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The importance of PPE for construction workers

It seems as if construction is always going on somewhere in New York City. Scaffoldings dot the landscape in nearly every borough at any given time. If you are among the thousands of construction workers spending their days at these and other sites, you know that your job comes with risks.

Falling from a height, injuries from falling equipment and the potential for electrocution are just some of the dangers you face on a daily basis while at work. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the state of New York and New York City all require your employer to take reasonable measures to protect your safety. Part of doing so involves providing you with the appropriate personal protective equipment you need to do your job.

What does OSHA say about PPE?

OSHA outlines that your employer must provide you with the following PPE in an effort to protect you from injuries:

  • Using jackhammers, chainsaws or heavy equipment can damage your hearing. You need earmuffs, earplugs or other hearing protection when you work in areas with a lot of noise.
  • If your job requires you to cut, weld, nail or grind anything, you need eye and possible face protection. If you work with certain chemicals such as concrete or in an environment where debris could fly around, protect your eyes and face. This may mean using safety glasses and possibly even face shields.
  • Hard hats are a requirement and standard issue at most construction sites, and with good reason. Protect your head from falling objects, from you falling and from other hazards that may cause a traumatic brain injury.
  • Your work boots or shoes need to have puncture and slip-resistant soles. Steel-toed footwear also protects your toes from crush injuries due to falling or heavy objects and equipment. 
  • Depending on the tasks you perform at a construction site, your gloves should reflect the work you do, such as welding or working with electrical wires, and fit properly.

If your employer does not require you to wear or provide you with the proper PPEs for the job you do, you have the right to ask for it. When an employer fails to provide the necessary PPEs, you may consider making a complaint. Your employer should never put you in the position of jeopardizing your safety by not following basic safety requirements.

What happens if you suffer a work-related injury?

Whether your employer provided the proper PPEs and other safety equipment or failed to do so, if you suffer an injury, you may apply for workers' compensation benefits. The medical care you need to recover from your injuries falls under this insurance program. You may also receive a portion of your income during your recovery and other benefits, depending on your situation.

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