A worker wearing a yellow reflective vest and yellow Armateck safety gloves operates a forklift.
Trade Talk

The 10 types of PPE you need for the jobsite

Personal protective equipment, or PPE, helps prevent you and your crew from being injured on the jobsite. But with so many different types of PPE out there, and so many different parts of the body to protect, it can be easy to lose sight of what you need in the workplace. Discover the 10 types of PPE you need to reduce risk on the jobsite.

Types of PPE from head to toe

PPE for every part of your body can keep you safe on the job. Learn the 10 types of PPE for the jobsite to keep you covered from head to toe.

PPE hard hat and head protection

A PPE hard hat can protect not just against impacts but also against electrical shock and hazards.

The two types of hard hats are separated by protecting the head from falling objects that cause impacts to the top of the head (type 1) or to the sides of the head (type 2). Classes of hard hats are rated for the number of volts they can resist, and standards are set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Classes G and E resist electrical volts, and class C does not.

Welders use helmets that cover the entire head with face shields, and some have adjustable filter settings for experienced welders.

Hearing protection PPE

Hearing protection can range from ear plugs, disposable or reusable, to full wrap-around ear muffs. Whichever you choose should have a noise reduction rating, or NRR, which indicates how effective the product is at reducing decibels.

OSHA discusses occupational noise exposure on construction jobsites and requires hearing protection PPE beyond certain decibels and duration in hours each day.

For hearing protection PPE, an NRR of 30 or above is the best available, which can be found in foam ear plugs and ear muffs. There are also canal caps, which don’t offer as much protection on the jobsite. Custom molded ear plugs can provide the most protection, but these must be produced by a licensed hearing protection provider.

PPE goggles and eye protection

OSHA standards require eye and face protection on jobs where chemicals, irritants and other hazards pose a threat to the eyes. Plumbing and HVAC contractors, electricians and builders can require goggles sometimes.

There are many different types of eye protection and materials, including plastic, rubber, elastic and silicone. Safety glasses can be simple lenses that cover the eyes and temples with a head strap or safety goggles that cover the entire face. There are also spectacles with eye shields. Lenses come with various tints and shading for bright lights and sparks.

Respiratory PPE and breathing protection

Many jobs require respiratory PPE of some kind, from painting and insulation to plumbing, HVAC and construction. Breathing protection can range from simple face masks for dust all the way to full-face respirators that supply the atmosphere in oxygen-limited environments. Rated to filter 95% of particulates, the N95 typically meets OSHA requirements.

Respiratory protection can block particulates, gas and vapor, or a combination of both. They can be fit tested or loose fitting.

PPE hi-vis vest and apparel

High-visibility vests come in a range of colors, and apparel includes shirts, jackets, pants, gloves and accessories, such as a simple reflective belt. Colors are typically yellow and/or orange, with reflective silver stripes, but you can also find blue, pink, green and more.

In construction especially, PPE hi-vis vests and apparel help make sure heavy equipment operators don’t miss seeing workers on the jobsite.

PPE gloves and hand protection

The type of PPE gloves you’ll need depends not just on the jobsite but on the particular work you’re doing. To protect from sharp objects, choose the proper cut-resistance rating, from A1 to A9, from the American National Standards Institute, or ANSI.

For handling rough materials, a simple A1 cut-resistant glove would work, but for heavy-duty construction or metal stamping, you may want A9, which provides more than 6,000 grams of cutting force resistance.

In addition to cut resistance, you can protect your hands with dipped PPE gloves including leather, fiberglass, polyurethane, nitrile and more, to allow skin to breathe while helping you grip better, critical for construction, plumbing and HVAC projects.

For protecting against germs or cleaning chemicals, you can choose disposable and powder-free gloves.

PPE knee pads

Protect your knees for the long haul with knee pads that can spread the weight of your body over a larger area. PPE knee pads come in plastic, rubber, foam, elastic, gel, leather and metal, or you can choose slider or knee boards in stainless steel or other materials.

Plumbers and HVAC contractors may instead choose kneeling mats and pads, made of leather, foam or other materials.

PPE shoes

Safety shoes are imperative on the jobsite, as well as selecting the right shoes for the job.

For construction jobsites, OSHA standards require workers to wear PPE shoes that protect from slipping, punctures, electrical hazards, and falling or rolling objects. Welders and construction workers often choose sturdy steel-toed boots that can stand up to the job.

For other jobs like stamped concrete or overlays, spiked shoes are the best choice. Facilities workers might want stripping shoes to prevent them from slipping when stripping floors. Visitors to a jobsite can wear safety shoes with a steel toe over their regular shoes.

PPE protective clothing and shoe protection

To further protect from heat or other hazards, welders can wear protective leather leggings or coveralls. Workers may also need to wear shin and leg guards to protect from impacts and absorb shock, and hand and arm protection is available as well.

To add on to PPE shoes, there are foot and toe guards to further protect both sides of the foot and toes. Coveralls and body shields provide further personal protection from hazards on the jobsite.

PPE rain gear

Most PPE rain gear will also be reflective and highly visible in addition to waterproof and breathable. Choose from raincoats, simple rain bibs, or complete three-piece rainsuits to stay as dry as possible on the jobsite.

Find all types of PPE with Ferguson

Ferguson offers a wide range of PPE for every job so you can stay safe in the workplace. Learn more about PPE and keeping you and your crew safe on the jobsite at Safety Matters.