Construction sites all over the world contain numerous hazards that can compromise the safety of an employee, which then necessitates the use of PPE or Personal Protective Equipment for all workers. There are different hazardous elements in a site which includes physical, chemical, ergonomic, radiation, psychological, and biological hazards that PPE can aid in avoiding.
Exposure to the various hazardous elements in a worksite can injure or kill a worker either from the initial contact with the hazard or as a result of an infection.
Wearing PPE minimizes the risk of injury in a worksite and, therefore, the risk of infections on a site. This post details how personal protective equipment can aid in preventing infections.
1. Preventing Physical Injuries
Personal Protective Equipment aids in keeping injuries from occurring as a result of falling objects, slipping, falling, and other hazards. Since construction worksites are typically dirty, there is a constant risk of infection for injuries in the site. Gloves, hard hats, and boots are some of the PPE meant to prevent injuries.
There are different types of gloves that when used for the task they are designed for, can prevent injuries from occurring. Leather gloves, for example, protect against blows, chips, and rough objects while providing only moderate protection against heat while aramid fiber gloves are resistant to cuts and abrasions while also providing significant protection against heat and cold.
Hard hats safeguard the head from impact, penetration, and electrical hazards that could otherwise lead to injuries when left unprotected.
2. Preventing Contact with Hazardous Substances
Getting injured is not the only way to be infected in a worksite since other hazardous substances can compromise a worker’s health from exposure. Radiation and biological hazards contribute to compromising a person’s health when not secured with the right PPE.
Gloves, masks, eye protection, and respiratory protection keeps a worker from being exposed to hazardous elements that can make contact with the body including infectious materials, dangerous fluids, dust, sparks from welding equipment, and other hazardous substances in the form of fumes and gases.
3. Prevent Exposure from Contaminants Through Equipment Maintenance
Through constant use, PPE can end up getting damaged or contaminated, which can be dangerous to employees reusing such equipment. Dirty PPE needs to be cleaned and disinfected before it can be used again to keep anyone from getting infected with a disease. Workers sharing PPEs can infect both the equipment and each other when their gear is not disinfected.
After use, PPE must be stored properly away from chemicals, extreme sunlight, extreme temperature, and excessive humidity lest they deteriorate prematurely. Deteriorated equipment can lower the protection it affords its user, which results in higher risks for injury and infection.
Properly maintained equipment retain their levels of protection and provide workers with suitable defense against hazardous materials in a worksite. Since the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not permit the use of defective, damaged, and contaminated equipment, maintaining PPE is necessary.
Personal Protective Equipment serves as a last line of defense against hazardous materials and substances in a construction site after employers have eliminated or reduced the safety risks in the worksite. Using PPE aids in providing security from infections by protecting the wearer from injuries and exposure from chemicals.
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