Health and safety regulations were formally introduced in the UK as recently as 1974, with the Health and Safety At Work Act 1974. The act formalised a number of safety standards which have become second nature today – though it would not be until 1992 that one of the more impactful additions to health and safety regulation came into play.
In 1992, new legislation was introduced surrounding the provision and usage of PPE, or personal protective equipment, in working environments. This was particularly important for the construction industry, where physical hazards are rife.
Whether you are a new construction firm looking to stock up on PPE, or a tradesperson new to freelancing, you might be looking for a refresher on what exactly you might need going forwards. High-quality tools and equipment are naturally a given, whether the best available electrician’s tools for domestic wiring work or heavy-duty machinery for larger-scale demolition and construction – but what about safety? What follow are the most important items of safety equipment you can procure, both for legal compliance and personal safety.
Head and Facewear
Construction sites and hard hats have become synonymous with one another, and for very good reason. Hard hats are highly effective at reducing the risk of serious injury associated with falling objects or other potential routes to head trauma. Hard hats are not the only form of PPE for the head and face, though; eyewear in the form of safety goggles protects the eyes from flying dust or debris, while facemasks protect the respiratory system from dangerous particles or fumes.
Clothing forms a crucial part of trade work health and safety, for numerous reasons. Hi-vis workwear ensures that individuals remain visible in low-light conditions, whether foggy weather or unsociable hours. This can make buddying up on-site easier, and can also mitigate risk of injury from others driving vehicles or moving equipment.
Boiler suits provide both practical utility and body protection, with flame-retardant qualities and multiple pockets for tools. Meanwhile, insulative clothing in the form of gloves and padded jackets can keep tradesfolk warm while working in inclement weather.
Finally, we come to footwear. Not all footwear items are built alike, and different tradespeople will find different iterations of the work boot or shoe confer different benefits. For example, bricklayers may find steel toe-capped boots useful for limiting the likelihood of crushing their toes with dropped or falling bricks. Electricians, meanwhile, would want to steer clear of steel due to its conductivity – preferring instead a safe, non-conductive rubber work shoe.