Safety First Red and White Sign, Vector Illustration.
You often hear the phrase “Safety First”. It’s usually used as a reminder to “work safely”, or “be safe”. But if you’re really going to be safe, and make the jobsite safe, you have to THINK FIRST. You have to be thoughtful and careful. You have to think about your immediate environment, your work area, procedures, your co-workers, and the hazards involved in your work. Sometimes you’ll have to stop – literally what you’re doing – and think carefully before you take the next step.
Consider the weather: Not only should you keep updated on any severe weather that’s in the area but you should think about how the weather can affect jobsite conditions, and therefore, jobsite safety. Think about conditions like wet surfaces, icy steps, strong winds, or a really hot attic. How does the weather affect your safety, and what can you do to manage or control those effects?
Make a plan: Make a pre-task plan before you do anything. Just doing the pre-task plan forces you to think through the job. Think about the tools and materials you’ll need, the hazards you’ll face or create and the ways you’ll control those hazards. The more complicated the task, the more thought you’ll put into your plan.
Read the instructions: Don’t assume you know how to safely operate every tool. Take a minute to review the instructions and think about how to use the tool properly and safely. As always, ask questions if you need help! For chemicals, read the label, the SDS, and the instructions before you open the container.
Use the right tool: Always use the right tool for the job – you’ll be safer and more efficient. One of the biggest excuses for making do is that the right tool is too far away. While you’re still at the gangbox, think about what you have to do and what you’ll need. Take all the right tools with you and there won’t be making do with the wrong tool.
Figure out what personal protective equipment (ppe) you might need: Are you using the right PPE – the right hard hat, the best earplugs, the right respirator, the proper-length lanyard? Are you sure? How do you know? Think carefully.
Thinking may not be enough if you don’t already understand the facts and details of the situation. Do you need to learn (or re-learn) the facts and the details? Have materials, processes, or equipment changed since you went through training? You should know more about your job and how to do it than anyone else. You need experience and training to get there. Ask questions!