JOB HAZARD ANALYSIS

A job hazard analysis, task hazard analysis or a hazard analysis by any other term is a planning tool to identify and address hazards before they occur.

IDENTIFY HAZARDS

  • Break down the tasks for the work activity.
  • Identify existing and potential hazards associated within those tasks.
  • Establish preventative measures.

PREVENTATIVE MEASURES

  1. Can you eliminate the hazard? Example: A road closure to traffic is a method of hazard elimination.
  2. Can you implement a substitution? Would using a different piece of equipment minimize the hazard? Example: An aerial lift might be safer than using a ladder.
  3. Is there an engineering control that will work? Examples: Implementing excavation protective systems like a trench box or hydraulic shoring or using wet methods to control silica exposure.
  4. What administrative controls can you implement?
    • Training.
    • Developing work procedures.
    • Signage.
  5. What is the correct personal protection equipment for the specific hazard?

PLANNING

Once you’ve identified the preventative measures, make sure you have the correct tools and equipment available.

  • Is a retractable device better suited than a standard 6-foot lanyard for fall protection?
  • Do you have the correct ladder type and height?
  • Do you need a filter or cartridge respirator?
  • Do you need leather, cut-resistant or chemical gloves?

REVIEW

As the project evolves, so does the hazard analysis process. To be effective, revisit and update the initial assessments as needed.

Download a printable PDF and recording form here.

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

DRIVING ON SNOW AND ICE

When you’re driving in winter weather it is important to make sure your vehicle is ready, and you are prepared to handle adverse road conditions. The following information can help make your drive safer on snow and ice.

TRAVEL

  • Leave for your destination earlier than normal and plan for unexpected delays.
  • Failing to allow enough distance to stop is a major cause of winter driving accidents. Adjust your speed for the conditions and leave yourself additional room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the vehicle in front of you.
  • Bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads will freeze first. If the conditions are wet, shady areas may freeze over.
  • Brake gently to avoid skidding.
  • Do not use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
  • Drive with your lights on to allow other drivers to see you.

MAINTENANCE

  • Replace your windshield wiper blades. Worn wiper blades can smear road spray, obscuring your vision.
  • Keep your windshield washer fluid topped off.
  • Use the appropriate temperature-rated windshield washer fluid.
  • Clean snow and ice off the front and rear windshield; as well as all side windows, mirrors and lights to make sure you can see clearly and be seen by others.

BE PREPARED FOR AN EMERGENCY

  • Top off your vehicle’s fuel. In an emergency, it could be your only heat source.
  • Maintain an emergency kit with:
    • A flashlight.
    • Jumper cables.
    • Flares or emergency lights.
    • A small shovel.
    • Traction material such as sand or cat litter.
    • Additional heavy clothes, gloves and a blanket in the event your clothing becomes wet, or you are stranded for an extended period.

Download a printable PDF and recording form here.

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

SLIPS, TRIPS AND FALLS IN CONSTRUCTION

In 2019, slips, trips, and falls accounted for 28% of the nonfatal work injuries resulting in days away from work in highway, street and bridge construction, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Human factors contribute to 54% of these slips, trips and falls, while unstable or slippery surfaces accounted for 25% of incidents. Significant factors that contribute to slips, trips and falls include:

COMPLACENCY

Focus on where you’re going and what lies ahead. If you consider that we take thousands of steps a day or get in and out of vehicles and equipment multiple times in a day, all these movements add up to tens of thousands in a week and a million movements in a year. Unfortunately, a one-in-a-million chance for injury is entirely possible.

DISTRACTION

Focus on what you’re doing. An object that is too heavy or too cumbersome can become a distraction, limiting your focus on your travel path.

  • Take responsibility for fixing, removing or avoiding hazards in your path.
  • Make sure you can see where you are going.
  • Carry only loads that you can see over.

BODY MECHANICS

Carrying a heavy object changes our center of mass and our walking pattern. The weight, location and method of carrying an object can impact your balance, especially if your:

  • Stride length shortens.
  • Step height lowers.
  • Center of mass shifts.

All of these subtle changes can impact a person’s normal movement patterns and stability, increasing the potential of a slip, trip or fall.

Download a printable PDF and recording form here.

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

Heat Stress is Serious

Originally published on June 20, 2016

Working in a hot environment, such as a construction site, puts stress on the body’s cooling system. When heat is combined with other work stresses – like hard physical labor, loss of fluids, or fatigue – it may lead to heat-related illness, disability or even death. There are three stages to heat-related illness: heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat cramps are painful, brief muscle cramps that are brought on because the body has lost minerals through sweating. If cramping occurs, move to a cool area at once. Loosen clothing and drink cool water or an electrolyte replacement beverage. Seek medical aid if the cramps are severe, or don’t go away.

Heat exhaustion can occur after you’ve been exposed to high temperatures for several days and have become dehydrated. Symptoms include confusion, dizziness, headache, fatigue and sometimes nausea. Without proper intervention, heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke. If you experience heat exhaustion, get out of the heat immediately and rest, preferably in an air-conditioned environment. If you can’t get inside, try to find the nearest cool and shady place. Slowly drink fluids. If possible, lie down with your feet and legs slightly elevated.

Heat stroke is the most serious form of heat illness and is a medical emergency. It often occurs after heat cramps or heat exhaustion are not properly cared for. But it can strike even if you have no previous signs of heat illness.

Heat stroke can kill, or cause damage to the brain and other internal organs. Symptoms are similar to heat exhaustion, but the skin is hot and dry and breathing is deep and fast. The victim may collapse. The body is no longer able to sweat, and the body temperature rises dangerously. If you suspect that someone is a victim of heat stroke – also known as sun stroke – call 911 immediately. Move the victim to a cool area and remove excess clothing while waiting on help to arrive. Fan and spray them with cool water. Offer sips of water if the victim is conscious.

There are things you can do to prevent heat-related illnesses.

  • Drink plenty of fluids. Consider beverages that replace electrolytes. Stay away from beverages with caffeine. Caffeine contributes to dehydration.
  • Slow down in hot weather. Your body’s temperature-regulating system faces a much greater workload when the temperature and humidity are high.
  • If possible, get accustomed to the heat gradually.
  • Dress for hot weather. Light colored clothing reflects heat.
  • Get out of the heat occasionally. Take breaks in a cool, shady location.
  • Eat light, cool meals.

Download the recording form here.

New Construction Worker Safety Tips

Originally published 06/06/2018

New workers think differently than older, more experienced people in the workplace. They are typically inexperienced and may not be familiar with the job tasks or hazards on worksites or in workplaces. New workers are more willing to take unnecessary risks and possibly putting themselves into hazardous situations, without thinking they are, because they are eager to get the job done. They may be new to construction work altogether, and it may be the first job they’ve ever had. They may feel discouraged to ask questions for fear of appearing unknowledgeable to their coworkers and superiors.

It is important for a supervisor to provide new workers with constant interaction along with hands-on training until they are certified or deemed competent for the job at hand. Engaging them to ensure they feel valued and part of the team is also important. It allows them to feel comfortable sharing questions and concerns they may otherwise conceal out of fear of looking incompetent, leading to potential workplace accidents or injuries. Regular safety meetings are a way to keep new workers engaged and feeling like they are able to approach their supervisors with questions, concerns, or ideas they may have for the work they are expected to do.

Training is essential before any work begins. Start with a thorough orientation to the company, the safety rules, emergency procedures, and rights and responsibilities. Document the training, and possibly give a brief quiz at the end of orientation. When supplying workers with personal protective equipment, train them how to use it, educate them on the limitations and show them how to care for and maintain it. Before they can start any work, you must show them how to perform on a job safely. One of the best ways to train workers how to perform jobs safely is to have accurate, well-written safe work practices and safe job procedures. Have an experienced supervisor train them. Engage them by providing specific job-related safety training and specific job procedures for each task they are expected to perform. Train them on hazard recognition and control. One of the keys to safety is to know how to recognize and control hazards.

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Lifting Safety

Originally published 05/29/2018

Construction work can be rough on the body. We perform many tasks that involves pushing, pulling and most dangerous lifting. When similar task are performed without consideration of the damage that can be caused to the body injuries such as pulled or strained muscles not to mention the more serious ones involving ligaments, tendons and other soft tissues that surround the spine. It is important to be aware of the common practices in construction where injuries are most prevalent:

Here are a few ways that injuries commonly occur:

  1. Repetitive lifting.
  2. Twisting while lifting instead of turning our feet.
  3. Falling or slipping while carrying a load.
  4. Losing grip causing the load to shift.
  5. Carrying bulky objects with arms outstretched.
  6. Carrying objects that are too heavy.
  7. Uneven walking surfaces.
  8. Climbing stairs while carrying objects.
  9. Using the spine to do the lifting instead of your legs.

Here are a few tips to follow to help prevent the occurrence of an injury:

  1. Break down loads. Don’t carry entire bundles, break them down.
  2. Use a machine – skid steer, loader, pickup truck, dolly, etc.
  3. Place equipment such as generators, compressors and welders to prevent the need for frequent movement.
  4. Use wagons, dollies to move tool boxes, supplies, crates, etc.
  5. Team lift with a coworker to share the load.
  6. When supplies are delivered, ask the delivery person to unload them as close as possible to where they’re needed.
  7. Pick up trip hazards on stairs or walkways.
  8. Use gravel to make ramps over footings or concrete pad edges.
  9. Wear proper footwear for the jobsite.

Planning ahead and having forethought about the lift can go a long way toward avoiding injuries.

Download a recording form here.