With the construction industry reporting the highest number of fatal injuries from accidents each year, PPE is hugely important on construction sites. Even with risk assessment and adequate controls, the nature of the work means that there are hazards and workers need to be properly protected.

PPE, meaning Personal Protective Equipment is a term that covers all equipment used as protection for employees against health and safety risks. This can include injury from accident and ongoing actions. In some cases, PPE can be the difference between life and death in the event of an accident at a workplace.

It is important that you choose your PPE correctly, ensuring that is is CE marked so that it complies with the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002; ensuring the size and fitting is correct and ensuring that each piece of protective clothing doesn’t negatively interfere with other pieces of protective clothing worn by the worker.

The PPE required for construction includes:

Head Protection: This is to minimise risk of injury to workers. It is required on almost every construction site and employees should be provided with a safety helmet or hard hat for use at work. The head protection should be in good condition, not damaged, a good fit for the user and high quality.

Ear Protection: Loud noises over a duration of time, or extremely loud noises at once can contribute to hearing problems. Therefore it may be necessary to provide workers with earplugs, earmuffs or semi-insert/canal caps. Ear protection however must not compromise safety or communication.

Footwear: Construction workers should always be expected to wear protective footwork on site as the bones in the feet are easily damaged. Footwear PPE covers steel toe caps and steel midsole protection. Employers must provide a basic standard of safety footwear free of charge to the employee.

Eye and Face protection: This can include safety glasses, goggles, face screens, face shields and visors and may not always be necessary, but should be used when there are risks of hazard involving chemical or metal splashes, gas, projectiles, vapours and radiation.

Lung protection is required when workers encounter hazards such as gases, dust and vapours. Lung protection includes respirators, filtering facepieces, self-contained breathing apparatus and fresh-air hoses.

Whole Body Protection is required when there is a risk of contaminated dust, chemical or metal splashes, spray from pressure leaks or spray guns, entanglement or impact. Whole body PPE includes boiler suits, aprons and chemical suits.

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