Contractors are required to have at least one person on the worksite with first aid training. However, it is a good idea for everyone to have some basic knowledge of first aid.

All jobsites must have a readily accessible first aid kit that meets ANSI standards (ANSI Z308.1-2015). Keep in mind that ANSI standards are minimum. You may need to supplement your kits with additional supplies and equipment based on your access to emergency medical services or to handle severe injuries, injuries to multiple patients or CPR on more than one person.

To ensure the safety of everyone on your jobsite:

  • Maintain your first aid kits in a place that is accessible to everyone. All contractors should know the location of the kits. Never lock them up.
  • Inventory your first aid kits regularly to ensure emergency supplies are ready. Designate someone to be responsible for maintaining and restocking the kits.
  • Make sure all contractors know who the first aid responders are on their jobsite and how to contact them. There should be a first aid responder for each shift, including holidays.
  • Make sure the first aid responder is easy to identify. Usually a sticker on the safety helmet will suffice.
  • Provide at least one accessible phone that dials out to 911.
  • Keep enough PPE on hand.

Keep a bloodborne pathogen protection kit with your first aid kit. This kit should include nitrile exam gloves, eye protection, an apron and CPR shield/mask.


  • Immediately contact your on-site first aid responder.
  • If necessary, have someone call 911.
  • Remove the hazard from the victim if it is safe to do so. Do not move the victim unless it is absolutely necessary (i.e., patient is in immediate danger).
  • Remain with the victim and give reassurance. Unless you absolutely need to signal or call for help, stay with the person at all times.
  • Once you’ve established that the victim is breathing and has a pulse, look for bleeding. Your first priority should be to stop any bleeding. Use direct pressure on a wound before trying any other method to manage the bleeding.
  • Make the person as comfortable as possible, but do not move the injured person’s head or prop it up on a pillow.
  • Do not give the victim food or drinks. It is appropriate to moisten their lips if they need it.
  • Do not allow the person to smoke.

These are just a few things each person should know about first aid. While most of us won’t be the designated first aid responder, there may be instances where you will need to step in until the first responder arrives.

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Members can download the audio version of this toolbox talk here.


Pathogens are bacteria, viruses or other microorganisms that can cause disease. Bloodborne pathogens are infectious microorganisms in human blood, saliva and other bodily fluids that can cause disease in humans. These pathogens include hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Bloodborne pathogens can be transmitted when blood or other body fluids from an infected person enters another person’s body due to a needle-stick, bites, cuts, abrasions or through mucous membranes like the eyes.

  • If you help someone who is bleeding or if you are potentially exposed to blood or other potentially infectious body fluids, you must wear personal protective equipment such as disposable gloves and eye protection.
  • If blood or other possible infectious body fluid is on your gloves, dispose of the gloves properly by putting them in a biohazard waste bag. If you do not have a biohazard waste bag, put the gloves in a plastic bag that can be sealed before you dispose of it.
  • Always wash your hands with soap and running water after you remove and dispose of the gloves.
  • It is important that any blood or other potentially infectious body fluids is quickly and completely cleaned up with soap and water to limit the chance of exposing your coworkers to bloodborne pathogens. Wear personal protective equipment when cleaning up blood or potentially infectious body fluids.
  • Hands are the areas that are most likely to be exposed to blood or other potentially infectious body fluids. Wash your hands with soap and running water after contact with blood or other potentially infectious body fluids to reduce your chance of becoming sick or spreading germs to others.
  • It is very important that you report any exposures to blood or other potentially infectious body fluids to your supervisor. Reporting all exposures helps you get treatment and helps your employer identify and reduce causes of exposure.

Maintain a first aid kit which includes gloves, eye protection and a proper means to dispose of the infected material. Antiseptic hand cleaner or towelettes should also be provided.

Personnel should be properly trained in first aid response and how to correctly handle and dispose of potentially infected material.

Download the printable PDF and recording form here.

Members can download the audio version of this toolbox talk here.

Asphalt Safety

Originally published 05/16/2018

Working on the ground during asphalt paving can be a high-risk occupation. There are hazards of working close to vehicle traffic, heavy equipment, complex machinery, and hot asphalt. Ground workers must always be aware that the traffic near the work area is ultimately controlled by individual drivers who may be inexperienced, unskilled, inattentive, or impaired. There is often no safeguard against these drivers other than the asphalt worker’s constant alertness and attention to the conditions of the jobsite.

Exercise caution when trucks are delivering asphalt. Do not move between the paving machine and backing trucks. Do not work or stand near the hopper of the paving machine when a materials truck is making its initial dump. General repairs must not be made to powered equipment until workers are protected from movement of equipment. Unsafe conditions and situations must be reported to supervisors immediately. Schedule work during low traffic hours if possible. During night operations, precautions need to be taken to yet even a higher level. Where possible light traffic control devices, reduce traffic speeds, and reduce spacing of traffic control devices.

Flaggers must be in a good physical condition, mentally alert, and have the ability to react quickly in an emergency. Flaggers vests, shirt, or jacket must be fluorescent orange, yellow, or yellow-green. Night time work requires retro reflective wear.

To protect against health hazards when working with hot asphalt, wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), which includes:

  • Safety goggles or safety glasses.
  • Chemical resistant and heavy-duty gloves.
  • Respirator when appropriate.
  • Hard hat.
  • Long sleeved shirts.
  • Ear muffs or plugs.
  • High waterproof work boots.
  • Pants without cuffs that extend over the top of the boots.

Wash hands before eating and leaving the work site. Use soap or other safe cleaners. Eat lunch where the wind will blow fumes away from you. Shower after work as soon as possible. Change work clothes before going home to keep asphalt and solvents out of your car and home.

All workers should be trained in first-aid procedures in case of injury.

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Preventing Soft Tissue Injury

Originally published 08/16/2017

Soft tissue injury is one of the most common injuries in construction. Soft tissue refers to tissues that connect, support or surround other structures and organs of the body. Here are some of the most common soft tissue injuries reported in construction:

  • Muscle sprains and strains;
  • Injuries to muscles, ligaments, intervertebral dics and other structures in the back;
  • Injuries to nerves, ligaments and tendons in the wrists, arms, shoulders, neck or legs;
  • Abdominal hernias; and
  • Chronic pain.

These injuries can occur suddenly or over a prolonged period of time. Risk factors for soft tissue injuries include awkward postures, repetitive motion, excessive force, static posture, vibration and poorly designed tools. The good news is that soft tissue injuries, and the conditions caused by them, are preventable.

The following precautions can help prevent soft tissue injuries:

  • Stretch before you use your muscles.
  • Avoid bending or twisting the back or neck.
  • Avoid overexertion.
  • Use ladders to reach overhead objects and mechanical equipment to carry and move heavy materials.
  • Use proper lifting techniques. Lift with your legs, not your back.
  • Make the most of your break times and stretch muscles that have become tense from continuous sitting and/or exposure to vibration.
  • Use tools properly. When possible, keep tools between your waist and shoulder height, which is considered the “lifting zone.” This gives you the most leverage, and allows the strongest muscles to do the work.
  • Keep your work area clean and free of hazards. Pick up loose objects from the floor, and clean up spills immediately to eliminate tripping and slipping hazards.

Take action today. Decide what you can do right now to help prevent a soft tissue injury, and then do it. You’ll end up with a safer workplace and fewer workplace injuries.
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Lyme Disease

Originally published 08/08/2017

During the construction season, we work outside from early spring until late fall. One of the hazards of working outside is Lyme Disease. We’ve all heard about it on the news, but what is it?

Lyme Disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by the bite of an infected tick. Rarely, if ever, fatal it can cause serious problems without proper and timely treatment. Generally, the symptoms include a rash and flu-like symptoms such as muscle aches, joint pains, lymph node swelling, neck stiffness, headaches, chills, fever and fatigue. If not caught and treated early, the symptoms can progress to severe fatigue, neck stiffness and aches, tingling or numbness in the arms/hands and legs/feet, and even facial paralysis.

How do you protect yourself?

  • Wear light-colored clothing to help spot the ticks more easily.
  • Wear long sleeves and long pants and tuck pant legs into socks or work boots.
  • Wear a hard hat or any type of hat that covers your head.
  • Use insect repellents containing DEET (Diethyl-meta-toulamide) on skin and clothes. Be careful not to spread the insect repellent on your face.
  • Avoid sitting directly on the ground or on stone walls.
  • Do a final, full-body tick check at the end of the day. Note: a shower and shampoo may help to dislodge crawling ticks but is only somewhat effective. Thoroughly inspect yourself after a shower.
  • Wash and dry your clothing at high temperatures to kill unseen ticks.

If you find a tick, what should you do? 

  • Don’t panic; not all ticks carry the bacteria. Using a pair of tweezers, grasp the tick by the head (not the body – you don’t want to squeeze the body). Pull firmly and steadily outward. Don’t twist the tick or use a hot match, alcohol, nail polish, petroleum jelly or other irritant on the tick. This could backfire.
  • Place the tick in a jar or vial with alcohol to kill it.
  • Clean the bite or wound with disinfectant.
  • Monitor the site of the bite for signs of a “bullseye rash” for one to two weeks, or the symptoms described above. If any of these symptoms occur, see a physician immediately. Again, don’t panic. Treatment with antibiotics will usually kill the bacteria.

Some commonly asked questions:

Do all ticks carry the Lyme Disease bacteria?
No, only the deer tick and its close relative, the Western black-legged tick are known to transmit the bacteria.

Is Indiana a high-risk state?
No, Indiana is a relatively low-risk state. Less than one person in 100,000 in Indiana will get Lyme Disease annually. Ohio and Missouri have a slightly higher risk than Indiana.

How do ticks get on a person?
They are found under leaf litter or on plant stems and blades of grass within three feet of the ground, especially at the edge of woodlands. Ticks will latch onto people as they brush by the tick, then it will climb until it reaches a protected or creased area of skin (often the back of a knee, groin, navel, armpit, ears or nape of the neck) and begin feeding.

Studies have shown that deer ticks begin transmitting Lyme Disease 36 to 48 hours after attachment. Therefore, if you remove a tick within 24 hours your chance of contracting the disease is greatly reduced.

References: Center for Disease Control, OSHA and the American Lyme Disease Foundation, Inc.

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Poisonous Plants

Originally published on 08/02/2019

Poisonous plants are common on or near construction sites. Most people develop a skin rash and skin irritations lasting up to three weeks when they contact poison ivy or poison oak. The reaction is caused by urushiol (“oo-roo-shee-ohl”) oil found in the sap. The oil is in the stems, leaves and berries of these plants and can be transmitted by brushing against the plant, or from secondary contact with animals or clothing.

Poison ivy

Found throughout the United States, except in the Southwest, Alaska and Hawaii, poison ivy has three shiny green leaves, a red stem and typically grows in the form of a vine, often along riverbanks, roadsides and woodlands. Old vines are very hairy; in late summer and fall the vines will have green-to-white berries. Poison ivy is most dangerous in the spring and summer, when they have plenty of sap and a high content of urushiol. However, cases have been reported in people who used the twigs of the plant for firewood or the vines for Christmas wreaths. Even dead plants can cause a reaction, because the oil remains active for several years after the plant dies.

Poison oak

Poison oak grows as a low shrub in the eastern part of the U.S. (from New Jersey to Texas), and as 6-foot-tall clumps or vines up to 30 feet long along the Pacific coast. It has oak-like leaves, usually in clusters of three and clusters of yellow berries.

Treatment if you’re exposed:

  • First, cleanse the exposed skin with generous amounts of isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol. (Note: alcohol removes your skin’s natural protection along with the urushiol, so avoid any additional contact because skin washed with alcohol will allow the urushiol to penetrate twice as fast.)
  • Second, wash the affected area with water.
  • Third, take a regular shower with soap and warm water. Do not use soap before this point because soap tends to pick up some of the urushiol from the skin’s surface and move it around.
  • Clean clothes, shoes, tools and anything else that may have been in contact with the urushiol with alcohol and water, then wash with soap and water. Be sure to protect your hands during this process.
  • To help reduce the itchiness, apply lotions with an anti-inflammatory and cooling effects (talc, calamine). Oral antihistamines can also relieve itching.

Poison ivy blisters don’t contain urushiol, so any oozing fluid is not contagious and will not spread the rash further. A rash will only occur where urushiol has touched the skin. However, the rash may seem to spread if it appears over time instead of all at once, because the urushiol is absorbed at different rates in different parts of the body, is trapped under the fingernails, or because of repeated exposure to contaminated objects.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that people who have had severe reactions in the past to any of these plants, contact a dermatologist as soon as possible after a new exposure.

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