PPE (Construction): What you need to know

OSHA’s construction standards for personal protective equipment (PPE) are, in some cases, more detailed than the general industry rules and, in other cases, less detailed, depending on the part of the body protected. The construction standard for respiratory protection (29 CFR 1926.103) is identical to the general industry standard. The construction industry electrical protective equipment (29 CFR 1926.97) is identical to the general industry Electrical Protective Devices standard.

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Other PPE standards such as high-visibility garments and fall protection (lifelines, safety belts, lanyards, and safety nets) appear only in the construction standard and do not have a corresponding general industry requirement.

PPE is a last line of defense to prevent trauma from exposure to potential and existing hazards on a construction site. As it is a final measure of protection rather than a preventive strategy, extra planning and implementation efforts should be put in place. The process should include:

  • An evaluation as to where PPE will be needed on a construction site
  • An analysis of the specific type of equipment needed in relation to the task to be performed
  • Selection and purchase of equipment that will provide the required and expected protection, will gain employee acceptance, and will be most economical
  • Fit testing as needed to match the employee
  • Maintenance of usable PPE to ensure a clean and serviceable condition
29 CFR 1926.95 to 1926.102

General criteria. Protective equipment, including PPE for eyes, face, head, and extremities, protective clothing, respiratory devices, and protective shields and barriers, must be provided, used, and maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition. All PPE must be ...

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