For construction workers, personal protective equipment (PPE) is a crucial part of the safety protocol (or at least it should be) at every worksite. As you already know if you or a loved one is in construction, it’s not just a matter of having the right PPE. It needs to fit properly. If it doesn’t, it can be almost useless – and potentially dangerous.
For example, loose safety vests and gloves can get stuck in equipment or even slip off. Helmets that are too big certainly present a risk. Masks or goggles that are too loose can expose workers to dangerous chemicals and other hazards.
Some 10% of workers aren’t wearing PPE that fits them
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), about 10% of construction workers wear some type of PPE that isn’t the proper fit for them. That’s why it has proposed a new rule that requires employers to provide workers with PPE that fits them properly. The current rule only states that it needs to be “adequate.”
This change in the rule is especially important at a time when women are more likely to be on a construction site in some capacity than ever before. Further, all men in construction aren’t the same height, weight and build. Smaller men have often had to deal with PPE that’s too big for them. Very large men, on the other hand, may end up with gear that doesn’t cover them or that tears when they put it on. Either way, it’s not doing its job.
Safety gear is being made in a greater variety of sizes
Fortunately, manufacturers are increasing the size range for their products. As one person who works in safety at a construction firm notes about safety gear, “We are more likely to get people to use it and wear it when it’s made for their size.”
While the new rule hasn’t yet been finalized, workers have every right to ask for (and receive) PPE of all kinds that fits them correctly. It’s a matter of safety.
If you’ve become injured or ill due to poorly fitting PPE, remember that you have the right to seek workers’ compensation benefits so you can get the medical care you need and get some reimbursement for lost income if you need to take time off.
Over 90% of employees in Illinois are covered by workers’ comp. However, that doesn’t mean you might not face challenges. If you are, having legal guidance can help you get the benefits to which you’re entitled.