Construction Commercial Insurance Profile – Q4 2021

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Use of Personal Protective Equipment in Construction

Personal protective equipment (PPE) helps protect the user from health and safety risks. During 2019-20, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reported 61,000 non-fatal and 40 fatal injuries within the construction industry. PPE can be vital in reducing the risk of injury and protecting against other safety hazards.

Employers have a duty to care for employees’ safety. This duty includes provisioning suitable PPE and providing training for its proper use. Employers must also implement robust health and safety controls following rigorous risk assessments. Staff can help by correctly wearing any PPE they’re provided.

There are many types of PPE used within the construction industry, including:

  • Head protection—Required on almost all construction sites, safety helmets or hard hats protect the wearer from impacts to the head and falling or flying objects.
  • Foot protection—Steel toecaps or safety shoes can protect the delicate bones of the foot from dropped objects or puncture wounds (eg stepping on a nail).
  • Eye protection—Safety goggles, visors or face shields must be worn where there’s a risk of chemical or metal splashes, dust, projectiles, gas, vapours and radiation.
  • Lung protection—Respirators, filtering facepieces or fresh air hoses reduce hazards from dust, gases and vapours.

It’s also essential that PPE is:

  • Fitted to the user—Equipment must be the correct size for each individual. When using multiple PPE, items must complement each other (eg safety glasses mustn’t disturb the seal of a respirator).
  • Stored correctly—When not in use, equipment must be stored safely and regularly inspected for defects.
  • Compliant with regulations—All PPE must display the correct regulation mark. The CE mark, currently still compliant, is being replaced by the UKCA mark from 1st January 2023.

It’s crucial for both employers and employees to play their part in reducing the chance of harm in the workplace. The proper use of PPE within the construction industry is crucial to mitigate risk. Contact us today to find out more.

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