To be safe on the job, construction workers have to have the right personal protection equipment (PPE). This industry is one of the most hazardous in the United States, producing the highest number of fatal accidents year after year. Hazards are often unpredictable, but the level of objective hazard is low. That is to say, you can manage and control many of these risks. That’s where PPE comes into play.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the governing body that investigates workplace accidents. They also provide information on safety requirements and equipment. They note that general construction workers need to have:
- Eye protection
- Face protection
- Ear protection
- Hand protection
- Foot protection
- Head protection
Exactly what workers use on each job varies, but eye and face protection generally means safety glasses, ear protection and head protection typically refers to earmuffs and hardhats, and hand protection typically means thick construction gloves. Foot protection may mean steel-toed boots.
One thing that is not on the list but could be very important is fall protection equipment. Many workers need to use a rope and harness system to arrest a fall. Every year, falls are the biggest reason for fatal accidents in the construction industry. Anything that can be done to prevent them is a positive.
If your employer does not give you the right PPE, you are at an increased risk for injury. Even if they do, though, accidents happen. Nothing ensures that you will not get hurt on the job while working in this hazardous industry. After an accident, make sure you understand all of the legal options you have.