By Alec Schaufenbuel
As new workers join the construction industry, it is important to remember that not everyone understands general construction procedures, including safety procedures and best practices. Things that seem second nature or common sense to those of us that have been doing this for a while, forget that we were all new once too. It is important that we share our experience and knowledge with newcomers so that they can become safety assets on our jobsites.
Whether someone is visiting or working on a site, newcomers or seasoned professionals; here are five safety tips that everyone on a construction site should know:
1) Fall protection is your best friend!
NEVER work from a height greater than 6 feet without being protected from a fall. Use a personal fall arrest system or a physical barrier system every. single. time. If you see someone working at a height greater than 6 feet, always stop to check and make sure they are protected from falling. Falls are the number 1 cause of death in construction – the 10 seconds it takes you to check on someone else, could save their life.
2) Have training? Use tools!
Do not use equipment or tools that you are not trained to use. While this may seem like common sense, new people are often eager to please and will do whatever is asked of them. This is dangerous in the construction industry. The misuse of equipment or tools could lead to significant injury or death. If you are assigned a new task, speak up and ask someone to show you how to do the task and use the tools properly (if someone isn’t already showing you). No one should ever feel shame in asking how to do a job well and safely! And for our seasoned pros – be willing to offer a few minutes of your day to show newcomers how it should be done and share your wisdom.
3) Be aware! Be very aware (to paraphrase “The Fly”)!
Jobsites are always changing as tasks are completed, new trades arrive and mobile equipment is put to use. Be sure to always give mobile equipment a wide berth. If you need to cross in front of someone in equipment or near a crane, make eye contact with the operator before moving. Crossing a jobsite is like crossing a street, but it’s much harder to stop construction equipment quickly. Slow down, be aware of your surroundings and don’t take unnecessary risks. Also never work or walk under a suspended load…just don’t – walk the long way around.
4) A clean jobsite is a safe jobsite!
Jobsite cleanliness goes a long way for jobsite safety. Clean jobsites are less likely to have slips, trips or impalement hazards. Always pick up after yourself, stack material in orderly piles outside of walking paths, and look out for extension cords and other trip hazards while you walk. If something is lying across a walkway and it is easy to pick up and move, move it. Keeping a jobsite clean is everyone’s responsibility and quite possibly the easiest task to manage every day.
5) If you see something, say something!
Look out for each other. If you see something unsafe or someone acting in an unsafe manner please say something to the individual, their foreman, or a Neumann foreman. You never know when your decision to act could greatly impact someone’s life. Our goal is to keep everyone safe and make sure everyone gets home at the end of the day.
Jobsite safety has to be the top priority for every person, every day. Be safe on the job and take care of those around you. Common sense will get you far, but awareness and adherence to the safety rules and regulations for each jobsite will get you home. Be smart, be safe!