This is Why You Should Wear a Hard Hat

Hard hats are a non-negotiable part of every construction workers Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and for obvious reasons however the number of workers who become complacent towards wearing hardhats and PPE in general are alarming.

If you need some help choosing a good hard hat, watch this video.

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Importance of Protecting Workers Hearing in Construction

hearing sign

Source: www.safety-signs.org

The Department of Health, together with Deafness Forum of Australia will be raising awareness for protection of worker hearing with Hearing Awareness Week 2015.

Hearing Awareness Week is taking place between 23-29 August and aims to highlight the important of managing noise levels on work sites.

To get more information visit www.hearingawarenessweek.org.au 

 

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“Exoskeleton” Eases Strain on Construction Workers

exskeleton

Source: http://arstechnica.co.uk

Taking PPE to a whole new level, Ekso Bionics have created an exoskeleton which is aimed at making the lives of construction workers a little easier.

The exoskeleton uses the latest technology to deliver a totally weightless system, to make construction work safer and easier, improving productivity and minimising injury.

While the technology is still expensive (around $12,000) the company hopes it will be common in most construction sites in the next few years.

Would you wear it?

See here for more.

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Protecting your skin and hands when engaging in Construction Work

During construction work your hands and skin are exposed and susceptible to physical, chemical and radiation hazards.

Personal hand/skin protection are often the only means of protecting hands from injury caused by physical hazards (caused by sharp or jagged edges on materials or tools), heat, vibration, corrosive or toxic chemical, ultraviolent radiation particularly if workers spend most of their time outdoors.

Some of the physical hazards affecting hands include sharp edges, splinters and heat. The best form of PPE for these is leather gloves because cotton gloves will not be sufficient to protect against harm.

Training on the appropriate and safe use of tools and machinery that can present a hazard to workers hands should be conducted to ensure workers are using tools and machinery correctly. Incorrect use of some tools and machinery can result in serious injury to the hands and arms, in fact in some instances workers have lost fingers due to injuries caused by incorrect use tools.

Another hazard that can affect hands is the vibration transferred from tools and equipment can affect hands and arms. A common condition that can result is hand/arm vibration syndrome (HAVS). This condition can cause circulation problems, sensory problems and musculoskeletal issues.

Preventing HAVS means employers must provide workers with power tools with built-in vibration reducing components and allow sufficient breaks when working with vibrating tools.

Workers should wear appropriate clothing in cooler weather to maintain core body temperature and wear gloves whenever possible.

To protect against chemical hazards the material safety data sheet (MSDS) for the product being used should identify whether gloves are needed and what they should be made of. MSDSs must be available on site for all workers to access whenever the controlled chemical is being used.

Ultraviolet radiation is another hazard to worker’s skin and hands especially in recent years when countless numbers of people have gotten skin cancer from unprotected excessive exposure to the sun. Construction workers are particularly susceptible because they spend so much time outdoors in the direct sunlight.

Workers should apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater to all exposed skin areas. Also ensure that the ears and back of the neck is covered. The sunscreen should be applied 20 to 30 minutes before going out in the sun and should be reapplied every two hours.

Also don’t forget to protect the lips. Use an SPF 30 or higher sunscreen lip balm and reapply every two hours just as you would sunscreen. Remember skin cancers can develop on lips as well.

Workers should not neglect the back of their necks and wear protection for this area. Neck protectors are available that clip onto your hard hat.

Workers should also wear UV-absorbent safety glasses and clothing that covers as much of the skin as possible. Tightly woven material will offer greater protection as a physical block to UV rays and should be loose rather than fitted especially in hotter weather.

Workers should be provided with adequate shaded areas for breaks and lunch out of the sun.

Most importantly ensure that all workers are educated on the hazards of UV radiation as well as all the hazards to their hands and skin and the safety measures which can be implemented to control them before they even begin working on the site.

For more info on PPE on construction sites refer to the White Card course at www.whitecardonline.com.au

 

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Ensuring effective Use of PPE on Construction Sites

For contractors it is not enough to just supply workers with personal protective equipment, it is also vital that they are trained on the correct use of this equipment to ensure that it is effective in preventing injury or minimizing the injury caused by accidents.

Personal protective equipment (aka PPE) is anything used or worn by a person to minimise the risk to the person’s health and safety.

Some examples of PPE which are often utilised in construction are:

  • eye protection such as goggles, glasses and face shields
  • hearing protection – ear plugs and ear muffs
  • respiratory protection such as, filter respirators and airline respirators
  • foot protection for example, safety shoes and boots, spats and rubber boots
  • head protection in the form of hard hats, helmets and broad brimmed hats
  • body protection such as aprons, overalls, gloves and high visibility clothing
  • And any substance used to protect health, such as sunscreen for workers who operate outdoors.

It is important that when employers or persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) are considering PPE to minimise risk to health and safety they ensure that they consider whether the PPE is:

  • Well suited to the nature of the work and any associated hazard
  • Is a suitable size and fit and is comfortable enough for a person to wear and doesn’t interfere with or hinder their work tasks
  • Is maintained, repaired or replaced so it continues to effectively minimise the risk to the worker utilising it
  • Is used or worn by the worker, so far as is reasonably practicable.

Although PPE cannot prevent an accident from happening and so should never be the only form of protection, they can help to minimise the effects of an accident on a worker’s health. For example wearing a hard hat will not prevent objects from falling but they will minimise the injury a falling object can do to a worker if it strikes them in the head.

PPE is one of the least effective ways of controlling risks to health and safety and therefore should only be used when there are no other practical control measures available or as an interim measure until a more effective way of controlling the risk can be used. PPE could also be used to supplement higher level control measures.

PPE must be provided to workers free of charge and they should be trained on its effective use. Employers and their employees should also ensure that PPE are kept in good working condition to ensure their continued effectiveness. It is an offence for employers to charge workers for providing PPE.

When choosing the right PPE for the job, employers the selection processes must include consultation with workers and also include an evaluation of the risk and performance requirements for the PPE.

Employers should consider the compatibility of PPE items where more than one type of PPE is required and should consult with the supplier to make sure that the PPE is suitable for the type of work being undertaken and the workplace conditions.

Remember:  Construction site safety starts with getting a White Card – you can get yours from www.whitecardonline.com.au

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