5 PPE Items All Construction Workers Should Have

PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is something all construction workers need to keep themselves protected while they are on the job site. According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), there are five essential components to PPE for every worker on any job site: eye and face protection, foot protection, hand protection, head protection, and hearing protection.

1. Face Protection

Any time a worker deals with objects (glass, metal, dust, etc.) that could get into their eyes, they should wear safety glasses or a face shield to prevent debris from accidentally harming them. Scenarios in which workers should always wear face protection include welding, wood cutting, or nailing, and workers should also wear face protection when dealing with electrical wires in case of sparks. However, even in situations other than these, wearing safety goggles may still be a good idea. 

2. Foot Protection

Working on construction sites means laboring in many different kinds of environments. As such, it's important to wear boots that are slip-resistant to prevent injuries, especially if you are working in an area that is wet or slick. Nails and other debris commonly found on the ground at job sites can easily puncture soles, which is why boots with puncture-resistant soles are essential. Boots that are steel-toed are even safer, as they can prevent crushed toes and broken bones when working with heavy equipment or on a site where there is a risk of falling objects.

3. Hand Protection

Depending on the task at hand, it may also be important to wear heavy-duty gloves. Wearing welding gloves while welding, for example, prevents workers from getting burned; also, heavy-duty rubber gloves are important for concrete work, and when working with electrical wires or equipment, it's essential to wear insulated gloves as well as sleeves that prevent workers from being shocked.

4. Head Protection

The hard hat is a staple of construction work, and it's one of the most important PPE items to wear. Hard hats keep workers safe from falling objects that could injure their heads, and they also prevent workers from bumping their heads. No matter what kind of job, it's essential for all construction workers to wear hard hats.

5. Hearing Protection 

Many of the large machines (or even smaller machines, like chainsaws) that workers use on construction sites emit extremely loud noises that can detrimental to their hearing if exposed to the sounds over an extended period of time. As such, wearing earplugs is an important way to prevent damage to the ears, and workers should also clean and replace their earplugs often.