July 9, 2024

Essential PPE for construction sites

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From falling debris to loud machinery, construction sites can be hazardous environments. Thankfully, legislation like the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 places a duty on British employers to provide suitable PPE to workers, helping to safeguard their health and wellbeing. Below, we explore the essential PPE workers need to stay safe on the job.

Safety footwear

Safety boots should be the first item on when arriving and the last coming off when leaving. Look for heavy-duty site work boots that protect feet from falling objects and penetration from sharp materials. Additional features like waterproofing and slip-resistant soles can help protect workers while navigating wet or uneven terrain.


High-visibility clothing is a legal requirement on jobsites, ensuring workers are seen by drivers, forklift operators and other personnel, minimising the risk of collisions. Choose Hi-Vis clothing that meets the EN ISO 20471 standard, which specifies the levels of fluorescence and reflectivity required for different light conditions. 

Hand protection

Construction work often involves handling objects made from rough materials and with sharp edges. Stocking a variety of gloves shield hands from cuts, abrasions, burns and exposure to harmful substances. Choose cut-resistant gloves for handling sharp materials, heat-resistant gloves for working with hot objects, and chemical-resistant gloves when handling paints, solvents or other chemicals.

Eye protection

Adequate eye PPE is essential on the jobsite, with flying debris, dust, sparks and chemicals all capable of causing serious injury. Safety glasses offer a good balance of defence and airflow, while goggles provide a complete seal around the eyes for high-impact environments. With either option, ensure they meet the EN 166 standard, which specifies the level of protection against different hazards.

Hearing protection

Consistent exposure to loud noises from construction works and machinery can lead to hearing damage. Protective equipment like earplugs or earmuffs helps to dampen harmful noise levels. Ear plugs are a convenient option that fit directly into the ear canal, while earmuffs provide a more complete seal around the ears. 

Hard hats

Construction sites are associated with hard hats for good reason, as they play a crucial role in shielding the head from falling objects, protecting against serious injuries. Ensure your hard hat meets the EN 397 standard and is the right size for a snug but comfortable fit. Look for features like chin straps to prevent the hard hat from falling off during movement.

Keeping workers safe

By prioritising the proper use of PPE, you can do your bit to ensure your workers return home safe and healthy every day, and significantly reduce the number of jobsite accidents – which accounted for 1/3 of all workplace fatalities in the Great Britain in 2022/23. Remember, PPE is only effective if it’s used correctly and maintained properly, so regular inspections, cleaning and replacement of worn or damaged PPE is crucial.

author avatar
Bernard - Side-Line Staff Chief editor
Bernard Van Isacker is the Chief Editor of Side-Line Magazine. With a career spanning more than two decades, Van Isacker has established himself as a respected figure in the darkwave scene.

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