Trenching As far as safety is concerned, trenching and excavation operations are very similar. Both expose workers to the same types of hazards. Therefore, many of the same basic safety rules apply. The main difference is that a trench allows for only restricted working space. This restriction increases the potential for injury. As just one result, the need for safety awareness is increased when compared to excavation operations. Guide for Discussion Pre-operations: Locate all underground utilities. Determine, if possible, soil conditions. Determine if there is an overhead exposure. Based on the depth of the trench, determine the amount of shoring needed or angle...

Full Body Harnesses/Lifelines Discussion Points Full Body Harnesses, a connector (for example, a self-retracting lanyard), lifelines and anchors are all part of a Personal Fall Arrest System (or PFAS). The days of having a safety belt and lanyard are over – just too many injuries and deaths to workers. PFAS is generally required when working at ten (10) feet in the workplace. That is an OSHA requirement. Insert company policy. Falls account for over a quarter of all construction injuries. It seems that some workers don’t want to take the time to put their PFAS on, or worse, feel they don’t need...

Ramps and Runways Ramps and runways are an integral part of almost every jobsite. However, many ramps and runways are not properly constructed resulting in a jobsite hazard to anyone on the site and as a source for damaged materials. Guide for Discussion General rules for ramps and runways: Keep them free from job junk (debris). Provide suitable traction. Consider standard guardrails (with or without toeboard) on both sides to prevent falls. Ramps with a minimum width of eighteen (18) inches may have only one guardrail. Never exceed a twelve foot span (maximum) without bracing. All walkways used in lieu of stairs must...

Fall Causes Death, Ladder's are Killers A Tool Box Talk Case Study: Why Take Ladders Seriously Introduction: This is a true story only the first name of the victim has been changed. One of our friends wrote: “I lost a good friend September 15, 1997 from a fall from a roof. It seems that my friend Leroy went to help a neighbor with a leaking roof problem.” Guide for Discussion It was on a low pitched single story home (a 3/12 or 4/12 pitched roof), about eight foot ground to eaves's height. From family reports, Leroy borrowed a ladder from the neighbor to go...

Job Site Hazards – The Big Four Instructor Notes: In some Federal Occupational Safety and Health  states, compliance officers are evaluating a program whereas they will inspect four basic job site hazards on residential construction projects. If these four areas are found to be satisfactory, the compliance officer has the option to end the inspection at that point and leave the job site. Residential construction safety professionals often use the four basic job site hazard subject areas as a means to get interest from the on-the-job employees; it works out very well as a training or instructional guide. The big four are: Falls From Elevated...

Powder Actuated Tools Powder actuated tools are nothing more than a gun that fires a stud into a wall. As such, the safety rules that apply to firearm safety should almost always apply to the use of powder actuated tools. No one will be allowed to operate a powder actuated tool without proper training. The  rules discussed today are not intended to be a complete set, but serve as a reminder and a starter. Guide for Discussion Hazard Examples Flying particles Studs being shot through the work area Studs ricocheting Fire hazards Interchanging tool charges with firearm charges Basic General Safety Rules Allow...

Portable Electric Tools The use of portable electric power tools is one of the most common occurrences on a construction project today. Workers are exposed to the use of these tools constantly. It is important to remember that electricity always seeks a path of least resistance and often that is through a defective cord into the worker’s body. This is especially true if the worker is exposed to wet weather or has been sweating. Guide for Discussion The following safety rules should be reviewed when discussing the safe use of portable electric tools: Use only equipment that is in good condition. Be sure the...

Electric Hand Saws The electric hand saw is one of the most common power tools found in residential construction.  It is also one of the most abused being tossed around, kicked out of the way, but depended on to get the job done. Today we are going to discuss basic safety rules, guard rules, and saw blade rules. Guide for Discussion General Safety Rules Use only grounded or double-insulated tools. Use only extension cords that are in good condition. Make sure there is an assured grounding program or ground fault interrupter (GFI) being used. (See Electrical section for more information.) Make sure all...

Screwdrivers Screwdrivers are one of the most commonly misused hand tools. While it is designed to tighten or loosen screws, you can also find it being used as a pry bar, punch or chisel. When that happens, the screwdriver can slip.  When it slips, it can cause an injury or ruins the tool. Guide for Discussion Proper Care The handle should be tight, smooth and not slippery. The shank should be true and straight. The bit should be flat, with the end at a right angle with the shank. Keep the bit square edged. When sharpening, be use not to remove the bit...

Hand Tools Without the use of hand tools, the completion of a construction project would be nearly impossible. Yet, as vital as they are, they are often the cause of serious accidents. All too frequently, hand tools are used improperly or when they are defective. Since we use hand tools continually, it is important they be used properly.  We are going to briefly cover proper use today. Guide for Discussion Pre-Work Inspection Chisels Be sure the heads are safe ended or dressed. Be sure the cutting edges are sharp and square. Files The tangs should be protected with handles. The teeth should be sharp and clean. Hammers Be sure...