By Brian Flynn, New England Regional Manager
You know it’s true. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) prevents injuries and saves lives when working on the construction jobsite. With that said, using protective equipment is more than mandatory. But, how do you make sure you have the right PPE before you start working on a project? Are you taking into account all of the variables? In order to protect yourself from job hazards and enhance construction safety for you and your coworkers, you need to select the right gadgets and outfits. Below, we provide tips on how to choose your PPE.
Survey the Jobsite
Very often, we hear about near misses or accidents at a construction jobsite that led to injuries. One of the main reasons these incidents take place is because the parties involved failed to identify potential workplace threats and hazards. Before you start working on how to choose your PPE, you must survey the jobsite to detect and point out possible risks. Talk to your supervisor to get an understanding of safety issues and communicate any safety concerns. Keep in mind that familiarizing yourself with the environment allows you to be well prepared and proactive.
Create a Checklist
Once you are well aware of how to choose your PPE, you must make sure you create a checklist of the equipment you need to bring with you to each project you work on. The last thing you want is to spend time looking around for equipment that you thought you had with you. Moreover, there are incidents where even though workers forgot the necessary PPE for the job, they decided to keep working on the project, thus jeopardizing their construction job safety. Make it a routine to build a list of the right devices and outfits you need to protect yourself from job hazards, and go through the list before you set off for work.
Inspect in Advance
Identifying construction safety risks and making a list of the PPE you need in order to stay safe at work are important steps to take; however, knowing how to choose your PPE does not mean that you are good to go. It is crucial that you carefully inspect all of your equipment before each and every project. Does your helmet fit you or do you need a new one? Are your protective glasses free of cracks? Does your reflective vest cover your torso? Take the time to make sure that everything works the way it is supposed to in order to avoid unpleasant onsite surprises and talk to you supervisor if you find that your PPE is defective.
Make the Match
In order to safely rely on PPE devices to provide protection against hazards, you need to make sure that the equipment you use complies with the OSHA PPE standards. From the gloves, to the boots, to the glasses, to the clothing you have picked, you need to double check that they conform to the OSHA requirements. Additionally, it is very important that you are using PPE that has been used responsibly and has been appropriately maintained. If you have doubts about the devices and garments you need to increase construction job safety, talk to your supervisor for help and guidance.
One last thing to keep in mind when you choose your PPE is to make certain that you are trained and know how to use it. For example, if you are going to use a new safety harness, you need to make sure that you know how to operate it before you set foot on the construction jobsite. Similarly, not every respirator works the same way. Do not be afraid to ask your superintendent for information and training on PPE you have not used before. Keep in mind that failure to use PPE properly results in limited construction safety for you and your coworkers.
Key Takeaways to Selecting Your Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):
1. Survey the jobsite to detect and point out possible risks before you start working
2. Create a list of devices and outfits you need to protect yourself from job hazards
3. Carefully inspect your PPE for defects before using it
4. Make sure your PPE complies with OSHA standards and has been properly maintained
5. If you are not sure how to use new PPE, ask for information and training
Founded in 1993, TradeSource is a construction labor solutions firm focused on delivering labor solutions to contractors throughout the United States. By supplying skilled tradespeople – where and when they’re needed – we help contractors grow their companies, without the associated costs and hassles of full-time hires. Likewise, we match qualified employees with rewarding and well-paying job opportunities in the construction industry. www.tradesource.com