When on site it seems as though almost everything that can be worn has a PPE equivalent. In a way that makes sense, about the only garment that does not seem to have an EN rating is boxer shorts.
There are a multitude of reasons why so much of what can be worn is listed as Workwear, but the fact is that when you are at work it makes sense to dress appropriately.
It is even possible to have waterproof socks in case the water level happens to be a fraction too high for your boots.
But is it all really worth it?
Yes, of course it is.
The idea of safety clothing is to keep you protected in the workplace and it helps if what you are wearing is as comfortable as possible. It is true that high-vis clothing may never be seen on the catwalks of Pairs or in London fashion week, although it is not unlikely that at some point some designer will choose to include something one day.
However, until that day arrives it is safe to assume that there will always be a truly practical purpose for the rules and regulations that govern what should be worn in any potentially hazardous environment.
It also saves the wearer from the arduous task of trying to decide what to put on every morning and you can keep your ‘normal’ clothes for when you are at home. In a backwards sort of way it is financially more sensible to have to wear site specific clothing as it tends to be harder wearing than any other clothes.
Some companies even have their logo printed, or embroidered, onto the apparel in order to promote their business and make the wearer feel a part of the ‘family.’
All in all life is just a little bit easier when the effort of getting dressed in the morning is reduced to wondering whether or not to wear a waterproof.
That said we are in the UK . . .
It is not very often that fires occur on-site but they can happen. In some jobs the risk of fire is so great that it is important to wear flame, or even fire retardant clothing.
But if both types of clothing are designed to protect the wearer from fire then surely they are pretty much the same thing?
Well, no they are actually very different materials.
If an item is classified as being ‘Flame Resistant’ then it has been produced from materials that are non-flammable. These materials have flame resistance chemically built in to their structure. Fabrics using this type of material are not usually made from completely flame proof material, they need to be wearable after all, but although they will eventually start to burn they will only do so very slowly and are liable to be self-extinguishing.
Any fabric that has been classified as ‘Flame Retardant’ will have been treated in a chemical process in order to make it slow burning and even self-extinguishing if exposed to open flame.
In terms of clothing, it is more likely that the wearer will have a product that is flame retardant as they are simpler to manufacture and far less expensive. They are usually far more comfortable to wear next to the skin than a fabric that is flame resistant.
Many garments of the flame retardant type are made form a combination of materials. More often than not they will be a combination of chemically treated polyester and cotton that allow the wearer to remain reasonably comfortable throughout the working day.
Sometimes it is wise to have a garment that is anti-static as well as flame retardant as the clothing itself helps to reduce the risk of unexpected fires. It may sound unlikely but if the air/accelerant mix is just right then a simple static charge has the potential to cause an explosion.
Better to be safe wearing the right clothing than running the risk of getting burnt.
Depending upon the environment that you are working in it is sometimes necessary to wear safety footwear.
Some sites do not require a full steel-toed boot but may have sufficient hazards to warrant something with a penetration resistant mid-sole and a composite toecap. The advantage of any safety footwear that uses a composite toecap is a reduction in the overall weight of the item.
Safety shoes and trainers are the ideal choice for this type of workspace as they are both lighter weight and, in general terms more aesthetically pleasing.
That is not to say that they would be everybody’s choice as there are a large number of people that prefer having the protection that both ankle and ‘Rigger’ boots provide. Although wearing a pair of ‘Riggers’ could be considered inappropriate in some environments.
The biggest advantage that ‘Riggers’ have is the ease of fitting and removal. If you keep a pair long enough they could quite literally become armoured slippers. This type of boot earned its name, as they were standard issue safety footwear for workers on off shore oilrigs in the North Sea.
As mentioned above, there are those that prefer the fit of an ankle boot. For some it comes from having the increased support that the lacing and closer fit provides. For those that find that they suffer from cold feet they also offer more warmth that even a fully lined ‘Rigger.’
They also offer a degree of practicality that ‘Riggers’ cannot. Because of the way in which ankle boots support the foot they are better suited to larger sites where it can be required to walk a great deal further, there are a variety of manufacturers that provide hiking style safety boots that provide improved traction, support as well as mid-sole protection and either steel or composite toecaps.
For an extended period of time it was always assumed that any kind of base layer that was being worn was in some way a thermal layer.
People used to think that it was strange to be wearing a thermal shirt in the middle of summer.
But the fact of the matter is that some base layers are designed and made to help keep the wearer, if not completely cool then certainly drier than a cotton T-shirt can.
The problem with a cotton shirt is that while it may let air through, it also holds on to any moisture that it comes into contact with. This can become uncomfortable on a warm day and if the wearer is still in the garment as the temperature drops then they can become chilled very quickly.
So the next time you see someone wearing a ‘thermal’ base layer on a hot summers day, it might be safe to assume that they are actually very comfortable in what they are wearing.
But thermal base layers are still very much in existence. When it gets cold there is a huge range of products that are produced to keep the wearer comfortable when worn as a layer to help keep you warm.
Old-fashioned ‘Long-Johns’ have come a very long way from being the items of ridicule that they once were. Thanks to the advances made in the production of fabrics, it is now remain comfortable at temperatures as low as -25ºC. Although being that warm they might just be a little too warm to be used as pyjamas!
Depending on the role you play on site there is an appropriate base layer to help keep you warm, even on the coldest of days. Combined with the right mid layers and required high-vis outer layer there is no reason to be uncomfortable during your time on site.
Sometimes a job is started and before anybody realises what is happening there is a layer of dust over everyone and everything. But on closer inspection it soon becomes apparent that buying coveralls for every member of the site time will take longer than that phase of the job.
There is, however, a simple solution; disposable boiler suits.
Not the most attractive garment but for a ‘use it and bin it’ garment they do not need to be.
While not intended for use in an environment where there are hazardous dusts they are certainly good enough to protect the wearer from general airborne particles.
If the whole box of ten does not get used then they are always useful to have on site if a visitor arrives in less than appropriate apparel, one of these will certainly ensure that they do not get too dirty while visiting the site.
Available in either blue or white and in a range of sizes, although whatever you get someone will always claim that it is too big, too small, not long enough in the body etc. For single use apparel they are certainly up to the task and the zip up front is likely to stop most particles from getting in.
Having the zip run to the top of the collar should also help keep the wearers clothing protected as long as it has been done up properly.
The white version of these boiler suits is more suitable to decorating jobs or those where an element of hygiene is required. That said there is no reason that white cannot be worn on any site, although it may look very dirty very quickly if worn on an excavation site.
So you get to the site and put on your high-vis jacket as per regulations, pull your toe-‘tectors on and you are ready for another day on site.
But are you really defending yourself against all possibilities?
Despite all of the HSE regulations about PPE the only real way to be absolutely safe on site is to never leave the office. There is a problem with that idea though; the boss is unlikely to pay you to sit around while there is work to be done.
In some situations hard hats are not deemed to be a necessity but there are jobs that will require hearing protection. Sure, you can purchase a helmet with ear defenders pre-installed but as noted above you do not always need to be wearing a helmet and as such a good pair of ear defenders are worth the money.
The great thing about ear defenders is that they are so much more affordable than a pair of headphones to listen to music. The problem that could potentially arise is when do you know you have gone a bit too far to protect your hearing?
A pair of ear defenders will obviously provide a great deal more protection throughout the working day from noisy machinery, as will a pair of disposable earplugs, but if using either is adequate then why not combine their abilities to further protect your hearing?
The answer to that is one of common sense.
Yes, you will shut out virtually all noise but in doing so you may very well be putting yourself at risk of being unable to hear verbal warnings, or even the approach of a vehicle.
Protecting your hearing is important but not at the cost of creating the increased chance of an accident because you are unable to hear it coming.
Working outdoors brings a plethora of dangers, some you may not have even considered. Consider the people who work near roadways. You’ll notice cars, vans and lorries whizzing past them busy with the day to day. Then there are the impatient drives who like to dodge from lane to lane and usually try pushing the speed limit to get where they’re going two minutes faster. In all its brilliance, the UK has some great whether conditions. These usually range from dull and drizzly to cloudy and overcast. Put the two together and you’ve got the potential for a dangerous situation.
Hi-Vis jackets can make the difference between being seen and not seen. You may take it for granted that people can see you but that’s not always the case. A driver may have failing eye sight or may just happen to get be dazzled by oncoming headlights at the wrong moment. Without hi-vis clothing, the wrong moment is all it takes.
If you do work in a construction environment then it’s usually mandatory you have PPE equipment such as a hi-vis jacket or vest, safety boots and a hard hat. You may not necessarily understand the reason these are a requirement but consider this – operators of heavy equipment tend to have a limited amount of visibility from the driving seat. If you are not easily visible, they may not see you when moving from one work area to another. Couple this with the noise of various pieces of equipment working and you may not see or hear them coming either.
Depending on the type of work you are doing, you’ll need different safety equipment. For example, if you are working at height the you’ll need fall arrest equipment or if you are working by water you’ll need floatation equipment. No matter what type of work you’re doing, we can’t stress enough the importance of hi-vis clothing. View our range in our online shop.
Personal protective equipment is a very important thing to have on any job. If you do not have this kind of equipment, you could find that there is a huge difference between life and death in the instance of one small accident. It is the kind of gear that is mostly seen on construction sites or places where workers are near the road, but it is also important to have in other industries as well.
Workers may not see the importance of having this gear, but it is something that is needed on the job site to run a good company.
While you may think it is easier to do your job without all of the bulky gear on, that gear can and will often save your life. For instance, if you work construction near a road side, you will want to have the best personal protective equipment to keep you visible to the drivers that are using the road, in order to keep you from getting hit.health and safety, ppe, safety
There are some things in this world that should be easy to write an article about.
As it turns out one of the hardest things to write an article about is an Open Mesh Skip Net. It is a net and we all know what nets look like don’t we?
Well the answer to that is maybe we don’t know quite as much as we thought.
The one being reviewed is the largest available and has been made to cover a fourteen yard skip. This means that it is fifteen feet long by nine feet wide and has been made to fit evenly all the way around the skip.
The outer edge of the skip is obviously made from a larger diameter cord than the main mesh area but in the case of this manufacturer they have gone one step further and used a reinforced selvedge cord, that is between five and seven millimetres in diameter, to add an extra degree of security. In practical terms what this means is that unless it gets damaged it should last for quite some time.
This net has been manufactured to last for quite some despite all the hardships it is likely to be put through during its working existence. Bearing in mind that these nets will be pulled down hard over unforgiving loads containing potentially abrasive edges the maker has done everything within their power to ensure these will last for more than one hard days work.
When it does, eventually, reach a stage where it can no longer safely retain the surface contents of a skip during transit then if there is enough of a surface area surviving intact, and enough ingenuity available, it could always be recycled into a hammock for those rare summer days when there is nothing better to do.Tags: closed mesh, nets, open mesh, skips
Working at height can be potentially dangerous. Falls resulting from working at heights accounts for almost half a million in Europe with 40,000 causing permanent disabilities and 1000 leading to deaths. It is, therefore, imperative to take the necessary safety precaution.
It should be noted that even a few inches drop can result in serious injury. Tasks requiring the use of scaffolding or ladders must be studied very carefully to eliminate the occurrence of possible risks.
The safety tips discussed here will help you to stay safe while working at heights.