Personal protective equipment (PPE) is an important means of preventing work injuries. Ideally, the best approach is to maintain a safe work environment and eliminate any potential hazards. Specific requirements for PPE are presented in many different OSHA standards.
The use of PPE generally implies working in a potentially hazardous work environment and its use is a major means of injury prevention. All PPE clothing and equipment should be of safe design and construction, and should be maintained in a clean and reliable fashion. Employers should take the fit and comfort of PPE into consideration when selecting appropriate items for their workplace. PPE that fits well and is comfortable to wear will encourage employee use of PPE. The aim of this article is to introduce various PPEs generally use at Construction sites.
Safety helmets are one of the most frequently used forms of PPE. All employees working in areas where there is a possible danger of head injury from impact, or from falling or flying objects, or from electrical shock and burns, shall be protected by protective helmets.
Our eyes are highly susceptible to injury from external hazards that can lead to partial or complete blindness.
Potential eye or face injuries include:
- Dust, dirt, metal or wood chips entering the eye from activities such as chipping, grinding, sawing, hammering, the use of power tools or even strong wind forces.
- Radiant energy from welding, harmful rays from the use of lasers or other radiant light (as well as heat, glare, sparks, splash and flying particles).
Various kinds of eye protection equipment are:
1) Protective goggles.
2) Safety glasses.
3) Goggles for protection from glare, gas welding and smelting furnaces.
4) Face shields during welding.
Working under prolonged exposure to high levels of noise can lead to hearing loss. Intermittent exposure to high noise levels can lead to irritability, a reduced ability to concentrate, hearing damage and can even lead to accidents. Once a hearing is damaged, it cannot be restored so we must protect our hearing.
Different types of ear protectors
1) Cotton earplugs
2) Foam earplugs
3) Elastic earplugs
Using your hands is an almost indispensable part of any job and thus, there is always the risk of getting your hands injured. You must, therefore, select appropriate hand protection. Protective gloves must have a good tactile sense, elasticity, and dexterity. They must not be slippery and must be easy to put on and take off. They can be made of materials such as cotton, latex, nylon or leather. The appropriate kind of gloves should be selected according to the nature of the work. Common protective gloves:
1) Gloves for common tasks (cotton/leather)
2) Gloves for handling chemicals
3) Heat-resistant gloves
4) Cold-resistant gloves
For working at heights, the safety regulations require employers to adopt basic safety precautions including the provision of suitable working platforms, safe access and egress and the erection of suitable guardrails at hazardous locations. If these safety precautions are not feasible, safety belts must be used.
Common types of safety belt:
(1) Full body harness is used to prevent falls.
(2) General purpose safety belt and its lanyard are used to restrict movement while working.
Fall protection system for working at heights :
In addition to a safety belt, the entire fall protection system for working at heights must also consider the area surrounding the work site so as to, for example, prevent striking against nearby structures in the event of a fall. Environmental factors should also be taken into account so as to avoid high temperatures or smoke affecting the performance of each of the components of the system.
Protective, safety footwear is essential to ensure safe and healthy feet. Steel toe boots and shoes protect your feet, help prevent injuries to them, and reduce the severity of injuries that may occur in the workplace.
Before making a selection of suitable safety footwear, you must understand the major hazards causing direct or indirect foot injuries to employees.
(1) Being struck by hard, rolling or falling objects.
(2) Sharp objects piercing the sole or body of the shoe.
(3) Being scratched by sharp objects, resulting in an epidermal laceration.
(4) Slipping on wet floors.
(5) Contact with chemicals, molten metals, and hot or cold surfaces.
Protective clothing provides physical protection and can increase comfort levels while on the job.
The following kinds of protective clothing are available, affording protection from different hazards:
1) General purpose protective clothing
1) Heat-resistant work clothing/aprons
2) High-temperature work clothing
3) Low-temperature work clothing
The air quality of the work environment has a direct influence on the safety and health of employees. Ideal protective measures are to control any source of pollution and reduce the amount of pollutants entering the air supply.
If circumstances do not allow such measures to be immediately taken, the best strategy is to ensure proper selection and use of appropriate respirators.