#9 Personal Protective Equipment
One way to prevent injury at work is to wear proper personal protective gear. Some protective equipment is necessary for specific jobs, while other items are necessary for any work. Employers should know the hazards their workers face on the job and provide the proper equipment to protect against those hazards. It’s important that workers be trained on how to use and care for the equipment so it will provide maximum protection.
Hard hats should be worn by all workers where there is a danger of flying, falling and moving objects. Hard hats can mean the difference between life and death. A bolt, rivet or tool dropped through a floor- opening can hit a worker below with great force and cause serious injury.
Safety boots with metal toecaps protect the feet of the worker who handles heavy loads or who works around moving equipment. Rubber boots with hard toes and puncture-proof inner soles protect the feet and legs of those who work with wet concrete. Kneepads protect cement finishers and others who work on their knees for long periods.
Eyes can be damaged from chemical splashes, dust or flying particles. Protect eyes by wearing approved goggles or face shields. Wear eye protection while cutting material, using power equipment, spraying/sanding.
For some jobs, respirators are necessary to prevent noise and throat irritation or to prevent ingesting dangerous chemicals or vapors. The type of respirator to use depends on the nature of the work. Respirators should be worn when there will be a lot of dust, vapors or gases emitted into the air. Facemasks can also be very useful.
High visibility vests are a very useful form of protective equipment, particularly since the number of “struck-by” construction vehicles accidents are getting higher, relative to other accident causes such as falls from elevation, electrocution, and caught-in/caught-between (such as trenching). The probable cause of increases in struck-by accidents is congestion on jobsites, and lack of effective traffic management.