8 Essential Jobsite Safety Tips
Wisdom from the Pro to the Apprentice
Working on a jobsite is challenging, but that doesn’t mean it has to be dangerous. In fact, all accidents are preventable with proper precautions. We’ve written about electrical wiring safety, table saw safety, and we have a lot more to pass on to the apprentices out there earning their stripes. Now here’s our guide to 8 essential jobsite safety tips. It’s certainly not an exhaustive list, but it’s a good start. Use wisdom, and work at a pace that ensures safety.
If an Insecure Load Falls in the Forest…
1. Properly secure loads. We want to get loaded and unloaded as quickly as possible to free up jobsite space. Or we need to move the load from the ground to its final position. But the danger of shifting or falling loads can’t be overstated. Use tie-downs, blocks, correct rigging equipment and techniques to be sure loads don’t become dangerous. If someone isn’t standing under or around a load, they can’t be injured by it. Clear the area around the load and keep the area under it clear after it’s been lifted.
2. Each worker should have room to work. This is for more than just swinging a hammer. This is for any tool that a worker is attached to—from nail guns to heavy equipment. The equipment’s movement should never cross paths with another person. The responsibility falls to both the operator and other workers for this since an operator can be operating safely one moment and have another worker walk in the path of work the next moment.
3. Backing up trucks and heavy equipment. Accidents, damage, and injury caused by backing up are common. Be sure there is a clear line of sight and go slowly. This might mean inspecting what’s behind the equipment, having a guide as one would when backing into a tight space, or using a camera. Having a guide might be the best option as the guide can be sure no one walks into the equipment’s path (see #2 above).
4. Operating on a grade. Running equipment on any grade besides 0 degrees makes operating safely more complicated. Running equipment carrying loads even more so. Even experienced operators are challenged by a steep angle of approach. Make the grade—be safe on up-slopes and down-slopes.
Only Halfway Through 8 Essential Jobsite Safety Tips
5. Getting in/on and out/off equipment. Falls while climbing on or off equipment can happen in an instant. A worker can quickly find him or herself on the ground with the combination of fatigue and slippery equipment. Be sure equipment is dry, in good working order, the correct grips and anti-slip protections are in place, and emphasize safety even in the common actions.
6. Be sure water and electricity don’t mix. Power tools and water on a jobsite are a dangerous combination. Workers shouldn’t stand in puddles while operating corded tools, water should be soaked up or dried out, and the proper safety equipment must be worn. Workers should wear thick-soled work shoes or boots, arc flash eye protection, and gloves when possible.
7. Set ladders and scaffolding on level, solid ground. A quick climb up a ladder or scaffolding for a look at something can become a quick fall if there’s not level, solid ground under them. If the ladder can’t be moved, place a sheet of plywood under it. Secure scaffolding to the structure where it’s appropriate. We’ve already written about ladder safety tips, but you can never be safe enough.
8. Protective gear is an ounce of protection. We briefly mentioned safety gear for electric shock protection, but general protective gear is worth its weigh in gold. Eye protection and ear protection are most common, but there’s also specialty protection. Check out the ANSI/ISEA 105-2016 cut resistance standards for safety equipment.
The “Why” is Obvious…
But we’ll mention it anyway. These 8 essential jobsite safety tips help ensure that everyone goes home safely at night. That’s the goal. There’s no project that’s worth injury or death. If worker safety is a management priority, workers will be loyal and productive.
We hope you’ve benefited from our 8 essential jobsite safety tips. If you’re a Pro and you have jobsite safety tips, add them in the comments below—or contact us with your own Pro tips.