Accidents on construction sites are usually a result of someone not paying attention or knowing how to recognize a safety hazard. Construction companies who focus on developing an attitude of safety in their workforce have about 1/5 as many on-the job accidents or injuries.
Some general rules of safety include:
- Learn the safe way to do your job.
- Don’t jump from one elevation to another.
- Don’t work under suspended loads.
- Remove protruding nails or bend them over.
- Keep the work area clear of debris.
- Use the personal protective equipment required for the job.
- Treat all electrical wires as being live.
- Use the right tool for the right job.
- Be sure all tools are in good shape.
- Keep scaffolds free of excess weight.
Four Hazard Avoidance Rules
- Know the safe way to work, and then follow the safe way all the time.
- Maintain safe working conditions – for yourself and others around you.
- Work safely, setting the example, and encourage others to do so.
- Report all accidents and near misses to your employer.
Help expand the list above by posting a way you incorporate safety into your work routine!
We've all experienced it at some point. Fatigue sets in; your mouth feels dry; your legs are heavy and you may even have a headache. These are all common signs of dehydration.
When you are working hard, body fluid is lost through sweat. If that fluid is not replaced, dehydration and early fatigue are unavoidable. Losing even 2% of body fluids (less than 3.5 pounds in a 180-pound person) can impair performance by increasing fatigue and affecting cognitive skills. During the summer heat it is easy to become dehydrated if you don't drink enough fluids to replace what is lost in sweat. But it is equally important to understand that dehydration happens during the winter as well.
- When to drink: Ensure you drink before you start working, trying to catch-up for lost fluids after a period of time is very difficult. Also, drink before you get thirsty. By the time you're thirsty you are already dehydrated, so it's important to drink at regular intervals – especially when it is hot outside.
- What to drink: Water is truly one of the best things to drink. Research also shows that a lightly flavored beverage with a small amount of sodium encourages people to drink enough to stay hydrated. The combination of flavor and electrolytes in a sports drink like Gatorade provides one of the best choices to help you stay properly hydrated.
- What to avoid: During activity, avoid drinks with high sugar content such as soda and even fruit juices. These are slow to absorb into the body. Also alcohol and caffeinated beverages should be avoided.
Many people ask how much to drink and that depends on your activity level and how much your body is losing fluids. In general, when you are working and sweating, you should drink at least every half-hour.
The construction of guardrail systems as well as their use shall comply with the following provisions:
Ladders are such common everyday tools that many workers take them for granted. Ladder injuries can easily be avoided by remembering there is a right way and a wrong way to use a ladder.
In areas where guardrail systems are in place, but need to be removed to allow overhand bricklaying work or leading edge work to take place, only that portion of the guardrail necessary to accomplish that day's work shall be removed and all employees shall be protected by the use of a Personal Fall Arrest System.
- Top edge height of top rails, or equivalent guardrail system members, shall be 42 inches plus or minus 3 inches above the walking/working level and be able to resist a 200lb. force. Note: When employees are using stilts, the top edge height of the top rail, or equivalent member, shall be increased an amount equal to the height of the stilts.
- Midrails shall be installed midway between the top edge of the guardrail system and the walking/working level.
- Screens and mesh, when used, shall extend from the top rail to the walking/working level and along the entire opening between top rail supports.
- Intermediate members (such as balusters), when used between posts, shall be not more than 19 inches apart.
- Other structural members (such as architectural panels or interior framing) shall be installed such that there are no openings in the guardrail system that are more than 19 inches wide.
- Manila, plastic or synthetic rope being used for top rails or midrails shall be inspected as frequently as necessary to ensure that it continues to meet the strength of this section.
- Guardrail systems must be surfaced as to prevent injury to an employee from punctures or lacerations, and to prevent snagging of clothing.
- The ends of all top rails and midrails shall not overhang the terminal posts.
- Steel banding and plastic banding shall not be used as top rails or midrails.
- If wire rope is used:
- Top rails and midrails shall be at least one-quarter inch nominal diameter thickness to prevent cuts and lacerations.
- It shall be flagged at not more than 6-foot intervals with high-visibility material.
- When guardrail systems are used at hoisting areas, a chain, gate or removable guardrail section shall be placed across the access opening between guardrail sections when hoisting operations are not taking place.
- When guardrail systems are used around holes used for the passage of materials, the hole shall have not more than two sides provided with removable guardrail sections to allow the passage of materials. When the hole is not in use, it shall be closed over with a cover, or a guardrail system shall be provided along all unprotected sides or edges.
- When guardrail systems are used around holes which are used as points of access (such as ladder ways), they shall be provided with a gate, or be so offset that a person cannot walk directly into the hole.
- Guardrail systems used on ramps and runways shall be erected along each unprotected side or edge.
6 Tips to Use a Ladder Safely
- Properly set-up and use the ladder in accordance with safety instructions and warnings. Wear shoes with non-slip soles.
DON'T stand above the second step from the top of a stepladder or the fourth rung from the top of an extension ladder.
- Center body on the ladder and keep belt buckle between the rails while maintaining a firm grip.
DON'T climb a closed stepladder.
DON'T climb on the back of a stepladder.
DON'T stand or sit on a stepladder top or pail shelf.
- Climb facing the ladder, move one step at a time and firmly set one foot before moving the other.
DON'T climb a ladder if you are not physically and mentally up to the task.
- Haul materials with a line rather than carry them up an extension ladder. Use extra caution when carrying anything on a ladder.
DON'T place the base of an extension ladder too close to or too far away from the building.
- Have another person help with a heavy ladder. Have another person hold the ladder while you are working on it.
DON'T over-reach, lean to one side or try to move a ladder while on it. Climb down and then re-position the ladder closer to your work.
- Move materials with extreme caution so as not to lose balance or tip the ladder
DON'T exceed the maximum load capacity or duty rating of a ladder.
DON’T permit more than one person on a single-sided stepladder or an extension ladder.
Show your team the importance of safety meetings by following the suggested agenda below:
DOCUMENT ON TOP AND/OR BOTTOM OF SIGN-IN SHEET:
- Project name
- Project number
- Project Superintendent conducting meeting
Distribute a sign-in sheet and require attendees sign in for attendance records.
- Scheduled Tool Box Talk
- Any safety items identified from superintendent twice a week safety audits
- Any safety items identified during and Project Safety Review’s (PSR’s) conducted since last meeting
CONSIDER A WEEKLY SAFETY RAFFLE
- Project qualifies if there have been no OSHA recordable accidents, near miss incidents, or serious safety issues documented on the PSR since last safety meeting
- Winner of raffle to receive $25.00 or other items that may be donated by suppliers and/or contractors
- Ensure winner signs receipt book
COMPLETE PROJECT SAFETY MEETING
- Collect Sign-in Sheets and store on-site as appropriate
- Scan and email one copy of the Tool Box Talk, along with the agenda, and all sign-in sheets to designated person (i.e., Safety Administrative Assistant with the subject line referencing: project name, Tool Box Talk Topic, and date performed.
When it comes to Personal Protective Equipment, one type does NOT fit all tasks.
EYE AND FACE PROTECTION: ANSI Z87.1 REQUIREMENT
- Eye protection must be worn at all times while on the project site.
- Face shield must be worn any time there are flying particles that could strike the face
- Eye protection must be worn under the face-shields.
- Employees involved in welding or cutting operations MUST wear eye protection and at least the proper
- shade number as indicated in the table below.
- Head protective equipment (HARD HATS) shall be worn at all times while on the project.
- Helmets for protection against impact and penetration of falling and flying objects shall meet the requirements of ANSI Z89.1-1969.
CLASS 1 GARMENTS (MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS FOR ALL DONLEY’S PROJECTS)
- Intended for use in activities that permit the wearer's full and undivided attention to approaching traffic.
- There should be ample separation of the worker from traffic, which should be traveling no faster than 25 mph.
- Vests, shirts, coats shall have the required reflective stripes.
CLASS 2 GARMENTS
- Recommended for workers who perform tasks that divert their attention from approaching traffic, or that put them in close proximity to passing vehicles traveling at 25 mph to 50 mph.
CLASS 3 GARMENTS
- Recommended for roadway construction personnel and flaggers, utility workers, survey crews and emergency response personnel or anyone working in a close proximity to a passing vehicle traveling at 50 mph or higher.
Safety is more than just following your company’s guidelines or what OSHA says while you work. Safety is actually a combination of a safe attitude, behavior, and control on and off the job. Attitude means your frame of mind and the way in which you approach a given situation. Behavior means what you do about it and how you react to a situation. Control refers to making your surroundings, where and what you do, safe. Safe attitude, behavior, and control add up to a safer more productive you.
When it comes to safety, attitude isn’t exactly everything, but it’s darn close. A safe attitude means staying alert and focused on the task at hand, taking safety guidelines and practices seriously, never horsing around on the job, and not letting emotions like anger and frustration get in the way of job performance.
How you react to a situation is an important part of being safe. Following established safety guidelines and procedures, refusing to take shortcuts, using personal protective equipment, asking questions when you need more information are all safe behaviors. Safe behavior also means helping friends, coworkers, and family members understand the importance of safe practices at work, home, or play.
Control means taking responsibility for a safe place. You can help keep your surroundings safe from potential hazards by keeping them clean and orderly. Keep machines in good repair, clean up spills and debris (or report them to the appropriate person), and make sure that walkways are free from obstacles. Store chemicals properly (both at home and on the job) and never switch containers. At work, be sure to report faulty equipment ventilation, or any potential hazards to your supervisor.
ABC’S – EASY AS 1-2-3
Attitude, behavior, and control are the three most important (and perhaps the simplest) aspects of personal safety both on and off the job. Take a moment to review your safety ABC’s to see if you’re doing all you can to protect yourself, your coworkers, and your loves ones from careless, needless, injury.
Need a last minute gift idea for family or friends? Nothing could be more special than to say happy holidays by giving a gift of safety that just might save their life.
- Smoke detectors and batteries.
- A quality fire extinguisher.
- A flashlight and batteries or light sticks.
- A first-aid kit, for home or car.
- An automobile safety kit including jumper cables, flares, fix-a-flat, reflectors.
- A carbon monoxide detector.
- A mobile phone.
- A second floor escape ladder.
- An "Emergency kit"- energy bars, water, battery radio, flashlight/light sticks and a first-aid kit packed in a small travel bag.
- A kinetic flashlight that doesn’t need batteries.
- A weather alert radio.
- A radio that runs by cranking rather than batteries.
- A talking smoke detector if they have small children.
- A bicycle helmet.
- A GFCI extension cord.
Many of these items we don't think about until we NEED them or it's too late. Consider giving the gift of safety this holiday season.
Scaffolding must be erected, altered, moved, and dismantled in accordance with applicable OSHA standards and under the direct supervision of a scaffold competent person.
Scaffold components cannot be mixed if they are from different manufacturers unless they fit together without force. Unless the competent person has approved, scaffold components cannot be used if:
- They are from different manufacturers; or
- Of dissimilar metals.
Each employee who performs work on a scaffold shall be trained by a person qualified to recognize the hazards associated with the type of scaffold used and to understand the procedures to control or minimize those hazards. The training shall include such topics as the nature of any electrical hazards, fall hazards, falling object hazards, the maintenance and disassembly of the fall protection systems, the use of the scaffold, handling of materials, the capacity and the maximum intended load.
Supported scaffold poles, legs, posts, frames, and uprights shall bear on base plates and mud sills (or other adequate firm foundation). The size of the mud sill shall be based on the type of soil the scaffold will be erected upon.
Minimum Mud Sill Size Scaffolds
- 4 levels or less in height - 2" x 10" pad, 18" long
- Scaffolds > 4 levels on Type A Soil - 2" x 10" pad, 18" long
- Scaffolds > 4 levels on Type B Soil - 2" x 18" x 18" pad
- Scaffolds > 4 levels on Type C Soil - 2" x 36" x 36" pad
- Base Plates MUST be nailed to the mud sills on at least 2 opposite corners to prevent slippage.
- Unstable objects, such as bricks, cinder blocks, buckets, scrap lumber, etc., shall not be used to support or level scaffolds.
- Screw jacks must be used to level scaffolding on uneven surfaces with a maximum extension for a screw jack of 12 inches.
- Supported scaffold poles, legs, posts, frames, and uprights shall be plumb (i.e. perfectly vertical) and braced to prevent swaying and displacement.
- Cross-bracing is required on both front and back sides of each scaffold buck or frame.
- To check a scaffold for being plumb, use a level on two opposite uprights.
- To make sure the scaffold is level, use a level on a horizontal support or bearer.
- To ensure the scaffold is "square", use a tape measure and measure the distance between opposite corners. The two measurements should be equal.