Reducing Construction Risk with Personal Protective Equipment
Construction sites come with numerous risks that can cause lasting or permanent injuries. Personal protective equipment (PPE) can help avoid this, but it only works if construction workers wear it. Some of the top pieces of PPE are hard hats, fall protection, and eye protection. Without wearing PPE, construction workers may find themselves out of a job and employers may find themselves drowning in worker’s compensation claims. Below are some examples that illustrate why PPE is so vital.
Blows to the head are not uncommon on construction sites. While workers should take precautions to minimize the frequency, accidents can happen. For example, welding metal plates require heavy-duty equipment and extreme pressure. If a temporary weld fails, the plates can go flying. If the plate strikes a worker in the head while not wearing a hard hat, he or she may suffer from brain damage or worse. Injuries can still occur while wearing hard hats, but this piece of PPE offers a significant degree of protection.
Construction companies work hard to reduce the risk of fall hazards, but PPE provides backup should a fall occur. For instance, if scaffolding fails, safety harnesses can prevent workers from plummeting to the ground. If a worker falls six feet before his or her harness stops him, he or she is likely to walk away from the incident unharmed. However, if that worker neglected to wear his or her harness and fell upwards of 50 feet, that individual would have serious and potentially life-threatening injuries.
There are several common sources of eye injuries on construction sites. These include:
- UFOs: While many associate unidentified flying objects with science fiction, UFOs on construction sites are most often dust and microscopic particles wafting in the air. If a worker notices dusty conditions, he or she should don eye protection.
- Invisible threats: Welding arcs and laser beams can cause lasting eye injuries. Workers should take pains not to look directly at these ocular risks and wear the appropriate eye protection while working with them.
- Fast moving objects: Construction works use tools and equipment that cause flying debris. Chipping, sawing, and several other tasks can cause particles to fly at astonishing speeds. Depending on the task, individuals may need protection for their entire face.
- Liquids: Construction workers use several substances that are caustic to the eyes on a day-to-day basis (i.e. tar, paint, cleaning products for equipment). Investing in the appropriate eye protection can save a worker’s sight should the liquid splash up into his or her face.
Wearing eye protection may be uncomfortable, but wearing a glass eye is much likely more so. This is the risk construction workers run when not wearing eye protection. Depending on the job, workers may need goggles, safety glasses, or a full-face shield. Construction workers should take the time to select the appropriate eye protection that suits theira task.
Construction companies should take pains to ensure their workers are wearing the proper PPE for the jobs they are performing. Failure to do so can result in a reduced work force, safety citations, and worker’s compensation claims. The Reilly Company can help construction companies reduce their risk through proper safety planning and insurance policies. To learn more, contact us today.