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Whether you are a professional contractor working on site, or doing some DIY at home, it is equally important to take into account health and safety before using any tools or beginning any work.
It is vital that you ensure that you are fully prepared before beginning using any tools. This includes making sure that you are fully aware of how to operate the equipment, how to use it safely, and that you are wearing suitable clothing and ‘Personal Protection Equipment’ (PPE). PPE is designed to protect vital parts of the body whilst using equipment and carrying out work. It includes the following:
Eye protection – such as safety glasses or safety goggles.
They should cover the whole of the eye socket, down onto the cheekbone and above they eye to include the eyebrow.
Head protection – such as a hard hat and face protection mask.
They should effectively block dangerous amounts of noise penetrating your ears and damaging your ear drums.
Ear protection – such as ear defenders or ear plugs.
This should sit as a dome that fits on to and around your head, covering the top of your head down to your lower forehead and round to sit in between the parietal and occipital parts of your skull.
Breathing protection – such as dust protection masks.
They should cover your nasal and oral airways to prevent the inhalation of harmful dust particles.
Foot protection – such as steel toe capped boots.
You should wear suitable shoes for the job at hand. This may mean steel toe capped boots if you are using powerful machinery and tools such as circular saws. Your shoes should ensure proper grip, stable footing and overall protection of the whole foot, including the delicate areas around the ankle.
We have Personal Protection Packs available that include safety goggles, safety gloves, dust mask and ear plugs. We can also supply other PPE such as safety glasses, ear defenders and super grip work gloves. You can add these to your order during online checkout or call our hire team to order them over the phone.
Before beginning any work you should carry out a risk assessment. There is a simple 5-step process you can follow to make a risk assessment:
1. Identify the potential hazards involved in the work.
2. Decide who might be harmed during the work, and how.
3. Work out the probability of the hazard and what the consequences would be. From this, you can work on implementing the appropriate controls and safety precautions.
4. Write down the risks and appropriate preventative actions, and implement them effectively.
5. Review the risks and actions regularly to ensure that your precautions remain effective.
Working at a height presents obvious risks, and increases the likelihood of injury – sometimes even fatalities. Whilst figures are improving thanks to an increased awareness of the risks, it is still vitally important to take extra care whilst working at a height. You must only use appropriate safe access equipment, and wear appropriate PPE. The use of safer alternatives to ladders, such as scaffold towers and access platforms, fall-arrest harnesses and ladder stabilising feet, increases safety on site. For more advice on working safely at a height, read our blog.
Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) can affect anyone who is exposed to any working machinery that vibrates. The most commonly known form is called vibration white finger, but other forms can damage blood vessels in the fingers, reducing the supply of blood. It can also damage nerves, leading to a loss of feeling in the fingers and hands, reducing the sufferer's ability to grip and causing severe pain. Symptoms include tingling in the fingers, numbness and an inability to grip.
You can help to reduce the risks involved by using specially designed low-vibration equipment, wearing protective clothing such as heavy duty work gloves, and taking regular breaks from work. For more advice on Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome, read our blog.
Many pieces of equipment that you use on site, from saws and drills to breakers and grinders, can produce a lot of noise. Exposure to loud noises can damage your hearing. As a general rule, if you need to raise your voice so someone can hear you 2m away, or if you’re exposed to noisy tools or machinery for more than 30 mins each day, you will need to take extra care to avoid damage to your hearing. It is vital that you wear ear protection, such as ear plugs or ear defenders, whilst using, or if you are in the vicinity of anyone using, any loud machinery or tools. If is also important to take breaks from exposure to the loud noises.
Many processes on site, including drilling, breaking, sawing, sanding and grinding, can result in a lot of dust being produced. Inhaling dust can cause serious health issues, including respiratory problems such as asthma, silicosis and even cancer. It is much easier to prevent dust from becoming airborne, than to try to control it once it is already in the air. With this in mind, we offer a wide range of products with integrated dust collection systems, which enable you to work safely with a much reduced risk of inhaling dust particles. We also have separate dust extraction systems, dust suppression systems and vacuums available for hire which help to prevent dust from becoming airborne and posing a risk to your health. Simply enquire online or over the phone to find out more. It is important that, even when using a dust extraction system or dust supression system, you still wear a dust protection mask to further reduce the risk of inhaling any dust that the system fails to supress.
For more information on Health & Safety and the latest regulations, you can view the HSE website.