Are your workers wearing the correct PPE for the job?

PPE is a vital concern for vocational workers in any industry; PPE is also a legal requirement for businesses to provide their staff for free, along with training in their use. But if you are new to your field, or a freelancer within it, you may want to source your own. But what PPE should you be wearing for what vocation? Here, we break down the dangers of specific roles, and the PPE you should wear to protect yourself.

Construction

The construction industry is one in which workplace hazards are perhaps most obvious. Power tools and heavy machinery pose their own individual risks, but the nature of construction sites makes trips, slips and falls a far more likely eventuality. There is also the risk of material or equipment falling from a height, which can cause serious head or bodily injury.

Hard hats are a common sight on construction sites, being a major form of protection against falling objects. Safety footwear should also be worn, in order to prevent slipping on surfaces and to protect the toes from dropped or falling objects.

Factory and Warehouse Work

Working in industrial scenarios can see exposure to similar risks as found on construction sites. Slips, trips and falls remain the most common form of workplace injury, as inventory and tools alike can form a tripping hazard. There are added risks in the form of musculoskeletal issues, in particular, posture and back injury; warehouse work can involve the regular lifting of heavy objects.

There is little that PPE can do when it comes to protection against posture and back issues; the likelihoods of these are best reduced by training. Safety footwear continues to be a must here, while gloves can help provide traction when lifting goods. Hi-vis clothing should also be worn to ensure visibility at all times, and prevent accidental collisions with equipment such as forklift trucks.

Decorating and Renovation

If you work in decoration or home renovation, the risks you may experience on construction sites are sometimes present, but often lessened. Much greater are the risks of exposure to solvents and airborne particles, which can irritate the mouth, nose and lungs as well as the skin. These are produced by painting and plastering respectively.

Decorators should equip themselves with respiratory masks to filter out solvents and dust as they work. They should also wear gloves to protect their hands from exposure to toxic chemicals, while boiler-suits or painter’s overalls can protect the body. Eye protection is also a must, to protect the eyes from flying debris caused by drilling or sanding.

Engineering and Electronics

If you work in electronics and engineering, you will be spending a lot of time engaging with and repairing equipment – which can expose you to unique risks, in the form of electric shocks and contact with dangerous chemicals.

Electrical engineers should wear protective eyewear to avoid injury from solder fumes, and rubber-soled safety boots to prevent electricity from passing from the heart to the ground in the event of a shock. Engineers should wear gloves to protect their hands from injury when working on equipment, and should also wear eye protection to protect against flying material.

Recognising whether the correct protective wear is being utilised according to the job at hand is crucial for maintaining a safe, labour-intensive working environment.

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