OSHA Seeks Stronger Regulations for Construction Safety Gear
New Proposed OSHA Regulations for Safety Gear
OSHA announced new proposed regulations to update the current Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) standards, clarifying the definition of appropriate safety gear. The action includes a proposal to explicitly require companies to ensure workers’ safety gear fits properly and to avoid using community PPE or ‘one-size-fits-all’ products.
Previously, manufacturers designed PPE in a standard size appropriate for the average-sized male. The new regulations would ensure that employers consider the various shapes and sizes of workers in construction, including women and workers of small stature, who are often at the highest risk when using improperly fitting gear.
Find out more about the OSHA PPE proposal click here.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is essential in construction to reduce workplace accidents and injuries. However, these benefits only apply if the safety equipment fits correctly and is free from damage.
Workers who wear ill-fitted or poor-quality PPE can put themselves at a greater risk of severe or even fatal injuries. In light of this, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) proposes new regulations requiring employers to ensure all workers are equipped with adequate and safe-fitting PPE.
First, let’s take a look at what PPE entails and how the new standards could significantly change the industry.
What is PPE?
PPE includes any type of protective equipment that workers wear on their bodies to protect them from worksite hazards. Examples of common types of PPE include:
* Hard hats/safety helmets
* Masks and Respirators
* Hearing protection
* Eye protection (glasses and goggles)
* Steel-toe boots
Each safety product is made specifically to protect a part of the body from elevated levels of harm often found in the construction industry: loud noises, toxic chemicals, sharp and heavy machinery, etc. Some products are worn across the industry, while others are specific to each trade.
Dangerous or Poor Quality/Poor Fitting PPE
It’s crucial that PPE provided to construction workers be of good quality, fit each worker properly, and be free of damage and defects. Unfortunately, many employers reuse and share PPE, despite its poor quality and fit. These types of equipment can cause more injuries than they prevent, leaving workers at a higher risk of trips, slips and falls, limited mobility, poor vision, or pain from discomfort. In fact, studies by the National Library of Medicine report that discomfort is the main reason why workers neglect to wear PPE, reporting they would prefer no safety gear than gear that impedes their ability to work. Equipment that is too large can slip, fall off, become caught in machinery, and overall limit a worker’s ability to move about safely. PPE that is too small causes pinching, lacerations, and circulation issues that affect performance.
Pazer, Epstein, Jaffe & Fein NYC Construction Accident Attorneys
At the law firm of Pazer, Epstein, Jaffe & Fein, we have been fighting for New York City workers and victims of construction accidents for over 60 years. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured on a construction worksite, contact one of our attorneys for a free consultation through our online form or call 212-227-1212.