How pervasive are the construction industry’s issues with workplace safety? According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), “5,190 workers were killed on the job in 2016.” That means slightly more than 14 workers died each day in 2016. This was a seven percent increase from the previous year.
At Cotney Construction Law, our OSHA defense attorneys have fought side-by-side with the construction industry for years to help cultivate a culture of safety and dispel the notion that construction sites are “dangerous.” Our team of dedicated construction law experts have all the tools of the trade to ensure your workers’ compliance with the various OSHA rules and regulations governing construction sites. In part one of this two-part article, our OSHA defense lawyers explored an array of workplace risks. In part two, we will examine different types of personal protective equipment (PPE) for the body as well as the crafting materials used to protect workers in every situation.
Types of Protective Wear for Your Body
PPE needs to protect the body without significantly compromising mobility. In some cases, construction workers won’t need PPE, but whenever working around chemicals, hot liquids, or heavy objects, we recommend wearing the appropriate protective gear. Examples of PPE for your body include:
- Laboratory coats
- Safety harnesses
- Full body suits
- Hazmat suits
- Padded outerwear
As a contractor, it’s your job to ensure that all employees wear the correct safety equipment. You never know when an OSHA inspector is going to appear on your project site, and you don’t want to be issued a citation for something entirely preventable. If your team is working with hazardous chemicals or toxic substances, you should inspect their PPE before each use. All protective wear should fit the employee properly and fulfill its intended purpose. Wearing nonfunctional PPE is senseless and opens up the possibility of bodily injury.
Choosing the Right Materials
Body PPE is designed to protect the wearer from a wide breadth of potential hazards. Manufacturers use a variety of materials to ensure that workers are safe regardless of the conditions on the project site. Some of these materials include:
Paper-like fiber: Used for disposable suits that protect the wearer from dust and splashes.
Treated wool and cotton: This fire-resistant material protects the wearer against dust, abrasions, and irritating surfaces. It’s also adaptable in changing temperatures and comfortable to wear.
Duck: This tightly woven fabric is ideal for protecting the wearer against cuts and bruises when handling heavy, sharp materials.
Leather: Effective against dry heat and flames.
Rubber, rubberized fabrics, neoprene, and plastics: These practical materials nullify the danger of various chemicals and physical hazards.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.