For business owners and health safety managers, the last thing you want to hear is that one of your employees that work for your business or contracting company is said to have had an injury on job. You don’t want to hear from your foreman that, “there’s been an accident at the job site.”
Not only will you be skeptical and fear the worse, but you don’t want anyone to be injured or learn that it was a tragic accident which could’ve been prevented. It can result in the loss of that employee’s life, or maybe a loss of a limb or injury due to the lack of head protection, for instance, at the job site.
It happens daily on construction sites which are normally reported to OSHA (Occupational Safety Hazard Administration) regularly. Normally, contractors have safety meetings daily, or they should. But, one of the culprits is not using the right PPE or Personal Protective Equipment and clothing while working. After all, the health and safety of your company’s employees is absolutely important for you and them, especially (along with their families).
Head protection is extremely important for construction workers. Sad, but true, construction workers have a high rate of becoming deaf, blind, and even “beheaded” for not having the proper PPE.
According to OSHA, face protection is one of the main concerns for them. There’s quite a number of those who are blind because of failure to wear goggles or eye protection. Face protection, most importantly, one of the main areas workers may want to protect, is one of the most sensitive areas of the body. This is because of the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and naturally, the neck area can become injured.
Therefore, not wearing the proper head protection while working with tools and equipment during a construction project are extremely important.
Normally, at work, construction workers need to wear protection for their eyes as well. When they are working with concrete, for example, eye injuries can become a target. This is because of loose gravel being broken down, or thrown to the eye area. One way they can become blind or seriously injured is not having their eyes covered with safety goggles.
With thousands of work-related eye injuries, why would anyone want to risk their face, let alone their eyes?
It can be prevented with proper selection of eye and face protection equipment. $300 million is what it costs annually for “lost production time” and expenses due to medical and work compensation, according to OSHA.
Ensuring the safety of all employees are the supervisors and safety managers’ responsibility. There’s also, those unwanted fines and fees that OSHA gives out to those who don’t follow the rules. As a result, it can lead to death which is the most extreme case when employers and employees do not follow safety procedures during a federal, state, or local contract. Additionally, private jobs are not excluded from this. It’s imperative that anyone using tools and equipment, even if it’s as small as a hammer, that they use face protection.
In addition, ear protection is also another area that needs attention. Those that work outside and use jack hammers, for example, should wear ear plugs. Over time, using loud noisy tools can impair the hearing resulting in loss of hearing. Employees should provide the necessary protection for their employees to prevent such cases as hearing loss.
“Hearing protectors are required when noise levels exceed the OSHA permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 90 dBA measured as a time-weighted average (TWA). [29 CFR 1910.95(b)(1)]”
When employees in the industry are subject to being exposed to noise, especially excessive noise, they need to wear PPE such as earplugs or muffs. Sometimes both are required because of the loudness of equipment and tools. Hearing protection is part of the hearing conservation program which is required when noise exceeds a certain amount of decibels.
If the action level is 85 decibels on the A scale (dBA), it is imperative that workers use ear protection, otherwise, they can suffer hearing injuries or even hearing loss overtime. Furthermore, ear plugs and muffs are required for the protection of employees’ ears in order to prevent hearing injuries or hearing loss.
Nevertheless, protecting the ears, eyes, or basically, the face, should be one of the most important concerns safety managers and their employees should be aware of and not take it for granted. For instance, some potential hazards are due to abrasive blasting, needle gunning, or even scaling which are all part of the shipyard production industry. These types of operations are considered the loudest in shipyards when operations are undergoing.
Additionally, grinding, high pressure steam cleaning, ventilation equipment…etc. are some other things that can cause head injuries in the eyes and the ears of a worker doesn’t have the proper PPE.
Some solutions that employers could utilize for their employees can be read at the OSHA website. (Go to: https://www.osha.gov/)
Hard hats are, yet, another way to protect those who work in the industry as well. This is regarded as one of the most important PPEs for those working in the construction industry too. When a safety manager or foreman, for instance, walks into a room or project site, all employees should be wearing a hard-hat.
Personal Protection equipment and clothing
Any personal protection equipment and clothing (such as flame resistant clothing) should be provided by all employees for the protection of their head or face. This is required by OSHA. The most sensitive part of the body has to be the head. Protecting the entire area of someone’s face should be on anyone’s mind when working with dangerous or risky tools and equipment. Especially if they work in the construction industry.
Finally, to prevent injuries or loss of hearing, eye sight, or even head injuries due to the lack of wearing a hard-hat, should be taken seriously. Consequently, when employees work in the general industry such as long shoring, shipyards, and basic construction, it could mean preventing loss of money, reduce work compensation claims, prevent law suits, and more importantly, the loss of life due to the lack of safety standards that could’ve been prevented by the employer.
About Dennis Kaminski:
Dennis Kaminski is the owner of Safetymart. SafetyMart helps customers ranging from private businesses to government/municipal agencies, both large and small to address their safety needs and requirements.