Nine Basic Construction Safety Rules Toolbox Talk
1. Always wear your seatbelt when in a vehicle or heavy equipment. Seatbelts are critical to preventing serious injuries and death while driving or operating. Motor vehicle crashes are still the number one cause of fatalities on the job in the United States.
2. Always inspect equipment and tools. Take the necessary time to inspect the tools and equipment you are using for work tasks. Properly repair broken tools or replace them altogether. Make sure equipment is in good working order and all safety devices such as kill switches or equipment guards are in place and properly functioning.
3. Always use fall protection when working at heights. OSHA reports that excluding highway motor collisions, falls are the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry. Guardrails or utilizing a full-body harness with a self-retracting lanyard are two common safeguards to mitigate fall hazards.
4. Stay of out the blind spots of heavy equipment. Struck-by incidents, caught-in between incidents, and run-over incidents occur too often when heavy equipment is operating near ground personnel. Always keep your distance, communicate, and use eye contact to ensure an operator sees you when around their equipment.
5. Never put yourself in the line of fire. Just like being in the blind spot of heavy equipment, there are many other ways you can find yourself in harm’s way at a construction site. Being underneath lifted loads, next to a pipe being cut that has stored energy, or working underneath equipment that is not properly cribbed up are three other examples of being in the line of fire.
6. Utilize proper housekeeping measures to keep work areas clean. Housekeeping is critical in preventing injuries and property loss. Injuries such as slips, trips, falls, lacerations, sprains, strains, etc. can be reduced by keeping work areas organized and clean. Property damage and loss such as tools or materials being crushed due to improper storage is another common result of poor housekeeping.
7. Make sure chemicals are properly labeled and stored. OSHA issues many citations regarding the hazard communication standard every year. Improper labeling and storage can lead to injuries or property loss due to fires, corrosive properties, etc.
8. Communicate hazards to others. Never just assume someone knows the hazards of a work task, especially if they are new or new to the task. As conditions change communicate what needs to be done and what hazards the change in plans could bring.
9. Stop work when needed to address hazards. Always stop work when needed to get hazards mitigated to make it safe to continue. Whether you need to involve other personnel such as a supervisor or you need to take time to get the right tool for the job, always take the time to do so.