The Good and the Bad of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in Construction - Sotech Asia Blog

The Good and the Bad of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in Construction

A construction site is riddled with hazardous materials, regardless of whether the contractor has taken every effort to ensure health and safety. Every building project entails the use of heavy equipment, supplies and tools that could put the lives of those involved in the construction in grave danger. Hence, the use of personal protective equipment or PPE cannot be emphasized enough by occupational safety and health organizations.

Understanding what PPE is

Generally, PPE is used as a last line of defense for those involved in any building work. However, it is to be noted that these equipment are only employed until more effective techniques are available. Every construction site has different uses for PPE, depending on the work environment, conditions and processes performed. These may be made of specialized materials specific for a particular use. Although these personalized protective gear does not offer permanent solutions to safety and health hazards, they are still considered of immense value to a construction site because they can help reduce accidents and injuries. This is why PPE must be selected based on the degree of hazard and protection needed.

Some of the injuries and hazards that can be prevented with the right personal protective equipment include:

  • Falling debris that could hurt the head and feet
  • Extreme heat or cold that can cause bodily harm
  • Corrosive materials that can come in contact with the skin or eyes
  • Contaminated air that can impair breathing

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Different uses for PPE

HEAD AND NECK

There are construction materials and process that can heighten the risk of head and neck injuries, including chemical drips or splashes, climate or temperature change, accidents with machineries, etc. Head and neck injuries can be minimized if not controlled by using hairnets, bump caps and safety helmets.

EYES

Vapor, radiation, dust, splinters and projectiles can cause eye damage. By wearing prescribed goggles, visors, faceshields or face screens, these can be prevented.

HANDS AND ARMS

Extreme temperature, impact, electric shock, radiation, chemicals, biological agents, heavy equipment and prolonged immersion in water could potentially lead to abrasions, burnt, cuts and punctures to hands and arms. To lessen the risk of these accidents, it is recommended that workers wear gloves with cuffs, sleeves or gauntlets to cover all or parts of the hands and arms.

EARS

Extreme levels of noise can cause hearing impairment. Hence, it is a must for workers to be required to use canal caps, earmuffs or earplugs.

FEET AND LEGS

Slipping, falling objects, heavy loads, metal or chemical splashes, electrostatic build-up and the like can hurt people’s feet and legs. To ensure safety, it is recommended by the safety and health organization for construction site employees to be required to wear safety boots, protective toecaps, chainsaw boots and other appropriate footwear whenever they are inside the building site.

LUNGS

The presence of vapors or gases and dusts, as well as the lack of oxygen in the atmosphere would be harmful to the lungs. To protect workers, they should be made to wear filtering facepieces and respirators that are properly fitted. Fresh-air hoses and self-contained breathing apparatuses are also useful.

Furthermore, disposable overalls, chemical suits, aprons and boiler suits are also deemed necessary for added protection.

It is in every country’s law that workers are protected at all times. Hence, it is important to work with a company that has this policy in mind. A good example would be Sotech-Asia.com.

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