Originally published 01/16/2018
Job, tool, storage and field office trailers are common to most construction sites. You probably take them for granted, but you should be aware that jobsite trailers can be hazardous if installed incorrectly, poorly located or poorly maintained.
How to set up and maintain a safe jobsite trailer:
- Before using the job trailer, you should inspect it to make sure it is safe. Check for holes in the floor, leaking roofs, electrical problems, lighting problems, etc.
- There should be two ways of access and egress on trailers. Make sure there are alternate ways to exit the trailer if a fire should start.
- There must be a legible manufacturer’s data plate. Generally, it is installed in a permanent manner near the main electrical panel.
- After you have chosen a safe trailer, you should find a safe and accessible location to set up. Look for access to power, parking and ways to enter and exit the trailer safely.
- The ground should be solid, stable and have good drainage. You may need to spread some rock and lightly grade the area before setting up.
- When you install the trailer, make sure that it is firmly blocked and level. Some safety codes may require the trailer to be securely tied down to prevent movement by high winds.
- All access and egress points should be accessible by all employees. Ramps and steps should be OSHA-compliant, have hand rails, be level, and be secure and stable.
- Each trailer should have a fire extinguisher mounted and available for quick use, a working smoke detector and a first aid kit.
- A list of emergency numbers should be posted by telephones for quick reference.
- Electrical panels should be labeled and sized to support the electrical load.
- Outdoor receptacles must be approved for outdoor use and be of a gasket-cover type, ground fault-protected (GFCI) type for use in wet weather conditions.
- Trailers with heaters that burn petroleum products should have a Carbon Monoxide (CO) detector installed and operating.
- Waste cans should be made of metal or of an approved fire-resistant material.
- Many trailers have fans to keep them cool in the warmer months. Be sure the fan blades, belt and pulley are properly guarded to prevent injuries to fingers.
Trailers are what you make of them. If their use is well-planned and they are properly installed and maintained, they will make your job easier and more efficient.