Stocking your job site: The basics

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Stocking your job site: The basics

By maintaining the proper safety equipment at a job site, you ensure the safety of employees and visitors and meet local regulations. Employers, contractors and subcontractors are all responsible for providing a safe job site at all times. Inspections from OSHA—the Occupational Safety and Health Administration—protect workers’ rights and safety on the job. Whether you’re starting on a new site or returning to an existing one, stay on the right side of local regulations by following these safety tips.

Clothing

Safe clothing for construction and other labour sites protects the hands, feet, ears and eyes. In general, workers should wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts to cover their limbs. If workers are painting or performing other light labor tasks, short sleeves may be acceptable.

Steel-toed boots and safety hats offer additional protection when working with heavy objects. These may be mandatory at many job sites. If workers are building or climbing scaffolding or raw structures as part of the job, they may need harnesses and special lanyards that prevent tools from falling out of tool belts.

When a worker is using power tools or performing another task where debris may fly up to hit his face, eye protection is a must. Standard-issue eyeglasses or sunglasses won’t cut it, since debris can enter through the side openings. Look for eye protection that covers both sides of the face as well as above and below the eyes.

Finally, ear protection prevents hearing loss when operating equipment such as lawn mowers and power saws or for factory workers who may be exposed to loud noise during the extent of their shift. Ear buds or nose cancelling headphones work well.

Safety Equipment

Safety clothing alone isn’t enough. You’ll also need to have safety equipment on site to respond to accidents. A first aid kit should be on hand, as should a fire extinguisher and fire prevention plan. If you work with chemicals, you may need to have an eye wash station on site. Ensure that all employees know where on the job site such equipment is located.

If you plan to work at night, you’ll need to ensure adequate lighting to keep employees safe. Purchase or rent portable work lights and light towers. Your municipal building department will be able to provide you with more specific information about any local requirements.

Periodically review safety equipment and regulations with employees. List work site rules in a common location, such as a break room. Rules should cover when to use safety equipment and clothing as well as what to do and what to avoid on site. Example rules might include:

· No running on site.

· Put away all power tools after use and don’t leave tools unplugged when not in use.

· Always wear ear and eye protection when using power equipment.

· Keep walkways and emergency exits clear of obstructions.

· Always lift heavy objects from the legs to protect injuries.

Make sure to enforce rules and regulations consistently across work sites. A manager stepping on site without a hard hat sets a poor example for others and could inspire a worker to decide that such gear is optional. You’re all better safe than sorry when it comes to workplace safety.

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