Would you be comfortable with your grandmother walking safely through your jobsite? It’s likely that many of us wouldn’t be. While most work sites won’t ever be as tidy as Grandma’s house, there are many housekeeping steps we can take to improve jobsite safety. Help your employees and volunteers follow these procedures by posting “Housekeeping Rules” in visible areas of the work site.
- Clean up scrap as you go.
Keep boxes, scrap lumber and other materials picked up. Put them in a dumpster or designated trash area to prevent fire and tripping hazards.
- Remove nails from scrap lumber.
Before placing scrap lumber in the trash pile, pull all the remaining nails or pound them down so that they’re not sticking out. Nail puncture wounds, or “snake bites”, are a leading cause of injury on the jobsite, and can lead to serious infections.
- Don’t leave tools lying around.
Place unused tools in your tool belt or where tools are organized in the mornings. Many times, when taking a break, workers leave tools in places that other aren’t expecting them to be, specifically on top of ladders. Many injures occur when workers move an unused ladder only to have a hammer or screwdriver come flying down on their head.
- Keep aisles & walkways clear.
It is important to keep aisles and walkways clear of debris and unused materials. Many times throughout the day workers carry loads that limit their sight lines. For example, you may very well see a box of nails laying on the floor of a hallway, but someone carry a stack of drywall or a ladder might not, and could easily step on the box causing them to trip or slip and fall.
- Designate an area for materials.
Have designated areas where work materials are to be picked up, and separate areas set aside for depositing trash and scrap materials. Having designated drop off and pickup areas will reduce foot traffic through the jobsite, which in turn, creates less opportunity for a worker to injure themselves due to poor housekeeping.
- Guard floor holes or openings.
Install guardrails around openings in floors and across openings in walls when the fall distance is 6 feet or more. Yellow caution tape will not catch someone who trips near a floor opening. Cover floor openings larger than 2×2 inches with material to safely support the working load.
Following these safety tips can help keep your volunteers and employees from needlessly suffering a serious injury while on the jobsite. Take charge, and make sure your volunteers and employees understand, and practice, these safety tips.
And remember to always get a signed waiver from all volunteers prior to them working on the jobsite! If you have any questions about this information please call the Habitat for Humanity Affiliate Insurance Program at (888) 553-9002.