PPE in Construction: Some considerations for summer

As the days begin to get longer and warmer, construction workers might be tempted to take off some of their PPE for relief from the heat, but here’s why it’s important not to.

Why is PPE important?

PPE, or personal protective equipment, must be worn by all construction site workers whilst on site and dealing with machinery. It provides protection against injuries that can occur on-site. Without wearing PPE, you are putting yourself at risk of injury and potentially causing harm that could put you out of work for days, weeks, months, or even permanently.

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Even when it’s warm, protective equipment must be worn on site as it can be the difference between life and death in some cases, depending on the severity of the injury.

Types of PPE

These are the most common types of PPE used on construction sites.

 Respiratory protection
This PPE is designed to protect your lungs and airways from any damaging particles that may be dispersed into the air when working with certain sediments and machinery. Often this comes in the form of a ventilated mask. With respiratory protection on site, you might inhale something severely damaging or even develop a respiratory disease later in life.

Eye protection
Eye protection keeps your eyes safe from any sparks, debris, and dust that could get into them whilst working on site. This is incredibly important when working with sharp tools and elements such as glass and metals which could shatter or flick up into your eyes. Eye protection can be worn in the form of safety goggles or as a visor or face shield – face shields are often used when welding.

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Hearing protection
Hearing protection prevents your ears from getting damaged from loud noises and anything that could enter them such as dust or fibers. Safe hearing equipment should be able to dull loud decibels of sound without making it too hard for you to hear and communicate with others on site.

Head protection
This is often found in the form of a hard hat and will protect you from items that might fall from a height or if you were to have a fall at work. Things like bricks, metal poles, and tools can all be accidentally dropped when working from heights, so this is probably one of the most important pieces of PPE you’ll see on a construction site.

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Body protection
Body protection normally comes in the form of a hi-visibility jacket, trousers, or both. This makes it easier for other workers to see you whilst they are operating heavy machinery and construction vehicles such as JCBs.

What should you also consider during summer?

As well as your regular PPE equipment, you should also consider taking sunscreen to work with you on hot summer days. Working outdoors exposes you to the elements so you could burn much faster without realizing.

You can also purchase temperature-adapted clothing that is specially designed for construction purposes, to keep you visible and cooler than your regular PPE would.

Make sure you keep hydrated and take regular breaks, as working in the heat can be tough and lead to faster exhaustion times.

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