Construction workers and other skilled laborers are exposed to a wide range of workplace hazards every day. From falling debris and wet floors to electrocutions and exposure to toxic substances, these hazards can cause injuries ranging from relatively minor cuts and scrapes to traumatic brain injuries, amputations, and fatalities. One of the most important steps that employees can take to protect themselves at work is to wear the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) required for the task at hand.
PPE can be effective at protecting work–related accident victims from injury, illness, and even death. A few of the most common PPEs include:
Head Protection: Hard hats are a common sight at most construction sites and are used to protect workers from falling objects. Some even come equipped with face shields and earmuffs. Headwear should fit well, and not be too big or too small.
Eye and Face Protection: Safety goggles and face shields protect a worker’s eyes and face from debris and other hazards. Metal workers, wood workers, and employees who perform hot-work and air-tool operations should wear this safety equipment when they are on duty.
Respiratory Protection: Workers can be exposed to toxic substances like dust, fumes, pesticides, and other harmful substances. Masks and other respiratory protection devices can protect workers from developing serious health complications from this exposure.
Hand and Skin Protection: Construction workers use their hands for most of the work they do. Unfortunately, approximately 150,000 hand injuries are reported each year, including contact dermatitis, skin cancer, burns, cuts, and amputations. Rubber gloves, cut-resistant gloves, chainsaw gloves, and heat-resistant gloves are effective at preventing injuries when working with glass, chemicals, electricity, and hot materials.
Hearing Protection: Each year, approximately 22 million workers in the United States are exposed to potentially hazardous noise levels. The majority of occupational hearing loss occurs in the manufacturing sector. Earplugs are effective at reducing low-frequency noises. Earmuffs reduce exposure to high-frequency noise. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends that noise levels be reduced to 85 dBA for eight hours in order to prevent hearing loss caused by occupational noise.
PPE must be properly maintained and cleaned on a regular basis. The equipment must also fit well so that it provides the maximum protection against potential hazards. If the equipment is too big or too small, or is uncomfortable to wear, the employee is less likely to use it.
It is the employer’s responsibility to provide training on the protective equipment required for a specific job. Specifically, workers should be trained on when to use the equipment, the type of equipment necessary for the job, how to put it on and take it off, the proper maintenance and disposal, and any limitations the equipment might have. Employers should also monitor the effectiveness of the equipment and make any changes or improvements necessary to ensure a safe work environment for all employees.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Those Hurt Because of Defective Safety Equipment
If you or a loved one has been injured while on the job, you are urged to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. If your safety gear failed to protect you from injury, you may be eligible for compensation beyond what is available through Workers’ Compensation. Our experienced team will work to secure the maximum benefits you are entitled to based on your injury. To set up a free consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.