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AmeriCorps members are an essential part of Habitat’s mission and they often act as crew leaders. As with any job site leader or supervisor, it’s important that they take the required training to perform the role safely as well as have the aptitude to focus on keeping the rest of the team safe, too. Additionally, it’s strongly recommended that the site is overseen by a trained Competent Person.
Here are eight ways to keep AmeriCorps members, volunteers and the entire workforce safe on the job:
- Training is key! No employee, volunteer or AmeriCorps member should be allowed to perform work that they haven’t been trained to do.
- Take advantage of our online training courses. Require all employees, volunteers, and AmeriCorps members to complete our Habitat-specific training courses prior to their work days.
- Anyone working from heights must always use fall protection equipment. If this equipment isn’t available, you should outsource any work from heights. All window and stairwell openings and holes should be covered appropriately with railings or fixed covers to prevent falls through them.
- Scaffolding should be constructed in accordance with OSHA regulations and you should follow ladder safety guidelines.
- The ground should be leveled as much as possible in the areas where people are working.
- Keep job sites neat and organized. Materials like boards, buckets, tools, nails and other objects shouldn’t be left lying around on the ground. If there are items that pose a tripping hazard that can’t be moved, clearly mark them with bright tape or paint so they are easily noticed or establish a control access zone.
- At the start of each workday, review the tasks to be performed that day along with a brief review of how to do each task safely.
- Crew leaders should make the rounds to check that work is being done correctly and safely. If they observe a task being done incorrectly or notice a potential safety hazard, the leader should step in immediately to correct the situation and demonstrate the proper way to proceed with the task.
There is nothing more rewarding than completing a house and handing it over to the new homeowner. With proper training and diligent oversight, the home building experience can be safe, productive and rewarding for everyone!