Safety comes before everything else. It’s something that we take very seriously, because the consequences of ignoring it are too great. Here are a few basics everyone should know, even if they don’t typically work on site.
1. Make sure your first-aid kit is well stocked and up to date
First up is first-aid. While we all should know that a first-aid kit is a must at any workplace, we must also remember to regularly restock items that have been used and replace items that have expired. Glue on band-aids eventually expires and stops sticking. Medications deteriorate and become ineffective. Don’t wait until there is an accident and be without ways to immediately care for any injuries.
Your first-aid kit should include all of the following:
- Adhesive bandages
- Adhesive tape
- Antibiotic application
- Breathing barrier
- Burn dressing (gel soaked)
- Burn treatment
- Cold pack
- Eye covering (with means of attachment)
- Eye/skin wash
- First aid guide
- Hand sanitizer
- Medical exam gloves
- Roller bandage (2 inch)
- Roller bandage (4 inch)
- Sterile pad
- Trauma pad
- Triangular bandage
2. Inspect all equipment for damage before use
Every time a worker uses a piece of equipment, they should first inspect it to make sure it is safe. It is not worth ignoring a potentially dangerous flaw to get the job done faster. This kind of behavior never ends well and will eventually lead to a disaster.
3. Stay away from operating machinery
The best way to avoid being injured by heavy equipment is to not get close to it unless you have to. This will make life easier for everyone on site. If workers are waiting for the heavy equipment operator to finish something before doing more work, they should make sure not to congregate near the machinery. This is a very simple rule that could prevent a number of workplace accidents.
4. Always properly use the correct height and quality ladder.
Ladder safety is an entire category of its own, and can often be overlooked. Let’s go over a few portable ladder safety guidelines from OSHA:
- Falls from portable ladders (step, straight, combination and extension) are one of the leading causes of occupational fatalities and injuries.
- Read and follow all labels/markings on the ladder.
- Avoid electrical hazards! – Look for overhead power lines before handling a ladder. Avoid using a metal ladder near power lines or exposed energized electrical equipment.
- Always inspect the ladder prior to using it. If the ladder is damaged, it must be removed from service and tagged until repaired or discarded.
- Always maintain a 3-point (two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand) contact on the ladder when climbing. Keep your body near the middle of the step and always face the ladder while climbing (see diagram).
- Only use ladders and appropriate accessories (ladder levelers, jacks or hooks) for their designed purposes.
- Ladders must be free of any slippery material on the rungs, steps or feet.
- Do not use a self-supporting ladder (e.g., step ladder) as a single ladder or in a partially closed position.
- Do not use the top step/rung of a ladder as a step/rung unless it was designed for that purpose.
- Use a ladder only on a stable and level surface, unless it has been secured (top or bottom) to prevent displacement.
- Do not place a ladder on boxes, barrels or other unstable bases to obtain additional height.
- Do not move or shift a ladder while a person or equipment is on the ladder.
- An extension or straight ladder used to access an elevated surface must extend at least 3 feet above the point of support (see diagram). Do not stand on the three top rungs of a straight, single or extension ladder.
- The proper angle for setting up a ladder is to place its base a quarter of the working length of the ladder from the wall or other vertical surface (see diagram).
- A ladder placed in any location where it can be displaced by other work activities must be secured to prevent displacement or a barricade must be erected to keep traffic away from the ladder.
- Be sure that all locks on an extension ladder are properly engaged.
- Do not exceed the maximum load rating of a ladder. Be aware of the ladder’s load rating and of the weight it is supporting, including the weight of any tools or equipment.
5. Always be aware of your surroundings.
This may seem simple and obvious, but we can’t stress enough how important it is. With today’s immersive technologies, we often aren’t aware of our surroundings. Construction sites are full of hazards, and everyone on site needs to make sure they are aware at all times. Whether we are talking about sharp objects, fall hazards, heavy equipment, or any other number of things, we need to make sure that everyone on site is paying attention at all times.
At Branco, we believe every job begins and ends with safety.