Trade insight: safety gear essentials

Whether you’re a one-man-band working in the trade or the owner of a building company, taking a relaxed approach to safety isn’t an option in a modern working environment.

When working on site, checking that you or your team are dressed in all the right gear isn’t always the first thing that springs to mind. However, the facts around the building trade make for alarming reading: according to the Health and Safety Executive, construction is the most dangerous industry to work in, with more fatalities and injuries than any other.

The guidelines around Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at work have changed over the years, with the onus now falling on employers to protect employees from risk of injury by providing the right clothing and equipment.

Consider the hazards in advance of a project, and mitigate the risks by selecting adequate protection that’s suitable for the job. PPE products should have a CE mark to indicate quality and compliance. The good news is the essentials aren’t expensive to buy.

Our pick of the top five PPE and workwear items for your kit:

1. Gloves

Look out for a robust pair, preferably with an insulated lining for cold temperature handling or outdoor winter wear. A long cuff will protect your wrists, and a latex coating will offer good grip which is ideal when handling goods. A quality glove will be abrasion and tear resistant. The Cut Resist Glove is made of Kevlar and glass fibre for the ultimate protection.

2. Safety glasses

This simple piece of equipment really is essential in most environments where material is being cut and particles are being dispersed into the air, whether at work or even strimming the garden at home.

Never use a power tool without investing in an appropriate pair of glasses.

Most safety shields fit over prescription glasses, however if working with tools that produce large amounts of dust full goggles are more suitable as they offer side protection and fit close to the face. We stock Economy Spectacles from just £2.80.

3. Kneepads

Often overlooked, kneepads definitely deserve a place on our list of top safety items. Everyone in the trade does a lot of kneeling down and over time this can obliterate your knees. Kneepads can be worn over the top or slipped into trousers. Ox Ripstop Trousers are available in two colours and various sizes, and include reinforced built-in kneepads for extra cushioning.

4. Ear protection

Do you work with power tools on a daily basis? Equipment such as woodcutting routers emit dangerously high levels of noise. According to the Center for Disease Control, every year around 22 million workers come in contact with noise loud enough to damage their hearing. Operating an electric drill for less than a minute without protection can cause permanent damage. Measures to protect against this are very simple and include using earplugs or ear muffs.

5. Steel toe cap boots

If you turn up to site without protective footwear you run the risk of getting asked to leave. Steel toe caps are a must-have for very obvious reasons. If you’re an apprentice it might be worth investing in your own pair so you can select the best fit. In store, prices range from £43.38, to £92.84 for the DeWalt Challenger 3 Safety Boot which features an antibacterial TPU sole resistant to 120-degrees Celsius, and a waterproof lining.

From first aid kits to high visibility vests, we’ve got everything you need to protect yourself or your staff here at Fixings & Powertool Center. If you’re unsure what to select we’re happy to offer expert advice to keep you safe.