safe on a construction site. When engineering and administrative controls fail or cannot be implemented, personal protective equipment is essential to protect workers from injuries when accidents occur. Personal protective equipment must be comfortable and properly fitted so as not to interfere with the worker’s ability to perform his job duties safely. Safety managers and supervisors should routinely inspect the work site to ensure that workers are wearing designated PPE and make decisions if additional equipment is needed. Are you looking for more leads in the project? ConstructConnect finds you the best construction projects to bid and win more business.