Personal Protective Equipment: What You Need to Know

Construction sites are rife with accidents waiting to happen. Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, is a worker’s main defense against dangerous onsite injuries. Know the six basic areas you need to protect:

Head Protection

Hard hats are a must on any construction site. Falling materials, striking against an object, or contact with electrical hazards are just a few head-injury risks on the job site. Be sure to have the right class of hard hat for the job – there are three: Class G (general), Class E (electrical), and Class C (conductive). Also, ensure that it is fitted correctly and always check hard hats for any cracks or dents before using.   

Eye Protection

Flying debris, hot sparks, and hazardous liquids can seriously harm workers’ vision. Basic safety glasses are a great starting point, but workers should also wear face shields, chemical splash goggles, and protective dust goggles when applicable.   

Hearing Protection

Loud noises on the job site can cause permanent hearing damage. Thick, formable earplugs made from foam, waxed cotton, or fiberglass wool are a good option to protect workers’ ears. Foam-lined earmuffs that fit tightly against the head can also do the trick.

Hand Protection

Different jobs require different types of gloves for adequate hand protection. For example, insulated gloves are required for electrical work, while thick rubber gloves are needed for concrete work. Don’t get lazy – make sure to use the right gloves for the job.    

Foot Protection

Steel-toed boots are necessary to protect against falling materials or heavy equipment that can crush workers’ feet. Soles should be nonslip and puncture-resistant to further protect from falls, slips, or sharp objects.

Respiratory Protection

Inhaling toxic or contaminated substances can cause long-lasting health problems. When working with dangerous chemicals or fumes, respirators that cover the nose, mouth, and face should always be worn. Remember that a proper fit is necessary for respirators to be effective.  

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