One in five worker deaths were in construction, according to numbers by the US Department of Labor, which is an average of 88 workers per week. That’s a pretty startling figure and one that highlights the importance of ensuring your workers wear the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to prevent any accidents. Let’s take a look at what they are and look at how you can properly utilize it in your company.
What is PPE?
But first, let’s take a look at what PPE is. Basically PPE can be broadly defined as any form of protective clothing, eyewear or headwear that protects a worker from injury. PPE is designed in direct response to external hazards, such as physical, airborne and electrical among others.
It is your responsibility as an employer to ensure that you provide all necessary PPE to employees. In the UK, employer regulations and controls are covered in the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992. Regulations in the US are managed by OSHA and the various items of legislation that control PPE are outlined in their PPE guide.
PPE should be used as a last resort after all your existing precautions have been taken within your worksite to ensure your workers will not be put in harm’s way.
PPE must also be assessed and maintained regularly to make sure it is working properly. All your worksites should be given a safety assessment to identify hazards that will inform the type of PPE required. Employers may need to consult specialists or manufacturers to determine the correct attire needed, e.g., in relation to chemical hazards.
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Assessing PPE suitability means asking questions:
- Does the PPE protect your worker correctly?
- Does it add new risks or hazards by its restriction?
- Are different items of PPE compatible with each other?
Dangers and PPE
Falling objects, flying objects, head bumps, hair entanglement
Hard hats, hair nets, bump caps, hoods
Chemical splash, dust, projectiles, gas and vapor
Safety spectacles, goggles, face-shields, visors
Dust, vapour, gas, chemicals, low oxygen environments.
Respirators, face mask, dust mask, breathing apparatus
Lacerations, punctures, impact, chemicals, electric shock, skin reactions
Gloves, mitts, wrist cuffs, armlets, gauntlets
Slips, trips, cuts and punctures and abrasions.
Boots, wellingtons, shoes, steel toe cap, gaiters, leggings, shin protectors, aprons
Chemical or metal splash, flying objects or particles, dust, entanglement, laceration, wear and tear
Overalls, his-vis clothing, special protective materials, aprons, chain mail
Ear defenders and earplugs.
You must engage with your workers to ensure they are giving the appropriate PPE training. Online training is a good solution to ensure all of your staff are properly educated on the hazards of working on site. It makes training courses easy to deliver and easy to tailor to specific sites or jobs.
Here is a handy reminder list for PPE training:
- Why – Staff must understand why PPE is essential for them
- Who – They must be made aware of who needs to wear what and when
- How – They must be trained in how to correctly identify hazards and use the correct PPE
- When – They must know that the ‘when’ of PPE is ‘always’
- Refresh – All training should be done at orientation and refreshed at regular intervals for all staff and management
Hopefully these guidelines should help you to better manage your PPE investment and better protect your workers.
If you would like to learn more about online orientations or need help with building a training program for your staff then do get in touch by taking a look at our 60 seconds Video or Trying a Free Demo Today.