Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should never be your first line of defense on the jobsite, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. PPE has been known to save life and limb on the jobsite. While every industry and occupation can have slight differences when it comes to PPE, below are just a few common items to consider for your jobsite.
Whether you work in construction, oil and gas, or some other industry requiring a hard hat, this piece of equipment can be very important to protect your head. They are designed to protect against smaller objects falling from above such as a hammer, nail, small piece of material, etc. A hard hat must meet the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard to be utilized on most jobsites.
Safety Glasses/Safety Goggles
The type of work you are doing will determine whether glasses or goggles will be most appropriate but both serve a very similar purpose: to protect your eyes. Safety glasses/goggles are designed to protect flying debris from entering or injuring a person’s eyes. Even the smallest particle can cause someone to have irritation so it is highly recommended to wear safety glasses/goggles when there is potential for flying debris, even if it’s not required for the jobsite. Just like the hard hat, not all glasses/goggles meet the safety standards, so before purchasing them, make sure they have met the impact standard put out by ANSI.
Regardless of what type of jobsite you are on, there are always loud noises, and this seems to be a danger we tend to forget to protect against. Hearing loss is usually something that occurs gradually so we don’t realize it’s happening until it’s too late. The magic number OSHA refers to is 85 decibels of noise averaged over 8 hours, so if you feel you are even close to that noise level, it’s probably time to consider wearing hearing protection. So what does 85 decibels sound like? Here are a few common construction tools that exceed 85 dB: air compressor, sander, jigsaw, handheld power tools, circular saw, etc.
While a safety vest doesn’t protect against falling objects or contact with sharp objects, it does help you to stand out when there are a lot of moving parts on the jobsite. Whether you’re working alongside the road or on a construction site, the more you can be recognized the less likely you’ll be run over or caught in between. If there is a lot of noise on the jobsite, it further emphasizes the point of being seen so you aren’t injured. Keep your safety vest on at all times so you are easily visible by others around you.
There are many different types of gloves to protect your hands and the type you wear will be dependent on the types of material you are handling and the type of job you are doing. Either way, gloves are still an important tool to protect your hands. Gloves can be thick and heavy to protect against cuts and abrasions or they can be made of a certain material to protect against some moderate chemicals. Know the correct glove for you and the work you are doing to make sure your hands stay safe.
Just like gloves, the type of boots you will wear will be dependent on the job you are doing and the jobsite you are on. A common boot is the steel toed boot to protect against falling objects and provide some traction on slippery surfaces on the jobsite. But if you’re working with chemicals, a rubber boot might be more appropriate. Just like the rest of the PPE mentioned here there is a standard set forth on the requirements for the boots so make sure before you buy a pair of boots they will fall within the appropriate standard.
This is clearly not an all-encompassing list, especially as the job becomes more specialized, so before going on the jobsite, check with your supervisor to make sure you have all of the PPE needed to do the job.
Brian Storjohann is the VP Research & Development for eRisk Solutions.