PPE on construction sites

The construction industry is responsible for an annual average of 38 fatal injuries and many more non-fatal injuries. Quite a few of these injuries could have been prevented if the victim had the correct personal protective equipment (PPE). For more detailed information on this topic, we recommend the HSE website.

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Why do you have to use PPE

For all machines, tools and even construction sites, a risk assessment has to be conducted. All risks identified have to be eliminated or minimized with measures in the following order:

The public

The public, for example a pedestrian or a car driver can find themselves in hazardous situations, such as:

  1. Use mechanical or constructional measures to minimize risks, e.g. safety guards and light barriers.
  2. Instruct and train employees and introduce safety procedures to encourage working safely and responsibly.
  3. Provide PPE to protect employees from remaining hazards, such as:
    • Breathing in contaminated air
    • Falling objects
    • Flying particles or splashes
    • Corrosive materials
    • Temperature extremes

If you want to make a claim against your employer for lack of or improper use of PPE that resulted in an injury, click here.

Selecting suitable PPE

PPE has to be selected carefully and the personnel using it have to be properly trained to do so. When selecting PPE consider the following:

  • PPE must be appropriate to withstand the exposure to the risk. Think about different factors, such as:
    • How long is someone exposed to the risk?
    • What level of heat-resistance is needed?
    • What particle size must be filtered?
  • Can different equipment be worn together (e.g. helmet and dust mask)?
  • How should the equipment be stored, maintained, cleaned?
  • How often does it need to be replaced and how can be made sure that it is replaced on time?
  • Make sure your chosen PPE is manufactured and designed according to the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002

How to avoid injuries

Eye injuries

Eyes have to be protected from such things as

  • Chemical or metal splashes
  • Dust, gas and vapour
  • Radiation

Whether you need safety goggles, spectacles or even a face shield depends on the hazard. If you have suffered an eye injury, you might be able to claim compensation.

Head, neck and spine injuries

Your head, neck and spine can be protected with the following measures:

  • Use safety helmets to protect you from flying or falling objects
  • Use hair nets to protect your hair from getting tangled or pulled into a machine, e.g. a power drillr
  • Use helmets with face shields to protect you from temperature and chemical spills.
  • Use appropriate safety equipment if you work in heights.

If you have injured your head, neck or spine due to a falling object or because you fell from height, you might be able to claim compensation.

Noise induced hearing loss

Even a short exposure to a very high noise-level can cause lasting hearing damage or hearing loss. Use earplugs or earmuffs to reduce the noise to an acceptable level. If you lost your hearing because of working on a construction site, you might be able to claim compensation.

Hand and arm injuries

Working on a construction site, your hands and arms are subject to various hazards. The most common injuries include:

To avoid injuries and protect your hand and arms from chemicals, radiation or even an electric shock, wear suitable gloves.

If you have injured your hands, arms or elbows, you might be able to claim compensation.

Foot and leg injuries

Appropriate footwear can protect you from many injuries. Common hazards include:

  • Slippery surfaces
  • Falling objects
  • Hot or cold temperature
  • Heavy loads

Safety boots with a suitable profile can protect your from these hazards. If you have injured your foot, knee or leg, you might be able to claim compensation.

Damaging inner organs

Dust, gases, vapours and toxic substances can damage your inner organs, e.g. your lungs. A common illness is mesothelioma, which is caused by asbestos.

Toxic substances have to be taken very seriously and a suitable respirator has to be chosen carefully. If you or your employees work with dust, gases or vapours, we recommend you use this guide to choose suitable safety equipment.

If you have mesothelioma, lost your taste or smell or damaged another inner organ from working on a construction site, you might be able to claim compensation.

Compensation claims

If you have been injured on a construction site due to someone else's fault, you might be able to claim compensation. Contact us for free legal advice.

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