We all know about PPE. But our industry is primarily outdoors, which means our employees are exposed to extreme heat and cold during summer and winter months. This can sometimes make wearing PPE difficult, but mainly in the summer, as most feel inclined to remove their PPE when it gets too hot, though OSHA requires it for protection against workplace hazards. “While engineered solutions and administrative work practices are effective to some degree, PPE is the last line of defense essential to shield workers from on-the-job safety hazards, so it is vital for employers to provide and ensure its proper use” (SafeStart). With summer, however, the PPE list gets just a little longer, and employers are encouraged to mandate them.
Remembering all the many PPE required by OSHA every day on the job site can seem daunting. So OSHA has partnered with the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) to help businesses and workers become more knowledgeable on the topic. On Monday the two organizations signed a two-year agreement that will provide members, employers, and workers alike with information about selecting the appropriate PPE.
ISEA in general is a non-profit organization for protective equipment and technology. Its main goal is to help employees work safely in hazardous environments, and now they’ve partnered with OSHA “to share information on agency campaigns, such as the National Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction, Heat Illness Prevention, and Safe + Sound Week” (EHS Today). The organization even donated PPE to workers and volunteers in Texas and Puerto Rico during cleanup after the hurricanes.
We all know the typical PPE required on the job site, such as safety glasses, hard hats, safety vests, etc. But what about those hot summer months?
Sun Protection PPE
Mandating the application of sunscreen could prove difficult for most foremen, who have a hundred different things to do on the job site every day. They consistently manage their workers and tend to their own duties, but to make sure everyone on their crew – at least 7-10 employees, if not more – is reapplying sunscreen all day is just not ideal.
Instead, it is suggested that discussions about sun safety and UV protection are held. This could be in the form of Toolbox Talks or safety meetings. “Ask anyone who has worked outdoors and has been diagnosed with a form of skin cancer and they’ll tell you they wished they had heeded the warnings about the dangers ahead of time so they could have been proactive in prevention” (SafeStart).
To avoid the harmful effects of the sun, make sure you have the following with you every day:
2. UV protective sunglasses
3. UV protective clothing
Also remember to follow the tips from yesterday’s post!
The Alliance Program between ISEA and OSHA will bring groups together who are committed to working more safely and healthily, and to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries, and illnesses. High-hazard industries – such as construction – are especially targeted by the program to provide better access to workplace safety and health tools and information.
On OSHA’s website it reads:
OSHA and ISEA hereby form an Alliance to provide ISEA members, and others with information, guidance, and access to training resources that will help them protect the health and safety of workers, particularly on the proper selection, use, maintenance, and storage of personal protective and other personal safety equipment; and to help them understand the rights of workers and the responsibilities of employers under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act).
You can read more about the program here.