Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE…. Quite possibly one of the most important acronyms in the loss prevention and safety world. For the construction industry, it is equally important to understand the importance, provide and require the use and enforce PPEs with workers. PPE stands for Personal Protective Equipment and can range from a simple set of earplugs to a fall protection system. Using them properly will not only help prevent injuries or fatalities but keep employers from receiving citations or fines from OSHA.
Both employers and workers alike need to be aware of the exposures involved with each job and provide or require the appropriate PPE. There are not too many roles in the construction world today that wouldn’t warrant eye protection. Any worker performing work over a 6’ unprotected side needs a form of approved fall protection. High noise level exposure from equipment or machinery requires hearing protection. Dust or other potentially dangerous inhalants should warrant an appropriate breathing mask. These are just a few examples of an exposure and proper PPE. They need to be recognized, practiced and enforced.
PPEs can often be cumbersome or uncomfortable making employees not want to wear them. Owners and management need to stress the importance and requirement through written programs, daily checks, as well as both disciplinary and incentive programs. Wearing them may not be desired by all but they will help prevent injury or worse a fatality.
Workforces should always evaluate exposures and define hazards with any/all jobs. The necessary PPEs should be available, workers should resolve to wear them and management needs to enforce it. An ounce of protection is worth a pound of prevention.