Whether you are a homeowner doing your own renovations or a construction manager overseeing your jobsite, safety should be your top priority. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) in the U.S. recorded 4,679 deaths on construction jobsites in 2014—about 90 a week and just over 13 deaths every day. This number is far too high and we need to practice greater jobsite safety in order to avoid these kinds of accidents.
OSHA has a comprehensive list of regulations which must be followed on all jobsites. These regulations are available on their website and should be carefully followed. OSHA inspectors regularly inspect sites and will close any sites they deem unsafe for personnel. Large fines will be imposed or organizations who are placing their personnel in danger.
Some key points for those who are intending to renovate their homes or work in construction are:
- Before starting a new job, ensure that all personnel know where the nearest emergency facilities are located and who to call in the event of an emergency
- Don’t lift heavy loads by yourself—ask for help or have heavy building materials moved by professionals
- Before starting work every day, check the jobsite for hazards, dangerous chemicals and gases
- You need to maintain three points of contact when you are on a ladder and have someone to hold the ladder for you
- Always use fall protection when working at heights
- Always wear your protective gear including boots, hard hats, gloves and eye protection. Use the proper mask for each job from sanding to working with chemicals
- If there are dangerous areas on a jobsite, ensure that they are fenced off from people and pets
- Always store your equipment, chemicals and building materials safely
- If there are moving vehicles onsite, ensure that you are visible at all times and stay out of blind spots. Drivers should always wear their safety belts
- Always inspect equipment for safety before use. If equipment is old, rusted or not working properly, be sure to repair it before you proceed
- Be sure that your equipment is completely free of an electrical charge before servicing it
- Never take the guards off your equipment—they are there for a reason
- Always use the right tool for the job.
This checklist is a guideline for daily use, but certainly not a comprehensive guide. Visit the OSHA website to ensure that you and your employees are up-to-date with all of the regulations and safety procedures.