Construction Workers: How to dress appropriately for work

In no other industry is a worker’s attire as important as it is in the construction industry. Construction worker’s dress directly affects and impacts on their health and safety which is why it is so important.

Workers should take into consideration the weather, the state of the site and the hazards it presents as well as their specific work tasks when considering what to wear.

In hot weather workers should wear loose fitting, flowing clothing and sunblock to protect themselves from the sun and in winter they need to dress for protection from the cold, as well as other adverse conditions such as rain, snow or sleet. These weather conditions bring their own hazards which need to be managed accordingly.

Additionally workers need to wear the appropriate PPE as advised by the site’s controllers including:

Head Protection

A worker’s head is extremely vulnerable on a construction site because the risk of falling and bumping your head or being hit with a falling object is great and can result in injury and death. Workers should wear hard hats where there is potential for objects falling from above, bumps to their heads from fixed objects, or of accidental head contact with electrical hazards.

Hard hats should routinely inspected for dents, cracks or deterioration and should be kept in good condition and replaced when necessary, free of charge by the employer.  Hard hats should be replaced after a heavy blow or electrical shock.  Hard hats should be maintained in good condition.

Eye and Face Protection

Safety glasses or face shields should be worn anytime work operations can cause foreign objects getting into the eye such as during welding, cutting, grinding, nailing (or when working with concrete and/or harmful chemicals or when exposed to flying particles). Eye and face protectors should be selected based on the hazards that have been identified and assessed. Safety glasses or face shields are worn when exposed to any electrical hazards including work on energized electrical systems.

Foot Protection

Construction workers should wear work shoes or boots with slip-resistant and puncture-resistant soles because the risk of slips, trips and falls is great and the injury even more severe. Safety-toed footwear is worn to prevent crushed toes when working around heavy equipment or falling objects.

Hand Protection

If workers are expected to wear safety gloves, they should fit snugly. Workers wear the right gloves for the job. For example, heavy-duty rubber gloves for concrete work, welding gloves for welding, insulated gloves and sleeves when exposed to electrical hazards. Your training will provide the information needed in determining the PPE necessary.

Not only must PPE be provided by employers, but training and instruction on the correct use must also be provided. Workers have the responsibility of ensuring they utilise, correctly the PPE that is provided to them, for their own safety.

Using personal protective equipment requires hazard awareness and training on the part of the user. It should be remembered that PPE cannot stop an incident from occurring, but is the last line of defence and can minimize the injuries sustained by workers during incidents.