Safety helmet, glasses, gloves, and earmuffs



PPE stands for personal protective equipment which we use in our daily work activities. OSHA gives employers responsibility for ensuring that employees wear appropriate PPE to reduce exposure to hazardous conditions such as falling objects, noise exposure, toxic atmospheres, etc. Personal protection is the main objective and each of us must follow our employer’s safety requirements.

The first form of PPE is a hard hat. This safety device provides us with an impact resistant covering that protects the head. We know that all of our body functions are controlled by ‘that gray matter’ inside our head, so don’t take chances — protect your brain — wear your hard hat at all times!

Many other forms of PPE are available to you. Hearing protection in the form of ear plugs or muffs reduces the amount of noise reaching your ear drums, thereby preserving your hearing. Respirators provide protection against toxic substances that might enter our bodies through our respiratory systems. Safety belts with lanyards and full body harnesses are types of personal fall protection, but they are effective only if we use them. Knee pads necessary when kneeling during work.

The eyes and face are another area that needs to be protected. There are many types and sizes of spectacles and goggles to protect the eyes and each has a special application. Be sure you read the manufacturer’s instructions before wearing them and choose the right type. Face shields should be worn if potential danger exists from physical, chemical or radiation agents.

Personal Protective Equipment can be cumbersome, uncomfortable, hot, etc. and employees occasionally don’t wear it even though they know they may be risking injury. Any worker who fails to wear required PPE should be disciplined.

Evaluate your work operations and define the hazards. Check with your supervisor for necessary PPE requirements and resolve to wear them. An ounce of protection is worth a pound or cure.



Struck by Objects: Three of the Fatal Four Hazards

The Fatal Four
Construction is one of the most dangerous industries to work in. One out of every five worker deaths in 2015 was in construction, a percentage that has remained fairly constant over the last several years. The four leading causes of construction worker fatalities are falls, electrocutions, being struck by objects and being caught in or between objects. OSHA has dubbed these the “Fatal Four” and in 2014, they accounted for 508 of the 874 construction worker deaths.

Struck by Objects
Being struck by objects was the cause of 73 worker deaths, 8.4% of all construction fatalities in 2014. A wide range of hazards can cause injuries and fatalities, everything from falling tools to accidental nail gun discharges to being hit by vehicles or construction equipment. The four most common struck by hazards in construction: flying objects, falling objects, swinging objects and rolling objects.

Be Alert
Employers should alert all workers of areas where there is greater potential for struck by accidents to occur limit access to those areas. OSHA requires that employers provide employees with proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). All PPE should meet current American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards. OSHA is in the process of issuing a final rule to update their standards on eye and face protection in construction to be more in line with current national consensus and ANSI standards. PPE should be inspected prior to each use to ensure that it’s in proper working condition and free from any defects or damage.

Struck by Rolling Object Hazards
Rolling object hazards typically involve being struck by a vehicle or heavy equipment while it’s in motion. They also include any object that rolls, moves or slides on the same level as a worker. Equipment operators generally have limited or no visibility when operating in reverse. Workers need to be made aware of areas where heavy equipment is being operated so they can avoid them. Struck by accidents involving heavy equipment often occur when operators have not received proper training on how to safely operate the machinery.

Struck by Falling Object Hazards
Falling object injuries typically occur when tools and materials get knocked off from unprotected edges by employees working at height. Employees should be prevented from working or walking in areas where work is being performed overhead. Toeboards and screens should be used to keep tools and equipment from falling to a lower level. Debris nets and catch platforms can be used deflect falling objects.

Examples of flying object hazards include thrown tools or materials, accidental nail gun discharges and using unguarded power tools. Workers should stay out of the line of sight when a nail gun is being used. Avoid working on the opposite side of a wall of plywood or sheetrock because misfires have enough force to easily penetrate both materials and kill someone on the other side. Inspect power tools before use to ensure protective guards have not been removed and are in good condition. Workers should always wear eye, face and head protection when using power tools or working near them.

Struck by Swinging Object Hazards
Swinging object hazards generally occur when something causes loads being mechanically lifted to sway. Accidents can also occur when a worker enters the swing radius of a piece of heavy equipment like a crane. Employees should never be allowed to walk under a suspended load. Barriers should be erected to keep employees from accidentally stepping inside the swing radius of heavy equipment.

Two of the most cited OSHA violations in construction involve the standards for head protection and eye and face protection. Issuing workers proper PPE and enforcing their use can go a long way in protecting workers from flying and falling hazards.

Attributed by: