Whether you’re preparing for a heavy construction job or a home yard project, one of the most important tasks you have in front of you is making sure that the work environment is safe. This includes the work site itself, the surrounding area and your workers. Even with safety precautions fully in place, people can still get injured, but dangerous work zone conditions, putting the public at risk and injuries are less likely if you follow these seven best practices.
- Walk through your work site to identify any situations that could be considered unsafe, writing down the details and potential solutions. Bring this list with you to your rental supply company – the folks there should be able to help you alleviate workplace hazards.
- Identify any potentially hazardous chemicals or materials at the work site. Label and store these materials in proper containers, placing them in a safe location. Include a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) and post handling precautions close by.
- Inspect all tools and equipment, including those that are rented, making sure they are working properly. Do not operate any faulty machinery until repairs are made.
- Train all personnel, not only in operating procedures, but work site safety. Include proper lifting techniques, specific tool operation, how to get on and off machinery, where to get rid of rubbish or demo materials, etc.
- Every worker needs to be using personal protective equipment such as hard hats, safety goggles, work boots and gloves, earplugs, face masks and other forms of protection. Workers should use harnesses and other safety equipment for roof work or working on scaffolds.
- Prepare for emergencies. All site workers should know what to do in case of injuries, electrical, mechanical or power failures and potentially dangerous weather.
- Protect the public during working hours from the rigors of heavy construction or worksite dangers with barricades such as construction signs, construction cones, safety barricades, crowd control fences or flashing safety lights. Site workers should direct traffic using standardized stop signs. After hours, protect ongoing work areas or holes with street plates and lock down all entrances to the work zone.
One regulatory note: Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act), employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace, including keeping it free of serious recognized hazards. If you own a company or are in business for yourself, it is your responsibility to comply with and enforce all Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. Follow all recommendations and mandates from occupational health and safety inspectors. OSHA’s Law and Regulations are easily accessible online.