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Construction Safety Matters: Keep the Worksite Safe with PPE

Construction workers consistently have the highest fatality rate of any private-sector industry. One of the most important things workers can do to stay out of harm’s way on-site is to use personal protective equipment (PPE) properly.  Company X follows all government regulations regarding PPE, but it is also important that employees do their part.

Foot Protection, also known as steel-toe caps, safety-toe boots, steel-capped boots or safety shoes, is a must for all workers in the presence of heavy machinery. It will also protect your feet from falling objects and puncture wounds from below. They may also help you to maintain stable footing in inclement weather. Most shoes will have symbols on the outside to illustrate the type of protection that the footwear offers.

Head protection is required in areas with the danger of head impact, falling or flying objects and electrical shock or burn.

Though it is often overlooked, hearing protection is crucial in a construction environment to prevent permanent damage. Remember that plain cotton is not an acceptable form of ear protection.

When there is a chance of physical, chemical or radiation damage to the eyes or face, you must wear the appropriate PPE. Everyday glasses do not qualify and are no excuse for lack of proper protection – request eye and face PPE that fits over spectacles.

Respiratory protection is one of the most important pieces of PPE for a construction worker, so it is important for you to understand how to use this PPE properly and what its limitations are.

All lifelines, seatbelts and lanyards used for employee safeguarding may not be used for loading or load testing. These PPE items are crucial in protecting against falls, and equipment may be damaged by improper use.

The Company will provide safety nets when workplaces are more than 7.5 metres above ground or where other fall protection is deemed impractical. Know that you should not begin work until all the safety equipment has been properly installed and tested.

Often, workers don’t wear their safety equipment because it’s a nuisance to put on or because it’s bulky and uncomfortable. It can be tempting not to put PPE on at all unless the safety supervisor is looking, but ultimately, it is up to you to be a professional and recognise the life-saving benefits of PPE.

A poorly fitted piece of protective equipment can cause headache or pain, and if it does, see your supervisor immediately to have it adjusted or re-fitted. But most of the time, it’s just a matter of getting used to wearing these items. You stand a better chance of continuing successfully with your job and your home life if you are protected from possible serious injury by protective equipment.

The content of this document is of general interest and is not intended to apply to specific circumstances. It does not purport to be a comprehensive analysis of all matters relevant to its subject matter. The content should not, therefore, be regarded as constituting legal advice and not be relied upon as such. In relation to any particular problem which they may have, readers are advised to seek specific advice. Further, the law may have changed since first publication and the reader is cautioned accordingly. © 2009-2010, 2012-2013, 2019 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

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