The construction industry has extremely high numbers of accidents and injuries reported every year as compared to any other sector. Even after a detailed risk assessment of the workplace, some unforeseen hazards may pose serious health and safety risks to the workers.
The chances of these health risks could be minimized if employers put a little extra effort into their work processes and provide the right guidance, tools, and protective equipment to the workers.
This piece of content, therefore, is a guide on what personal protective equipment or PPE is needed to work in a construction setting safely and tips to prevent accidents and injuries at work.
Construction Site Accident Statistics
Nearly 11.4 million workers were employed in the construction industry in the US alone in the past years. When talking about the UK, the construction industry accounts for 7% of the national workforce, which makes it one of the most high-risk industries to work in.
When we take a look at the type of injuries or accidents, falls from height remains a leading cause of construction accidents and ill health that accounts for over 36% of the injuries.
26% of these non-fatal injuries occurred due to slips, trips, and falls, while 57% were musculoskeletal injuries. These figures are roughly double that can be seen in other working sectors.
These alarming figures make it a serious matter of concern for employers to take reasonable actions to prevent their workforce from any kind of health and safety risks and implement processes, procedures, right PPE to ensure a safe work environment.
The Importance of PPE in Construction Work Sites
Even after taking precautionary measures, there’s still a chance of workers being exposed to serious risks. These health risks can damage the eyes, face, body parts, or in worse cases internal organs as well.
These health hazards, if not eliminated, can be minimized by using the correct personal protective equipment at work. PPE involves every type of equipment used to protect workers from workplace injuries, accidents, or ill health. Wearing task-appropriate equipment can make a difference between life and death.
Types of Equipment Needed in Construction Workplace
There is numerous mandatory equipment required to work safely. Below are some of these explained in detail:
Head protection is a legal requirement for construction industries to avoid any kind of head injuries. It is needed in almost every construction worksite. While working in construction workplaces, it is extremely important to keep the workplace organized to avoid any risk of injuries.
But the organized workplace does not guarantee a risk-free workplace. There is an inherent risk of head injuries, for example, and therefore, such equipment is needed.
Foot & Leg Protection
Protective footwear while working on construction sites is also a much-needed piece of equipment to prevent various dangers. The muscles and bones in the foot can be easily broken and can lead to workers taking several days off work. Wearing safety boots can help protect the worker’s feet from debris, materials, and even certain equipment malfunctions.
Areas with a high level of noise or the use of heavy equipment can damage the ears or lead to permanent hearing impairment. Such type of work requires the use of ear plugs to prevent exposure to high noise at work. The employers and workers need to make sure that this hearing equipment must be cleaned properly and regularly to avoid other ailments and illnesses as well.
Skin protection is also important to prevent the body from any damage or exposure to harmful substances or materials. Protective clothing and coveralls for this purpose are ideal to minimize the risk of injuries.
The respiratory system has a direct pathway to most of our critical internal body organs, like the lungs, throat, or mouth. If any worker working in a hazardous environment inhales chemical dust or other hazardous substances, their internal organs can be exposed to these dangerous substances and cause incurable harm.
Inhalation of hazardous dust, gasses, or vapors can result in mild to severe injuries including cancer which develops in the long run. Therefore, respiratory protective equipment (RPE) is needed to do the work safely.
Other Things to Keep in Mind
Along with the above-mentioned essential protective equipment for work, there are other things as well, that employers need to consider to ensure a safe workplace for the workers, staff, customers, or anyone.
Arranging proper training sessions for the staff is one of the most simple and effective methods to do so. Some vital training courses for that matter include PPE training, COSHH training, maintenance safety training, abrasive wheel training, noise awareness training, hand-safety training, and more such courses.
Health and safety hazards are a part of every work environment. Accidents or ill health cases could occur in any workplace without any prior warning. Those in managerial roles need to be watchful of any kind of health hazard and must provide their staff with the proper tools, equipment, training, and resources to do the work safely.