PPE to Keep Construction Workers Safe at Work – Occupational Health and Safety

PPE to keep construction workers safe on the job

Understanding how PPE works can result in safer workspaces.

According to the Commonly Used Statistics page on the OSHA website regarding the 10 most frequently cited standards, the construction industry led the way in five of the top 10, including (1) fall protection , (3) ladders, (5) scaffolding, (6) fall protection training, and (8) eye and face protection. In building construction (NAICS 236) alone, 2,742 citations were issued and 1,191 inspections, for a total penalty cost of $9,586,100.

Do not worry. The construction industry is not the lone wolf for OSHA violations. General industries of all types are guilty of the same worker safety infractions. So much of what we will be discussing in this article applies to a wide range of industries, not just construction.

We are going to cover two of the main safety issues: head and eye protection, as well as fall protection and training. Let’s start with head and eye protection.

Head Protection Basics and Beyond

Head protection on the construction site comes in two versions: hard hats and hard hats. The most visible difference between the two is the edge or lack thereof. Hard hats have brims, either partial or full, while hard hats are fairly brimless and are “cut out” around the ears. The design of safety helmets is similar to that of climbing helmets. Hard hats are normally sold with a four point anchored chin strap. With hard hats, a chin strap is more likely an optional accessory.

Hard hats and hard hats both have their place in construction. Due to their more fitted design, the helmets are great for confined spaces or any job where close encounters with an edge would be problematic. The brim of a hard hat, however, serves several purposes. Not only does it help protect the wearer’s eyes when working outdoors, it also protects the worker’s face from falling debris. A full brim helmet deflects debris to all sides.

This article originally appeared in the October 1, 2022 issue of Occupational Health and Safety.

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