There may be good reason if you’re worried about your laborers staying safe and compliant on a job site. Workplace injuries and illnesses are a pervasive threat for both employers and their crews. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were approximately 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in 2015.
And the responsibility often falls to the employer to address the safety issues and protective gear needs of its laborers. The Laborer’s Health & Safety Fund of North America reports that employers are required, whenever possible, to reduce or eliminate exposure to hazards through engineering or administrative controls before resorting to personal protection. Make sure you’re keeping your crew safe by working through a safety checklist for laborers. Here’s what to look out for:
Eye injuries are a threat for workers in various industries with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting over 25,000 total private, state and local government. Safety glasses and shields are key to eyewear safety, but the type of equipment you choose also matters. For example, the United States Department of Labor reports that eye injuries caused by direct contact with chemicals are often a result of inappropriate protective equipment. Laborers who work around harmful chemicals and sprays should always use fitted goggles to protect from hazards and have access to an eyewash station.
Heavy Duty Gloves and Clothing
What you wear while working on a labor site is just as important as protective eyewear or hardhats. Hardcore laborers need durable gloves and the right type of heavy duty clothing built for protection. A retailer like Cabela’s offers options for workers, as well as corporate partnerships with companies looking to outfit their crews. However, in some cases you may need a protective Tyvek suit with built-in high-density polyethylene fibers.
If your workplace environment produces harmful contaminants like smoke and gas, your team needs respirators to stay healthy. Failing to provide proper respirators to employees can cause cancer, lung impairment and other diseases. And in some cases, you may be legally required to provide appropriate respiratory protection.
Your workers are entitled to ear protection to save their hearing from noise pollution. Consider the sheer volume of chainsaws, jackhammers and other tools that can damage your crew’s hearing. The Trekker Group suggests pre-molded or formidable earplugs are usually best, but acoustic foam-lined ear muffs with a tight seal also work well.
Slipping and falling are commonplace on work sites, but can be largely prevented by wearing the appropriate protective footwear. Footwear should be both durable, or perhaps steel toed on hazardous construction sites, as well as designed to prevent slippage. Strong laces and the right fit are also imperative to footwear safety.
If your workplace is hazardous with falling objects, nails, slippery surfaces or corrosive chemicals, you may need to provide leggings or shin guards to help protect your team. Welders may be especially prone to dealing with molten metal sparking their clothes. The appropriate leggings can help prevent serious injury and keep your team safe.
In the short-term, the sheer volume of safety equipment laborers need can feel overwhelming, but in the long-run staying compliant and safe on the job site prevents serious injury or even death. With key pieces of safety equipment and protective wear, your crew can stay safe and productive and reduce sick time or disability.
Author Information: Susan Finch is a freelance writer living in Atlanta, and loves helping businesses improve their bottom line with compelling copy that sparks action. When she’s not writing, she’s traveling with her family and plotting her next creative pursuit.