Things to Do Today to Improve Safety at Your Job Site

Every year, tens of thousands of construction workers are injured on the job. Roughly 1,000 lose their lives. Many of these injured workers end up needing weeks, or even months off work, costing both them and their employer money. Most of these injuries are completely avoidable given the proper safety measures. Here are some common-sense tips to help keep your workers safe.

Train employees well

A trained employee is a safe employee! The number one thing you can do to keep your workers safe is to educate them. Your business should have an official, written safety policy, and it should be given to every employee upon hire. In addition, regular meetings should be held to emphasize and reinforce protocol. Employees should take part in ongoing, routine training sessions to make sure they still understand all the rules and regulations. In fact, many employers require employees to sign off on an official document certifying that they’ve read the regulations and understand them.

Make sure employees have the right equipment

Always provide employees with head, eye, and hearing protection. It’s not only the right thing to do, but it’s required by OSHA. Each employee should have their own equipment that fits them properly and is free of damage. Gear should be inspected before going on the job each day to check for signs of wear and tear – in particular, hard hats should be free of any cracks or dents, and eye protection should be clean and cleared of any debris or grease which may make it difficult to see.

Keep the job site clean

Keeping a construction site clean might seem like an impossible task, but there are certain steps that can be taken to make your site a safer place. Assign clean-up tasks to employees on a daily basis to help ensure that the appropriate housekeeping measures always are taken. Keep the work areas clear to help avoid accidents such as tripping or getting cut on exposed nails. Make sure spills are cleaned up immediately, and make sure all scrap materials get disposed of appropriately. Toxic and hazardous materials need to be given special care. Failure to handle toxic material in the appropriate way can result in serious injury.

Keep Ladders and Stairways Safe

Ladder safety is consistently within the top-10 most cited OSHA violations at work sites. In fact, OSHA estimates that there are 24,882 injuries and as many as 36 fatalities per year due to falls on stairways and ladders used in construction. Nearly half of these injuries were serious enough to require time off the job. In order to avoid these accidents, a few simple steps can be taken:

  • Use the right ladder for the job. Step ladders, extension ladders, and combo ladders are all intended for different things, and should always be used as intended.
  • Always inspect for damage, wear, and cleanliness before use. Check for broken or bent rungs, loose steps, and any debris or grease which may make the ladder unsafe.
  • Check for weight limit. Every ladder has a weight limit (which includes you and any equipment you’re carrying. Exceeding that limit could lead to serious injury.
  • Make sure you have a ladder that is the right height for the job. Never try to extend your ladder in any way – this could cause it to slip and fall. Instead, take the time to find the appropriate-size ladder for the job.

Taking the time to teach and enforce safety policies up front will save you a lot of lost work hours (and money) in the long run.

How to Safely Decorate Your Home for the Holidays

Tis the season! With Christmas fast approaching, holiday decorating is in full swing. Whether you’re decorating the tree, hanging outdoor lights, or simply removing those unsightly leaves from your gutter, ladder safety is important.

According to the Consumer Safety Product Commission, thousands of people end up in the hospital every year due to decorating-related injuries. 41% of those injuries involve falls.

Here are some safety tips to make sure you can enjoy the holidays at home with friends and family, instead of in the ER.

Inspect Your Ladder

You should always inspect your ladder at every use, but especially if you haven’t handled it in a while. From regular wear and tear to storage-related damage, there are a lot of issues that might cause your ladder to be unsafe. Check for things like loose screws, hinges and rungs, and wipe off anything, like grease, that might cause you to slip and fall.

Choose the Proper Size Ladder for the Job

Ladders come in a variety of sizes and styles, and choosing the right one is essential for safe use. One factor to consider is the weight limit. Every ladder has a maximum weight it can support (anywhere from 200lbs – 375lbs), and that includes you and any equipment you’re carrying. In addition, consider the ladder type and height. A step ladder would be appropriate for inside the house, while a combination or extension ladder would be more appropriate for outside. If you’re working on the roof, make sure your ladder extends at least 3ft above the edge.

Set the Ladder Up Correctly

Proper ladder set-up is essential for any job, as misuse can lead to injury. Never use your ladder in any way other than how the manufacturer intended. Some key points to remember are:

·      Always place your ladder on level ground.

·      Don’t try to lengthen or extend it in any way.

·      Don’t lean your ladder against anything.

·      When using a step ladder, open completely and lock into place.

  • When using an extension ladder, make sure you have the correct angle between the ladder and the house.

Always Use Your Ladder Properly

It can be tempting to hang off the side of your ladder to try to get that star on top of the tree, but it’s also dangerous. Improper ladder use leads to more injuries than anything else. Use these common-sense tips to help keep you safe:

  • Have someone else stand at the bottom to assist you, if you can.
  • No more than one person should ever be on the ladder at the same time.
  • Use caution if your ladder is set up by a doorway: either lock the door so it can’t be opened, or place a sign to warn others.
  • Keep three points of contact on the ladder at all times.
  • Don’t try to climb too high, and never stand on top of the ladder.

Finally, Keep Safety in Mind

When you’re on a ladder, always have your next move in mind. Plan what you’re going to do in your head before you actually do it, and then proceed with caution. If you’re going to be outdoors, avoid rain, snow, wind, or other inclement weather, and always wear dry, slip-resistant shoes. And, obviously, never use a table, chair, desk, or any other non-ladder item as a ladder.

Keep these tips in mind for a safe, accident-free holiday season!