You wouldn’t think twice about donning a hard hat, hi-vis jacket and safety boots to work on a building site, but accidents can also be prevented when you are working in your customers’ homes if you remember to use the correct personal protective equipment (PPE).
Starting from the head and finishing at the feet, think about your next job and what PPE you’ll need to stay safe.
Hard hats and bump caps. Hard hats are suitable when there is risk of falling objects, such as on a construction site. Bump caps are perfect when working in a customer’s home and will protect your head from painful bashes on low hanging shelves, pipework underneath sinks or beams in a loft.
Safety glasses. With appropriate safety glasses, you can avoid eye injuries caused by minor dust chips or flying particles when, for example, you are drilling the wall for the flue outlet. We also advise wearing safety glasses with all-round protection when working with chemicals such as inhibitors, to prevent hazardous substances from splashing back into your eyes.
Dust mask. A dust mask will protect you from inhaling dust and debris, when, for example, removing older heating appliances. Over time, all the dust you are exposed to could lead to bigger respiratory issues, so it’s worth investing in a reusable mask that will protect you time and time again.
Hi-vis jacket. A must for a building site, a hi-vis is also useful if you have to park on a busy road to make sure you are visible to motorists when you are loading or unloading your van.
Protective gloves. Protect your hands from cuts, scrapes, punctures, chemical erosion and heat burns with a good pair of safety gloves. Try a few different designs to find the right design and fit that won’t limit your finger movement. Safety gloves are rated based on the level of cut protection they offer too, with one being the lowest protection provided and five the highest. Nitrile gloves can also be worn over safety gloves to stop them getting wet or contaminated with chemicals and for heavy lifting jobs such as moving an appliance or heat exchanger, rigger gloves will provide more heavy-duty protection.
Knee pads and kneeling mats. If you are going to kneel a lot, these will help to cushion your joints and prevent future ligament damage, often caused by repetitive bending and muscle strain.
Safety shoes. These are an extremely important part of your PPE toolkit. Steel reinforced toe caps and puncture resistant soles prevent foot injuries from heavy falling objects and things like hidden nails. Remember to keep a stock of non-slip overshoe protection covers, so that you can still wear your shoes and protect your customers’ carpets at the same time.
Safety first. With the right PPE you are protected from the smallest of cuts and scrapes to even the most serious of life changing work-related injuries that could affect your future earnings. If you employ anyone, under the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992, you must also supply the correct PPE for your workers.
PPE only works if you are wearing it, so don’t cut corners or think that ‘it’ll never happen to me’ - your health and safety is really not work taking the risk!