Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is always required in some form or another on construction sites.
Because construction work is high risk, and even with all the other control measures that should be in place to protect you from these risks, PPE is your last line defence.
Risks should be controlled to avoid, for example, materials falling from overhead, but if those control measures fail, your hard hat could be the only thing left to protect you.
PPE is intended to protect you from risks, which cannot be eliminated or guarded against by other more effective means.
PPE is defined as ‘all equipment (including clothing affording protection against the weather) which is intended to be worn or held by a person at work and which protects him against one or more risks to his health or safety’. This can include safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high visibility clothing, safety footwear and safety harnesses.
Your employer must assess the work you do and take all reasonable steps to eliminate or reduce risks, if he decides that some risk still remains he must provide you with PPE.
While your employer has a duty to provide you with PPE, you also have a responsibility and there are certain rules you should obey in relation to PPE use.
Here are the 10 rules of PPE use on construction sites:
- You have a duty to wear any PPE provided by your employer and he has a duty to see that you do.
- You must wear and use the PPE in the way it was intended – therefore it must fit you.
- If PPE doesn’t fit correctly - report it.
- PPE must be suitable for the risk and the job in hand – if it’s not – report it.
- PPE must not itself create a new risk – if it does – report it.
- You have a duty to take care of the PPE and not to abuse it.
- You have no right to take the PPE off site unless your employer says you can. Otherwise you must return it to the appropriate storage place after use.
- If you are unsure about how to use PPE (e.g. breathing apparatus) ask for training first. You must be adequately trained.
- If there is anything wrong with the PPE provided e.g. worn out, broken, missing, In need of maintenance or cleaning etc. you must report it.
- Make sure multiple items of PPE worn together are compatible with each other.
Remember, the law does not expect your boss to be psychic, if you know of a problem regarding PPE or a risk that you need guarding against TELL YOUR SUPERVISOR ABOUT IT!
Raise awareness of the importance of PPE with our free PPE use tool box talk.