Everything you need to know about PPE for the construction industry
It’s likely not surprising to learn that construction can be a hazardous trade. Construction accounts for an outsized share of workplace accidents and fatalities.
Most of them are preventable.
In this guide to PPE for the construction industry, we outline your responsibilities, from high-quality construction boots to specialty protection for tough jobs.
A quick-fire guide to safety in construction
Who is responsible for PPE on work sites?
Employers are legally required to provide PPE and training. However, safety is ultimately everyone’s responsibility.
What safety measures are also legal requirements?
Here in the United States, common safety requirements for construction sites include:
- Construction boots (typically steel cap safety boots)
- Hard hats
- Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS)
- Hazard identification signage
- Regular safety inspections
What are some examples of PPE and safety requirements unique to construction sites?
- Fall protection systems on elevated platforms
- Penetration-resistant soles on construction boots
- Shoring or sloping excavations to prevent collapse
- Correct handling and disposal procedures for hazardous materials (like asbestos and lead)
- Testing and tagging electrical equipment
How do construction boots keep workers safe on site?
Safety boots aren’t just designed to protect your toes from impact and dropped objects. High-quality men’s and women’s construction boots will also:
- Reduce the risks of slips, trips and falls
- Help prevent acute strains and long-term fatigue
- Dissipate static electricity through the sole into the ground
- Provide heat resistance through the outsole for up to 130°C
- Enable flexibility and free movement
Specialty construction boots include features that provide an additional layer of safety, such as Steel Blue Penetration Resistant soles, ErgoDefender™ steel toe cap and Electrical Hazard (EH) protection.
Your safety responsibilities on a construction site
Earlier, we mentioned that safety is everyone’s responsibility. Whether you’re a first-year apprentice or a seasoned site manager, your attitude to safety affects your team’s productivity and performance.
Employers are legally obliged to provide appropriate PPE for construction workers. The specific requirements depend on your working environment, but in general, will include:
- Construction boots
- Hard hats
- Safety glasses
- Fall protection equipment
- Sun protection
- Hi-visibility clothing
But your duties don’t end there. Employers must also train workers (and visitors) to use, clean and store PPE properly.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, public health organizations like The NIOSH Construction Program issued guidelines for special PPE.
Your employer is required to provide (and pay for) PPE. It’s up to you to use it properly.
Take pride in turning up to work with the right gear. If you lead by example, others will follow, and your team will get home safely every day.
- Keep PPE in good condition, from hard hats to construction boots
- Hold your team accountable to encourage vigilance
- Ensure safety boots fit correctly and are secure
- Pay attention in toolbox meetings
- Proactively identify, report and (if possible) remove hazards
High-quality PPE is a safety measure and productivity tool. It’s essential to keep your equipment in good condition; find out more about caring for construction boots.
Everyone who enters a construction site must follow PPE regulations, whether they stay for an hour or a day. The company or person responsible for site operations must provide appropriate safety equipment and briefings before you can enter.
If you’re planning to visit construction sites, mining operations, farms or warehouses often, it’s well worth investing in a pair of lightweight work boots. Steel Blue construction boots are the ideal all-rounder. They keep you safe in almost every environment and look great at the same time.
Steel Blue construction boots: The pinnacle of PPE for builders
Steel Blue men’s and women’s construction boots are built to work as hard as you do. With specialty safety features and carefully crafted comfort, Steel Blue boots are the ultimate tool for comfort, safety and exceptional work.
Where to find more information on PPE and safety in construction
Safe Work Australia develops national policies for workers and employers. Although they don’t enforce workplace laws, they do set down safety standards.