Need for Personal Protective Equipment on Construction Sites
Injuries in the construction industry are costing more than $17 million each year and what’s more 20 Vic tradespeople are injured each week on housing construction sites across the state. Although personal protective equipment cannot do the job of eliminating hazards, should an incident occur due to hazards, PPE minimise the seriousness of injuries and can even prevent injuries from occurring in some situations.
Definition of Personal Protective Equipment: Personal protective equipment (PPE) is any clothing, equipment or substance designed to protect a person from risks of injury or illness including most commonly hearing protective devices, such as ear muffs and ear plugs; respirators; eye and face protection, such as goggles; safety helmets and sun hats; gloves and safety boots and clothing, such as high visibility vests or life jackets.
Any employee in the construction industry has a duty to abide by their employer’s health and safety code including the use of PPE. Employees should be provided with PPE to protect them from injury depending on the hazards they are exposed to each day – a hazard identification and risk assessment should be done to determine what these hazards are and the PPE needed to overcome them.
Employees must also be trained in the correct use of PPE and taught how to use it. However they must remember that it is their responsibility to protect themselves from injury and abide by their employer’s health and safety codes including the use of PPE. Failure to do so can result in more than just disciplinary action or prosecution but may also result in serious injury or death.
Although PPE provide the least effective solution to hazards on a construction site because it doesn’t address the hazard but rather provides a layer of protection against it, however it is still helpful in shielding workers from injury. For that reason PPE cannot be the only control measure implemented but should be used in conjunction with other safety measures.
There are various circumstances that may arise on site that can be prevented or minimised by wearing personal protective equipment and during the planning phases of construction these hazards should be identified and the appropriate PPE determined based on these hazards.
Another important consideration is that PPE must be maintained and correctly used if it is to be beneficial in preventing injury. As an employee in the construction industry you have a legal obligation to adhere to your employer’s health and safety requirements, including use of PPE if instructed by your employer. Should an injury occur and you are not wearing the proper personal protective equipment, you will only have yourself to blame.
Protect yourself from serious injury by using the correct PPE at all times and doing so in the correct way. Also keep an eye out on site to ensure co-workers are doing the same, advise them to do so. Also if PPE are damaged report it immediately because PPE should be kept in excellent condition to ensure their effectiveness in minimising injury. See here for more information on Personal Protective Equipment for construction sites
Author: Steven Asnicar
Steven Asnicar is regarded as a leader across many fields of industry. In particular, his specialisation across the health, infrastructure, construction, resource and utility sectors has seen him successfully change the dynamics of these industries through the introduction of new strategic, marketing, training and technical frameworks.
Steven works closely with industry peak bodies such as Safework Australia, Australian Logistics Council, National Advisory for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment (NATESE) and the Council of Australian Governments in the development of new delivery standards and industry specific programs.