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Five Most Essential Pieces of Safety Equipment for Construction Workers

Essential Safety Equipment for Construction Workers

The construction industry is one of, if not the, most hazardous industry to work in in the UK with 26% of workplace fatalities in 2017/18 being in the field of construction.

Therefore, there are several pieces of safety equipment construction workers are required to have to comply with the law and stay safe.

There is a high risk to human life on many sites due to hazards such as machinery, asbestos and working at heights; many of which are dangers unique to the construction industry.

Beyond the training and risk assessments, it is vital that workers wear the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) on site at all times.

What is Personal Protective Equipment?

Personal Protective Equipment protects users from potential health and safety risks in the workplace. The equipment is usually worn by the worker to protect their body from harm and potential fatality.

Personal Protective Equipment is the umbrella term for the essential pieces of safety equipment that are listed below:

Head Protection

Everyone on a construction site, whether they are a worker or not, must wear a hard hat to protect their head from falling objects which is a common occurrence on construction sites.

Hard hats also protect workers from rain, direct sun rays and electric shocks.

Safety helmets are usually made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or other advanced resins such as Ultem. These resins help protect a person’s head from major injuries.

Hard hats can also come with accessories such as a face shield, hearing protection and ventilation which keeps a user comfortable. You could also attach advanced accessories to support staff even further. These include a radio, mirrors, cameras, lights or walkie-talkie.

No matter what hard hat you have on site, they must be kept in good condition and replace it if it’s damaged.

Hi-Visibility Jackets

Construction sites are busy places and there are several things going on at one time with multiple people on site and some using vehicles.

This is where hi-visibility jackets play an important role and are a requirement for everyone on site, not just workers.

They enable you to be clearly visible at all times, including darker periods such as at night or during winter, and when it is relatively noisy. Getting the attention of someone using a vehicle, for example, can be difficult and dangerous so by wearing a hi-visibility jacket you are making it known to everyone on site where you are.

Hand Protection

Construction work almost always involves using your hands which means they are vulnerable and exposed to many hazards such as harmful substances, sharp objects, work that could cause abrasions and heat.

This means that appropriate precautions must be taken to avoid any cuts, burns or wounds of any kind. Hand protection, in the form of gloves, is the best way of doing so as you can use the most suitable ones for the task you are carrying out.

The range of gloves available include rubber gloves, welding gloves, hi-visibility gloves and insulated gloves. The material and design of each pair will differ based on the job they cater for.

Eyes, Face and Mouth Protection

The most exposed and vulnerable parts of your body which require the most protection on construction sites are your eyes and face.

Eye injuries can occur due to exposure to hazardous particles, gasses or objects which is a by-product of certain onsite activities such as grinding, welding or cutting.

There is also the risk of inhaling these hazardous substances, including asbestos particles.

The eyes, face and mouth protection required by construction workers are items such as dust masks, safety goggles and visors depending on the work they are carrying out.

Protective Footwear

According to the Health and Safety Executive, slips, trip and falls accounted for 24% of all non-fatal injuries on construction sites. This is why it’s so important, and a legal requirement, to supply workers with protective footwear.

The type of footwear required will vary depending on where the site is based and the tasks that are being completed. For example, rigger boots and wellington boots are very resistant to materials if a person is working in wet conditions.

It is important to ensure that the footwear is comfortable as well as providing ample protection from onsite hazards.