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Pre-Work Start-Up Safety Checklist for Contractors
Regardless of size, safety should be a key
component of every job, and contractors should make safety planning a priority
when they are creating their bids. The cost of having a safe job site should be
considered and made part of the bid; and if the contractor gets the job, it
should be treated as an integral part of the project. When contractors visit
job sites to obtain project information, they should also be evaluating safety
concerns to outline what is needed to finish the job safely and in compliance
with all applicable codes, standards, etc.
When assessing a job site, it is important to keep in mind what you need
to accomplish and anything you may need on site when you start the job. Once
you have a contract, it is time to make decisions about the things you need to
have before you begin work.
The following is a starter list of points to consider before beginning
any project (or workday):
the employees who are going to make up the project crew. Confirm that each
employee has received the necessary safety training to
perform the job safely. This includes the use of any personal protective
equipment (PPE), hazard recognition, and steps to take if they perceive a
potential hazard exposure.
that your Safety Director, Consultant, or the individual responsible for safety
has a site safety plan for this project. This should include a job hazard
Confirm that if any exposure assessments are
required, they have been or will be completed on the first day. If the exposure
assessment is being performed on the first day, ensure that all employees are
being protected at the level required by the Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA) until the results of the exposure assessment are known.
a copy of your company safety program on the job site, along with a copy of
your company's hazard communication program.
Ensure that sufficient PPE is on site for all
sure that all PPE on site has been inspected, is in good condition, and is safe
Whenever possible, assign a well-trained, competent
person to work at the site. Alternatively, schedule this person to visit the
job site several times a day to perform necessary safety walk-around
inspections and ensure that all employees are working in compliance with all
company safety rules. Remember that some OSHA standards have requirements
beyond the basic guidelines for a competent person that apply to the areas
covered by those standards.
Be certain that management on the job site knows
how to respond to a visit from a federal or state OSHA representative, how to
conduct an accident investigation, and how to perform regular safety audits.
someone to determine the predicted heat index for the day, or—in the case of
cold work—the projected low temperature, and arrange appropriate safeguards for
scaffolding is to be used on the project, ensure that it is designed and
erected by qualified and competent persons.
Be certain that any ladders on the job site erected
by your employees or to be used by your employees are properly put up and tied
off, and that the ingress and egress points to the ladders are guarded
Have a procedure in place to identify damaged or
unsafe equipment, tag it, and remove it from the worksite until properly
repaired. This procedure should include employees trained to identify damaged
and/or unsafe equipment.
Upon arriving at the job site,
the contractor should also check safety compliance by confirming that the job
site is completely prepared for work in regard to safety standards. In addition
to following all state and federal regulations, contractors should:
all fall protection issues. These include, but are not limited to, ensuring
that warning lines or guardrails are properly erected (where appropriate),
personal fall-arrest equipment is in place, and adequate anchors are in place
for the personal fall-arrest equipment. It is also important to make sure that
employees are wearing their personal fall-arrest equipment correctly.
If scaffolding is going to be used, ensure that it
is properly erected. This includes, but is not limited to, barricading areas
under scaffolds to prevent anyone from passing or working below employees who
are on the scaffold. Additionally, make sure all guardrails and toe boards are
in place for any scaffold work areas more than 10 feet above the ground.
Be sure that all employees are wearing proper personal
respiratory protective equipment if an initial exposure assessment is being
performed or if it is deemed necessary by the completed exposure assessment.
the site and ensure that all floor holes, holes in walls, and open-sided floors
are either covered correctly or guarded.
the use of electricity on the job site. Use ground fault circle interrupters
(GFCIs) wherever necessary, and verify that all electrical cords are undamaged
and have 3-pronged plugs in place.
label all containers of hazardous materials on site and ensure that copies of
all safety data sheets are readily available to all employees on the site, and
all employees have been trained to read the safety data sheets and the labels
on all hazardous materials.
Determine if any other contractor's employees or
the customer's employees will be on the site; this may create hazards for your
employees. If this is the case, take all steps necessary to protect
your employees and other personnel from potential hazards.
sufficient cool, potable water on site for all of your employees if you will be
working in a high-heat environment. In addition, make sure cooling-off areas
are available and are located in relative close proximity to where your
employees will be working.
that any powered equipment that you may have on site has been inspected for
safety issues before any employees are permitted to operate it, and all
necessary safety inspection forms have been properly completed. Also, make sure
that any employees on site who may be tasked to operate such equipment have
been properly trained and that training documentation is on file.
that all employees on site have been properly trained in all aspects of safety,
including, but not limited to, hazard recognition.
This list is not intended to
cover all points for safety consideration on every job site, but it is meant to
share basic safety guidelines. Every job site is unique and will present
different safety concerns, which is why a job safety analysis is essential to
identify all of the safety issues on each job site. Please also check state and
federal guidelines and laws, as well as with your own safety experts, to ensure
each job site is compliant and safe for your personnel.
This article appeared in the October 2013
issue of Insulation Outlook.
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Gary Auman is a Partner in the law firm of Dunlevey, Mahan & Furry in Dayton, Ohio. He graduated with an electrical engineering degree from the University of Louisville in 1969, and a law degree from The Ohio State University in 1976. Since then, his practice has focused on defending employers in workers' compensation and OSHA cases. In 2002, Mr. Auman was awarded the Distinguished Service to Safety Award by the National Safety Council. He has worked with OSHA in its development of safety and health standards, and he has defended OSHA cases in several federal appellate courts. Mr. Auman also represents 4 national and regional trade associations in the construction industry. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.