Construction and industry are core parts of today’s world. With their growth and development, both the necessity and awareness to carry out work in these industries safely have become essential. In turn, safety equipment, protocols, and procedures have been implemented worldwide, and even integrated into law.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) refers to wearable safety utilities that enable personnel to safely carry out their work. Lack of appropriate PPE during work directly exposes workers to dangerous and potentially fatal hazards. These negative effects extend beyond work personnel and reach their supervisors and employers, who have a responsibility to ensure the proper PPE is equipped by law. Failure to abide by these standards results in penalties from national safety regulatory bodies, most prominently: OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration).

Safety PPE – Case Study Examples:

Citation Type Issued: Serious Violation
Reason: Death of employee by asphyxiation.
Conditions: Lack of appropriate PPE for a fiber-optic cable lashing operation at height pushed the foreman to improvise with a climbing belt as a seat. He lost his grip on the travel wire, cinching the belt around his neck. (Jan 13th 2020)
Verdict: Penalty of $24,290 to Eustis Cable Enterprises Ltd. For failure to provide proper training and protective equipment for employees to work safely.
2. C.R.H. Roofing (Tallmadge, Ohio and Columbia Station, Ohio)
Citation Type Issued: 4 Willful Violations & 2 Repeat Violations
Reason: Consistent failure to issue fall protection for work done above 6 feet, eye protection equipment for work with pneumatic drills, and ladder misuse.
Conditions: At two worksites, workers were not provided proper PPE for work hazards. OSHA has proposed penalties amounting to $363,890. This is even after due warnings issued, twice in six days in June 2022. Three previous inspections (in 2019 and 2021) warranted penalties of $51,000, placing the company in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP).
Verdict: C.R.H. Roofing is due to pay over $414,000 in accrued penalties for violating regulations to provide protective equipment and failing to ensure site safety.

Accidents Caused by Absence/Improper PPE

It is the legal responsibility of all employers, from small-scale contractors to international corporations to provide their on-site staff with the necessary PPE to safely carry out their work. They must intelligently carry out site inspections to identify potential hazards from the work to be done and appropriately equip their personnel with PPE. Without proper PPE, the risk of accidents significantly rises, as in the case of:
  • Falls from heights
  • Burns from exposure to high temperatures or reactive chemicals and substances
  • Choking, asphyxiation, suffocation, and loss of consciousness from harmful gases and/or insufficient oxygen supply to the brain
  • Poisoning due to exposure to harmful substances –solids, liquids, and gases
  • Piercing, from pointed objects
  • Cutting and/or shredding from sharp-edged objects and surfaces
  • Fractured, broken, or shattered bones from falls, impacts with heavy objects, or falling loads
  • Permanent disability from loss of limbs
  • Permanent loss of senses, such as blindness, deafness

Among these accidents and several others that are often site-specific, the most severe result is death. Personnel should insist on safe working conditions and alert regulatory authorities if any established safety standards are not being met.

Costs of Absence/Improper PPE

It is often the case that PPE is not supplied because administrators are attempting to cut corners and minimize project costs. As observed in the case studies above, this can severely backfire and instead drastically set the company back, even into closure. Other costs that can be incurred include:
  • Company’s loss of reputation to both potential employees and clients.
  • Closure of the company for failure to comply with laws and regulations.
  • Expensive lawsuits and subsequent settlements (e.g. in hospital bills) to the injured and bereaved.
  • Delayed project delivery times from unwilling staff and inspection bodies with authority to halt work until standards are met
  • Low personnel morale arising from unsafe work conditions
  • Citations and penalties for non-compliance with regulations

Do PPE Training With Total Equipment Training Today!

Employers are not only responsible for providing PPE, but also the sufficient training on their proper use. PPE comes in a variety of types, specific to the work environment. Whether as an individual or for your team, do not risk avoidable workplace injury and seek out industry professionals who can deliver their skill and experience effectively; and you will find them at Total Equipment Training.
TET has a national network of skilled trainers and equipment inspectors utilizing qualitative skill enhancement programs while maintaining up-to-date compliance with OSHA directives. Contact Total Equipment Training today and appreciate the benefits of a safer, healthier, and more efficient work site.

Barb Fullman- CEO of Total Equipment Training
About the Author

As the owner of Total Equipment Training, Barb Fullman has been an active contributor to the heavy equipment training industry for over 23 years. Barb, a Penn State University graduate, is recognized as the highest ranking women-owned heavy equipment training business in the US. As a leading authority and provider of heavy equipment training, training manuals and tests based on OSHA Standards and Regulations, Total Equipment Trainings’ client list is composed of most of the Fortune 1000 companies focusing on energy, construction, heavy highway, and manufacturing.

Barb’s motto is “Stay safe, stay up to date”. She is committed to up-to-date & technically correct training, whether it is via in-person or through our library of online heavy equipment resources. With over 50 OSHA qualifying training topics to choose from with TET, the most popular heavy equipment training subjects are mobile cranes, NCCCO, all “dirt equipment”, rigging, crane inspections, and train-the-trainer.