Toolbox Talks Fire Extinguishers

Need toolbox talks fire extinguishers topics? Here are a few that you will find very useful. Feel free to share these with your crew during your next toolbox talk discussion, however, be sure to edit our general messaging so it’s specific to your own work conditions.

Fire! Quick – Where’s the Fire Extinguisher?

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Need toolbox talks fire extinguishers? Here’s a few that you will find helpful.

Picture yourself in this situation: You are at work, and you smell something burning. A short distance away, you see smoke. You run towards it and you find a small fire burning in a trash can. Would you know what to do? Do you know where the closest fire extinguisher is located? Do you know what type of extinguisher is needed? Is the fire too big for you to put out? Are there people in the area that should be warned of the danger?

These are the types of questions that will be going through your mind should you ever find yourself in that situation. However, remember that you will be stressed and that may impact your ability to react quickly. This is why it’s good practice to be prepared for a fire. Ask yourself right now: Do you know where the closest fire extinguisher is? What type is it? Can you use it on grease or gasoline fires? Why or why not? Is the extinguisher behind a glass door that needs to be broken? Can you break it bare handed (or should you even try)? By knowing the answers to these questions in advance, you’ll know how to react quickly in this emergency situation.

Did you know that the vast majority of portable, handheld fire extinguishers are loaded with a dry chemical powder that will extinguish the majority of fires you might encounter in your daily environment? This powder is not toxic but will make you sneeze and cough if you inhale it. This powder will extinguish Class “A”, “B”, and “C” fires.

Class “A” fires involve material such as paper, plastic, wood and other common combustibles.

Class “B” fires involve grease, oil or gasoline. Dry chemical extinguishers will work, but these fires can be harder to extinguish and should be approached with extreme caution.

Class “C” fires involve burning electrical motors or transformer. This type of fire changes from “C” to Class “A” or “B” as soon as the power is cut off (or shorts out). Dry chemical can be used here also because it will not conduct electricity and will put out “A” or “B” type fires.

Think of a dry chemical extinguisher as spray paint, hair spray, or shaving cream cans – it does not need to be turned upside down to use it. Anytime you need to use a fire extinguisher, remember to sweep the extinguisher’s nozzle back-and-forth at what is actually burning–not at the flames or smoke. The goal is to put a “barrier” between the fuel and the surrounding oxygen.

You should NEVER empty the extinguisher onto the burned item after the flames have stopped. The fire might start again and you would be left without any extinguishing powder. Before you even start trying to extinguish the fire, designate someone to call the fire department. Fire fighters know what to do and what to look for–even after you think you have doused it. There have been cases where fires that were supposedly extinguished, actually came back to life hours later.

You should also know where the fire extinguishers are located throughout your facility or work area. Don’t hang your coat over them, or stack material in front of them. Extinguishers are never needed until they are needed NOW. Keeping them easily visible and easily accessible at all times helps ensure that when a fire emergency occurs, a fire extinguisher can be easily and quickly reached.

Please remember that fire extinguishers are made for relatively small fires. If the fire is too big or moving too fast to control, hold others away and wait for the Fire Department.

Fire Extinguisher Safety

Engineers are checking fire extinguishers
Here are some toolbox talks fire extinguishers topics!

If a fire started on the job today, would you know where to find a fire extinguisher? Would you know how to use it?

Dry chemical extinguishers are effective against flammable liquids and electrical fires. They can also be used on small wood and paper fires.

Remember that the extinguisher is only as effective as the person using it. To extinguish a fire quickly, spray back and forth across the fire in a rapid motion, pushing the flame back and eventually extinguishing it.

Don’t break or tamper with the seal on any extinguisher unless you are going to use it. Once it has been used, it should be replaced immediately, even though the gauge shows only partial discharge. Check extinguishers frequently to ensure they are fully charged and ready to work when you need them.

In case of fire:

  • Keep calm.
  • Report the fire immediately to your supervisor or fire department, giving the location, your name and telephone extension, if applicable.
  • Always consider the safety of all personnel, including yourself; first; then direct your attention to the protection of property.
  • Do you know the phone number to call in a fire emergency?

The ABC’s of Fire Extinguishers

Fire alert on the wall
In need of toolbox talks fire extinguishers topics? Here you go — a few below!

We often talk about how there is a right tool for every job – but did you know that there’s also a right extinguisher for every fire? The class of an extinguisher, identified on its nameplate, corresponds to the class or classes of fire the extinguisher controls. On most construction jobs, we are concerned with Class A, B and C fires.

Consequently, the best extinguisher to have on a job is a multi-purpose Class ABC extinguisher, which contains a dry, powdered chemical under pressure. The following describes the classes of fire and the kind of extinguisher that can be used on each.

Class A Fires

These include wood, paper, trash, and other materials that have glowing embers when they burn.

Extinguisher to Use: For Class A fires, you need to use a Class A or Class ABC extinguisher. Always remember that a Class A extinguisher contains water and should be used only on a Class A fire. Used on gasoline, it can spread the fire; used on electrical fires, it can cause you to be electrocuted.

Class B Fires

These are fires involving flammable liquids and gases, such things as gasoline, solvents, paint thinners, grease, LPG, and acetylene. Extinguisher to Use: Use Class B or Class ABC extinguishers.

Class C Fires

These are fires in energized electrical equipment. Extinguisher to Use: Use a Class BC or Class ABC extinguisher.

Important Tips to Remember

  1. Use the fire extinguisher whose class corresponds to the class of the fire.
  2. Never use a Class A extinguisher, which contains water or foam, on a liquid or electrical fire.
  3. Know where extinguishers are located and how to use them. Follow the directions printed on the label.
  4. Keep the area around the fire extinguisher clear for easy access.
  5. Don’t hide the extinguisher by hanging coats, rope, or other materials on it.
  6. Take care of the extinguishers just as you do your tools.
  7. Never remove tags from extinguishers. They indicate the last time the extinguisher was serviced and inspected.
  8. Report defective or suspect extinguishers to your Supervisor, so that they can be replaced or repaired.
  9. When inspecting extinguishers, look for cracked hoses, plugged nozzles, and corrosion. Also, look for damage that may have been done by equipment running into the extinguishers.
  10. Don’t use extinguishers for purposes other than fighting fires.

Obviously, nobody wants a fire. However, if one starts, know what extinguishers to use and how to use them.

Fire Extinguishers and the Fire Triangle

Fire extinguisher in red cabinet

In order to understand how fire extinguishers work, you first need to know a little bit about fire.

Four things must be present at the same time in order to produce fire:

  • Enough oxygen to sustain combustion
  • Enough heat to raise the material to its ignition temperature
  • Some sort of fuel or combustible material
  • The chemical, exothermic reaction that is fire

Oxygen, heat, and fuel are frequently referred to as the “fire triangle.” Add in the fourth element, the chemical reaction, and you actually have a fire “tetrahedron.” The important thing to remember is take any of these four things away, and you will not have a fire (or the fire will be extinguished).

Fire extinguishers put out fire by taking away one or more elements of the fire triangle/tetrahedron. Fire safety is all about keeping fuel sources and ignition sources separate.

Which Fire Extinguisher Should I Use?

Hand pulling safety pin from red fire extinguisher

Fire prevention and good housekeeping go hand in hand for obvious reasons. As we all know, fires can start anywhere and at anytime — this is why it’s so important to know how to use a fire extinguisher correctly and to know which extinguisher to use for different types of fires.

CLASS ‘A’ FIRES – These fires consist of wood, paper, rags, and ordinary combustible materials. These are all the kinds of materials typically found on a construction site.

  • Recommended Extinguishers – Water, through use of a hose, pump-type water cans, pressurized extinguishers, and (ABC) dry chemical extinguishers.
  • Fighting the Fire – Put lots of water on the fire and soak it completely, even the embers.

CLASS ‘B’ FIRES – These consist of flammable liquids, oil and grease.

  • Recommended Extinguishers – (ABC) dry chemical type, foam, and carbon dioxide. Any of these will do a good job extinguishing the fire.
  • Fighting the Fire – Start at the base of the fire and use a sweeping motion from left to right always keeping the fire in front of you.

CLASS ‘C’ FIRES – Electrical fires, usually involving some type of electrical equipment

  • Recommended Extinguishers – Carbon dioxide and (ABC) dry chemical type.
  • Fighting the Fire – Use short bursts on the fire. When the electrical current is shut off on “Class ‘C’ Fire, it can become a Class ‘A’ Fire if materials around the original fire are ignited.

CLASS ‘D’ FIRES – Combustible metals.

  • Recommended Extinguishers – Special agents approved by recognized testing laboratories.
  • Fighting the Fire – Follow the fire extinguisher manufacture’s recommendations.

The key to fire extinguishers is knowing how to use them correctly. Be sure they’re always available in your work area. It’s too late to go searching for one when a fire breaks out.

A Toolbox Talk about Fire Extinguishers

toolbox talks fire extinguishers

When is the last time you inspected your fire extinguishers? Are they fully charged, easily accessible, visible, and ready for use? Or, are they covered with dust and hidden in some corner providing a false sense of security?

It’s all too common for fire extinguishers to be purchased with enthusiasm. However, because they are not regularly used, the excitement of their presence dwindles. What we fail to remember is that fire extinguishers are our first line of defense in the event of fire – shouldn’t this warrant a periodic and thorough inspection of them? You should always keep Fire extinguishers clean – this way, they attract attention and people can find them easier when needed. Also, they must be kept accessible to eliminate lost time when needed, and the rubber hose, horn or other dispensing component must be checked to guard against blockage.

The following briefly classifies fires and recommends the extinguisher to be used on each type:

  • CLASS “A” FIRES: Ordinary combustible such as rubbish, paper, rags, scrap lumber, etc. These fires require a cooling agent to extinguish it. Recommended extinguishers: Water through use of hose, pump type water cans, pressurized extinguishers.
  • CLASS “B” FIRES: Flammable liquids, oils and grease. Fires that require a smothering effect to extinguish it. Recommended extinguishers: Carbon Dioxide, Dry Chemical and Foam.
  • CLASS “C” FIRES: Electrical equipment; Fires require a non-conducting, extinguishing agent. Recommended extinguishers: Carbon Dioxide and Dry Chemical.

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Toolbox Talks Fire Safety

Looking for toolbox talks fire safety topics? Here are 5 you’ll enjoy — and they should make your day a little safer too. As always, we recommend that you edit our general messaging to make it a little more specific to your own work conditions.

A Toolbox Talk about Fire Safety and Prevention

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Need toolbox talks fire safety topics? Here are a few for you.

As you know, fires are very costly to any industry, but especially the construction industry. So, how can you do your part to prevent them? The best thing to do is observe and comply with fire prevention rules and regulations. If you see a potential fire hazard, report it to your supervisor immediately.

Here are some excellent fire prevention tips to keep in mind:

  • Practice good housekeeping. Properly discard of all trash and litter in areas before they accumulate.
  • Know where fire alarm boxes and extinguishers are located.
  • Know the different types of fire extinguishers and how to use them.
  • Store hazardous materials in designated areas and in proper containers.
  • Keep exits free of obstructions that could prevent people from exiting quickly.
  • Know the proper exits and procedures in case of an emergency.
  • Ensure electrical connections are working properly and grounded.
  • Smoke in designated areas ONLY. Did you know that the temperature of ash is often as high as 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit?
  • Use fireproof receptacles to extinguish smoking materials.
  • Keep equipment clean and use it properly.
  • Handle flammable liquids with caution. Use only approved containers. Paint, paint thinner, alcohol, naphtha, lacquer thinner and gasoline should only be used for their intended purposes.
  • Clean oil and gasoline spills immediately. Place oil-soaked rags in proper safety containers.
  • Fire-resistant covers, spark shields and a fire watch should be used as appropriate to prevent fires.

Protect Yourself From Fires

Sparks during working with steel in the factory
Here’s some toolbox talks fire safety topics for you.

The scary thing about fires is that you can’t really predict when they might happen. Meaning they do not occur with frequency or regularity which is why workers are not particularly concerned about them. Another word for this is complacency. It is difficult to motivate someone to take an active interest in fire prevention when they have never been involved in a serious fire. Workers tend to face other imminent hazards on a daily basis, and fires tend to be the last thing on their mind. This leads to the common misconception that fire prevention is someone else’s problem (hint: it’s not).

Almost every construction worker has at one time or another seen someone injured by a fall or being struck by an object. Very few have seen a person burned in a fire or seen valuable property and months of work reduced to smoke and ashes. It’s for this reason that we need to be reminded regularly of the danger of fires. Here are a fire safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Observe all ‘NO SMOKING’ signs, especially near flammables.
  • Make sure the area is free from all combustibles when burning or welding.
  • Place all construction debris in the proper area for disposal.
  • Know where fire extinguishers are located.

A fire today could mean loss of life, loss of a job, personal injury or property damage. Are you doing your part to prevent one? Check both your job and your home for fire hazards.

Fire Protection Plan Tips

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Need toolbox talks fire safety topics? Here’s a reminder about your fire protection plan.

Constant attention to the fundamentals of fire prevention is vital – especially in the construction industry.

For each job site, a fire protection plan should be developed and contain the following information:

  1. Procedure for reporting fires.
  2. All fire fighting equipment locations should be clearly visible. For multi-level sites, each floor must contain fire extinguishers in clearly marked locations. (Consistent locations floor to floor)
  3. Emergency escape procedures and routes.
  4. Procedure for accounting for personnel
  5. Rescue and medical duties, if applicable.

All workers, subcontractors, property owners, and the local fire department should review the fire protection plan. The plan must also be posted in full view of workers.

The Superintendent/Safety Representative must make fire hazard inspections of the entire project on a regular basis. Immediate correction of substandard conditions is mandatory.

7 Things to Remember to Prevent Fires

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  1. Particular care should be taken when welding and cutting in locations where combustibles are exposed. When such welding or cutting is done, the surrounding area must be protected with fire resistive material and an adequate number of approved fire extinguishers must be immediately available.
  2. The operation and maintenance of temporary heating equipment must create no fire hazards. The use of solid fuel salamanders must be prohibited. Clothing must not be dried or placed on or near heaters.
  3. All flammable and combustible materials must be stored, piled and handled with due regard to their fire characteristics. Flammable liquids must be stored in an approved manner and dispensed only in acceptable safety containers. Welding gases must be stored in isolated areas and segregated by type of gas. Lumber should be stacked in small piles that are interspersed with side aisles. Lumber storage should be as far as possible from any structure.
  4. Temporary shacks or similar structures must be constructed of fire-resistant materials.
  5. Debris must not be allowed to accumulate adjacent to any electrical equipment, buildings or structures.
  6. Personnel must be trained on the types of fire extinguishers and their use.

Fire Safety Reminders

Fire alarm switch

When it comes to fire safety, protection is the name of the game. We need to protect ourselves, co-workers, tools and equipment, storage trailers, and the location where we work in case of fire. So, how can we do this? Here are a few tips:

Report it to the Fire Department:

  • Is the fire department’s emergency phone number posted next to the telephone?

Check Your Fire Extinguishers

  • Are there fire extinguishers available in our work areas?
  • Is there a fire extinguisher in the job truck?
  • Is there a full extinguisher in the job office trailer?
  • Do you have extinguishers and smoke alarms at home?

Flammables and Combustibles Safety

  • Are flammable liquids stored in approved containers?
  • Have combustible materials been removed from all cutting and welding areas?
  • Are ‘No Smoking’ areas posted so all workers know not to smoke in areas where flammable liquids or containers are stored?

Practice Good Housekeeping

  • Clean up all work areas several times per day. Don’t wait until the areas are cluttered.

Know Your Fire Exits and Escape Plans

  • Do you know the one closest to your work area?
  • Do you have a back-up exit in case the first one is blocked?
  • Do you have an escape plan at home?

Check Smoke Alarms

  • Replace batteries twice a year.
  • Test smoke alarms once per month.

Remember that fire protection starts with you. Always plan what to do, who to call and where to go should a fire break out. Do your part to protect yourself and others from fire. It doesn’t take much for a small fire to start and become out of control. With proper training and knowledge, you can protect yourself, your workplace and your home.

The Fire Triangle

Fire tool kit

Let’s talk about what makes a fire and what we can do to prevent one. Fire can be compared to a triangle. What does this mean? Well, three sides are necessary to make a triangle and there are three ingredients needed to cause a fire (1. heat, 2. air, and 3. Fuel). If any one of these three sides are missing, there can be no fire.

Heat

Heat, the first side of the fire triangle, can come from many sources. It can be generated by sparks from welding operations, discarded cigarette butts, electrical shorts, frayed wiring, friction from power tools, and hot exhaust pipes.

Fuel

Fuel, the second side of the fire triangle, may be liquid, such as gasoline or solvents; a solid, such as paper or wood scrap; or a gas, such as propane.

Air

Air, the third side of the fire triangle, contains oxygen that is necessary to sustain a fire. This is one side of the triangle we can’t do much about. Air is usually present. Heat, fuel, and air must be in the proper proportion for fire to occur.

How to Eliminate the Triangle?

Let’s talk about what we can do to prevent the fire triangle from forming. Remember that if you remove any one of the three ingredients, you will prevent or extinguish the fire. We can help prevent fires by doing the following:

  1. Maintain a neat and clean work area.
  2. Put oily or paint-soaked rags in covered metal containers.
  3. Observe all “No Smoking” signs
  4. Keep all combustible materials away from furnaces or other sources of ignition.
  5. Report any fire hazards that can’t be eliminated including electrical hazards.
  6. Arrange cold weather heating devices so that tarps won’t blow into them.

When you know the angles, it’s easier to prevent and control fires. Remember the fire triangle: heat, air, and fuel. When you find these three ingredients present, take heed because a fire could be in the making.

Fire Safety 101

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There’s plenty of air, fuel, and ignition sources – especially on construction sites, so we’ve all got to be on our toes to prevent fire. Here are some ways to keep the job from going up in smoke:

  • Keep the site clean. Store combustible materials away from ignition sources.
  • Report any possible fire hazards: open flames, sparks, and electrical equipment in need of repair.
  • Be sure combustibles are safe from ignition. Have a fire extinguisher handy for welding and cutting operations, or when open flame equipment is used.
  • Protect temporary electric wiring from possible damage. In case of a fire in or near live electrical equipment, use a dry chemical extinguisher, and not water.
  • Don’t smoke near flammables, in “No Smoking” areas, or while re-fueling equipment. Make sure cigarettes and matches are out. Smoke only in designated areas.
  • Use approved safety cans or the original manufacturer’s container to store flammable liquids. Keep these containers closed when not in use, and never store them near exits or passageways.
  • Clean up any spills as soon as they occur. Put saturated rags into closed metal containers.
  • Know where the closest fire-protection equipment is located, and how to use it. Check to see that fire-fighting equipment is in the clear, in proper condition, and ready for instant use.

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Toolbox Talks Scaffolding

Need toolbox talks scaffolding topics? No problem! Here are a few that will make your work day a lot easier (and safer). Remember, you should edit our general messaging to ensure it’s specific to your own work conditions.

Toolbox Talks Scaffolding Inspections

Toolbox Talks Scaffolding

Scaffolding is a temporary, field-erected structure used for working aloft. Because it is temporary and field erected, it is subject to wear and abuse, improper assembly, and unauthorized changes. Construction standards require that a “competent person” inspect scaffolds for defects before every work shift. Yet, in all industries, every worker who works on or around scaffolding should be aware of safety requirements.

The following list includes things to watch for:

  • Scaffolding must be erected on firm footing capable of carrying the maximum intended load. Boxes, barrels, loose concrete blocks or brick must not be used to support the structure.
  • Consideration must be given to the weight the scaffold is to carry. It must be capable of supporting, without failure, four times the maximum intended load. The load includes not only the weight of the people on the scaffold but also any supplies and equipment being used.
  • Scaffolding is naturally unstable because it is usually a tall structure with a narrow base. To counteract this, the scaffold must be braced or tied off to a stable structure such as a ship’s hull or building wall.
  • The planking used must be “scaffold grade.” The wood must be clear, free of loose knots, splits, or other defects. To create a proper work surface, generally 2 planks need to be laid side by side to create a wide work platform
  • Toe boards should be installed along the outer scaffold edge, to prevent tools or materials from falling onto workers below.

Never make any changes to scaffolding yourself. Only designated “Competent Persons” should make modifications. Always check the rules and regulations for your place of operation to ensure compliance.

Scaffolding / Work Platforms

Toolbox Talks Scaffolding
Here are some toolbox talks scaffolding topics — see below.

Inadequate scaffolding is responsible for many construction incidents. Scaffolds should be designed, built and inspected by competent persons. To avoid the use of makeshift platforms, each job should be carefully planned to assure that scaffolding is used when required and that such scaffolding conforms to the applicable regulations.

  • Guardrails, midrails and toeboards must be installed on all open sides of scaffolds.
  • Scaffold planks must be cleated or secured.
  • All scaffolds must be fully planked and constructed to support the load they are designed to carry.
  • All scaffold members must be visually inspected before each use. Damaged scaffold members must be removed from service immediately.
  • Access ladders must be provided for each scaffold. Climbing off the end frames is prohibited unless their design incorporates an approved ladder.
  • Adequate mudsills or other rigid footing, capable of withstanding the maximum intended load must be provided.
  • Scaffolds must be tied off to the building or structure.
  • Scaffold should not be overloaded. Materials should be brought up as needed. Excess materials and scrap should be removed from the scaffold when work is completed.
  • Barrels, boxes, kegs, horses, ladders, loose tile blocks, loose piles of bricks, A-frames or other unstable objects must not be used as work platforms or to support scaffolds. Never use work platforms mounted on top of other work platforms.
  • Where persons are required to work or pass under a scaffold, a screen of wire mesh or equivalent protection is required between the toeboard and the guardrail.
  • Overhead protection is required if workers working on scaffolds are exposed to overhead hazards.
  • Unauthorized personnel must not alter scaffolds or work platforms.

Toolbox Talks Scaffolding Safe Work Practices

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Scaffolds are used every day in construction, providing a place to work from, and used in conjunction

with other scaffolds, they become support structures or platforms to store material. In addition, falls from scaffolds cause injuries ranging from severe sprains or strains to broken bones. Many of these injuries could have been prevented if every person using a scaffold followed some basic guidelines.

  • Follow all local codes, ordinances and regulations pertaining to scaffolding.
  • Be sure you inspect all equipment before use and daily thereafter. Check for cracks or bent parts, connectors, bracing, guardrails, access ladders, and especially footings. NEVER use any equipment that has been damaged. Be sure the scaffold is not overloaded.
  • NEVER ride a rolling scaffold and be sure to lock or block the wheels after moving it.
  • Keep platforms and the area around the scaffold free of debris and unnecessary material or other hazards that could cause you to trip or fall.
  • Be sure to plank all work areas and only use lumber that is graded as scaffold plank.
  • Never allow unsupported ends of planks to extend an unsafe distance beyond supports and be sure all planks are secured so they cannot be dislodged.
  • Fasten all braces securely. Do not mismatch side braces.
  • Provide overhead protection if there is a hazard above the work area.
  • Don’t use scaffolds near power lines.
  • Check access. If your scaffold is not equipped with a built-in ladder be sure to have a safe means to ascend and descend.

Play it safe. Don’t take chances with scaffolding. When in doubt, speak to your Supervisor.

Scaffolding Checklist

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Toolbox talks scaffolding topics can be difficult to find online. Here’s one that you will find helpful.

Are your scaffolders properly certified?

You must make certain that anyone constructing, or directly supervising the workers constructing, any scaffold from which a person or materials could fall is competent to construct the scaffold. This also applies to any alterations to the scaffold or dismantling of the scaffold.

Is the scaffold strong enough for the loads?

Make sure the scaffold is strong enough. Bricklayers, stonemasons, concretors and demolition workers need heavy-duty scaffolds, whereas Carpenters and general trades may need at least medium-duty scaffolds. Check the supplier’s information for the type of scaffolding systems you are using and refer to the regulations for your place of work.

Is the scaffold stable?

Scaffolds can collapse if they are built on soft ground without timber soleplates to properly distribute the load, if they are too close to trenches or excavations, if they are not properly braced and tied to the supporting structure, or if they are badly out of level.

Does the scaffold protect the workers and other people?

Planks must be genuine scaffold planks in good condition, of uniform thickness (to prevent trip hazards) and secured against uplift. Platforms should be fully decked across their full width and free of gaps. Platforms may be required to have guardrails, midrails, and toeboards fixed to each open side and end. Where debris from the work can cause danger, it may be necessary to sheet the scaffold. If unsure, check with your Supervisor about when this is required.

Is there safe access to every scaffold platform?

Properly constructed temporary stairways or ladder access is needed to all working platforms. Climbing up and down the scaffold framework is very dangerous. Ladders must be securely fixed to prevent movement.

Are your scaffolders working safely?

While it is under construction, the scaffold should be isolated from other workers and the public. Stow tools in holders on your belt. Work from a full deck of planks whenever possible. Fix a guardrail for protection and leave it in place until that part of the scaffold is dismantled. Wear appropriate PPE. On large jobs, use a crane to lift scaffold pieces or use a winch or equivalent to reduce manual handling risks. Scaffold must be inspected and tagged ready for use before using.

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Toolbox Talks Fall Protection

Looking for toolbox talks fall protection topics? You’ve come to the right place! Here are 3 toolbox talks fall protection topics that will make your life a lot easier. Please feel free to share these messages with your crew. We would like to remind you to edit the contents so messaging is specific to the work taking place on your job site.

Toolbox Talk on Fall Protection

Industrial safety harness

It is important for you to understand the difference between a fall arrest system and fall restraint system. These are most commonly used in the construction industry, but may apply to many other situations where workers must work at heights.

FALL RESTRAINT: A fall restraint system consists of the equipment used to keep a worker from reaching a fall point, such as the edge of a roof or the edge of an elevated working surface. The most commonly utilized fall restraint system is a standard guardrail. A tie off system that “restrains” the worker from falling off an elevated working surface is another type of fall restraint.

FALL ARREST: A personal fall arrest system means a system used to arrest a worker in a fall from a working level. It consists of an anchor point, connectors, a body belt or body harness and may include a lanyard, deceleration device, lifeline, or suitable combinations of these. The entire system must be capable of withstanding the tremendous impact forces involved in stopping or arresting the fall. The forces increase with the fall distance due to acceleration (a person without protection will free fall 4 feet in 1/2 second and 16 feet in 1 second!).

Let’s review 5 key requirements for fall arrest systems:

  1. Body belts may not be used. A maximum arresting force of 1800 pounds is allowed when a body harness is utilized.
  2. The system must be rigged so that workers can neither free-fall more than 6 feet or contact a lower level. After the free-fall distance, the deceleration or shock-absorbing component of the system must bring a worker to a complete stop within 3.5 additional feet.
  3. The anchorage point must be capable of supporting at least 5000 pounds per worker. Most standard guardrail systems are not adequate anchorage points because they are not built to withstand the impact forces generated by a fall.
  4. The system’s D-ring attachment point for body harnesses must be in the center of the worker’s back near the shoulder level.
  5. The system components must be inspected for damage and deterioration prior to each use. All components subjected to the impact loading forces of a free-fall must be immediately removed from service.

Always consult the regulations applicable to your place of operation. If you have additional questions regarding fall arrest systems, please contact your Safety Manager or local Prevention Division.

Wear Fall Arrest Equipment

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Would you gamble with your life? A lot of people do just that when they fail to inspect their personal fall arrest equipment daily. They gamble that the equipment will save their life if they fall. Wearing fall arrest equipment without inspecting it provides a false sense of security.

This equipment is subject to tremendous loads during a fall, so unless each component is thoroughly inspected and properly used, it may not save your life. Always follow manufacturers’ recommendations when inspecting your equipment. Here are several things to look for.

Belts & Body Harnesses:

  • Thoroughly inspect all nylon webbing on belt/body harnesses for frayed edges, broken fibres, burn marks, deterioration or other visible signs of damage. Do the same if the belt or body harness is constructed of other materials. Stitching should be intact and not torn or loose.
  • The belt or harness should be somewhat “soft” and flexible and not stiff from dirt or contaminants.
  • Check to see that buckles and “D” rings are not distorted or damaged. Look closely at all components for stress cracks, deformity, gouging, corrosion and sharp edges. Inspect connection points where the buckle or “D” ring is attached to the belt or body harness. Ensure that no stitching is pulled and that the buckle or “D” ring is securely attached.
  • Inspect all rivets and grommets to be certain they are not deformed and are securely fastened to the belt or body harness and cannot be pulled loose.
  • If you find any of these conditions during the inspection, do not use the equipment.

Lanyards:

  • Completely check the entire length of the lanyard, looking for cuts, fraying, deterioration, knots, kinks, burns or visible signs of damage. Stitching should be intact and not torn or loose. Spliced ends must also be carefully examined for damage or deterioration. Check to see that the lanyard is somewhat “soft” and not stiff from dirt or contaminants.
  • If using a “shock absorber” type of lanyard, look for the “warning tag” which indicates that the lanyard has been exposed to a fall.
  • Snap hooks and eyes should not be distorted or bent. Inspect them for cracks, sharp edges, gouges or corrosion. Check to be sure the locking mechanism is operating properly and that there is no binding of the mechanism.
  • If using a self-retracting lanyard (SRL), you must inspect the body of the mechanism for flaws to assure that all nuts, screws and rivets are installed and tight. Also, check crimped ends or stitching for damage. Inspect the entire length of the SRL for any visible signs of defects.
  • Test the locking mechanism by pulling sharply on the cable end to be sure it locks immediately and firmly.

If you like to gamble at the card table—okay, but don’t do it with your life!

Fall Arrest and Emergency Procedures

toolbox talks fall protection

Serious physical injury or harness-induced death (suspension trauma) may occur following a fall if the worker remains suspended in the harness. The factors affecting the degree of risk of suspension trauma include:

  • The length of time suspended
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Inability to move legs
  • Fatigue
  • Pain
  • Respiratory disease
  • Shock
  • Dehydration
  • Injuries sustained during the fall
  • Blood loss

Unconscious/immobile workers suspended in their harness will not be able to move their legs and will not fall into a horizontal position. In this static upright position, venous pooling is likely to occur and cause orthostatic intolerance, especially if the suspended worker is left in place for some time. Research has shown that suspension in a fall arrest device can result in unconsciousness, followed by death, in less than 30 minutes.

The amount of time spent in this position affects the manner in which the worker should be rescued. Moving a worker quickly into a horizontal position may cause an abrupt increase in deoxygenated blood flow to the heart, causing cardiac arrest! Rescue procedures must consider this.

Discuss the rescue procedure established for your site; ensure the procedure includes the following contingency-based actions:

  1. Ensure pre-planning has taken place to address this kind of emergency, including establishing an emergency call procedure to ensure timely rescue and emergency first aid.
  2. If self-rescue is impossible or if rescue cannot be performed promptly, the worker must be trained to “pump” his legs frequently to activate the muscles and reduce the risk of venous pooling.
  3. If possible, footholds can be used to alleviate pressure, delay symptoms, and provide support for muscle pumping.
  4. Continuously monitor the suspended worker for signs and symptoms of orthostatic intolerance and trauma.
  5. On rescue, ensure the worker receives emergency first aid. If the worker is unconscious, keep the worker’s air passages open. Transport the worker with the upper body raised if possible.
  6. Monitor the worker after rescue and ensure the worker is evaluated by a health-care professional. Delayed effects are not unusual and are difficult to assess on the scene.

WORKER FALL ARREST TRAINING CHECKLIST

  • Correct use and care of fall arrest systems
  • Proper fit of PPE to ensure it performs as intended
  • Review Job Hazard Assessment (JHA)
  • Methods to reduce risk of falling; the importance of prevention
  • Site-specific emergency rescue procedure
  • Discussion of signs and symptoms of harness-induced trauma or orthostatic intolerance
  • Discussion of factors increasing a worker’s risk
  • Methods to diminish risk while suspended
  • Document training; workers to sign acknowledgement of training

Need more toolbox talks fall protection topics? Click here for more.

Toolbox Talks Slips Trips and Falls

Looking for toolbox talks slips trips and falls? No problem! Here are a few that you are sure to love. Don’t forget to share these topics at your next safety meeting. Remember, you should always edit our general messaging to ensure it’s suitable for the work taking place on your job site.

A Toolbox Talk on the Causes Slips Trips and Falls

Toolbox Talks Slips Trips and Falls
Here’s some Toolbox Talks Slips Trips and Falls – enjoy!

Has this thought ever crossed your mind? The only way to be safe from falls is to avoid them! Avoidance is the key word. Let’s explore just a few of the factors contributing to falls and their serious results. Here are some to think about.

Scaffolds – Never erect a temporary scaffold. Even if the job will only last a very short time, the

scaffold should be erected as if you were going to use it indefinitely. Make sure you install all the cross braces both vertically and horizontally, be sure the scaffold is built on a level surface and fully decked, and don’t forget to provide proper access. Ensure you follow the manufacturer’s specifications when erecting.

Ladders – Select the right ladder for the job. Is it the right size, did you tie it off, did you inspect it prior to use? Always face the ladder when you climb and avoid carrying tools in your hands when climbing — one slip could send you down — use a hand line or pouch for the tools. Never stand on the top two steps. Remember the three-point contact rule.

Floor Openings – Any floor opening measuring 10 inches across or larger must be covered or protection provided by a standard guardrail with toeboard. A cover must be large enough and strong enough to prevent failure and be marked so that everyone on the job will be aware of its purpose. Guardrails must meet minimum strength requirements. Toeboards will prevent tools or materials from falling through the opening and injuring workers below.

Stairways – Slow down — don’t run up or down. Avoid carrying objects that block your view of the steps. To help eliminate falls on stairways take your time, look where you step, and use the handrail. Keep stairways free of clutter to prevent tripping.

Housekeeping – A secure footing is a positive step in avoiding falls and good housekeeping is essential to secure footing. Debris, trash, oil and water left to accumulate on stairs, walkways etcetera, will lead to certain falls. A clean worksite is a safer worksite.

Watch your step! Stay alert!

Avoidance and prevention is your first line of defence.

BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR SLIPPERY SURFACES AND WALKWAYS.

WINTER’S FROST, SNOW & ICE INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF SLIPPING.

Prevent Falls

Please stand here foot sign
Need Toolbox Talks Slips Trips and Falls? Here you go — several below that you’re sure to love!

Each year, falls result in many serious injuries. Let’s spend the next few minutes talking about where falls occur and what we can do to prevent them.

HOUSEKEEPING

Good footing is the best way to avoid falls and good housekeeping is the best way to ensure good footing. Scrap lumber, trash, wire, and slippery areas caused by water, grease, or oil, can cause falls.

LADDERS

Taking ladders for granted has caused many falls. Many workers believe that they can use any ladder for any job. To be safe, however, select a ladder that suits the purpose. Be sure it is in good condition and that you place it securely. Keep both hands free for climbing and always face the ladder when going up or down. Don’t carry tools with you.

SCAFFOLDS

A scaffold should be solidly constructed like a permanent structure, even if it will be used for only a short time. Be sure uprights are uniformly spaced, plumb, and set on a good foundation. Use mudsills. Use horizontal or diagonal bracing to give stability. Provide guardrails and toeboards to help prevent falls. Inspect planking before installation. Whenever you’re on a single-point or a two-point suspended scaffold, wear your safety gear or equipment. Be sure it’s tied to a secure independent lifeline.

FLOOR AND WALL OPENINGS

Depending on their size, cover floor openings or protect them with standard guardrails and toeboards. Also, protect wall openings, except for doorways and stairways through which persons could fall. This protection should be substantial and secured to prevent displacement.

STAIRWAYS

Running, carrying objects that block your view failure to use handrails, or just not paying attention

causes falls on stairways. Watch your step and concentrate on what you are doing.

Remember, it’s not the fall that hurts. It’s the sudden stop.

Fall Causes

Yellow plastic cone with sign showing warning of wet floor

Injury due to falls is a major problem in construction today.

Falls are placed in two categories:

1. Falls on the same level.

2. Falls from different elevation.

First, let’s look at some of the causes of falls on the same level such as slipping, tripping, and bumping into.

  • Slipping could be due to ice on the walk, oil or grease on the floor, a banana peel left over from lunch, a small piece of pipe, a soft drink bottle, or a welding rod stub, just to name a few. We can avoid these hazards in two ways; first, we must practice good housekeeping by keeping our work areas clean and orderly; second, we must be alert and watch our step.
  • An irregular surface, lines or hoses can cause tripping across walkways, tools not in their proper place, poor lighting, and many others. The rules for avoiding tripping hazards are much the same as for slipping hazards; that is, practicing good housekeeping, watching your step, and in addition, keep your safety boots in good condition. Bad soles and heels have caused many falls.
  • Falls caused by bumping into also result in serious injuries. We should be especially careful in hallways, warehouses, and places where blind corners exist. We sometimes get in too much of a hurry; maybe we are late in the morning or in a hurry to get home in the evening. In this rush we go around a corner too fast and collide with another person and we go spinning.

Falls from different elevation are usually more serious than falls on the same level. These too, can be caused by slipping and tripping but are also caused by many other factors such as misjudging a step or a grab bar on a piece of heavy equipment, over-reaching a ladder or scaffold, not tying a ladder off properly, faulty handrails on scaffolds, not using safety belts when we should; you can name many more.

SLIPS & FALLS

Toolbox Talks Slips Trips and Falls

Slips and falls are one of the most frequent causes of incidents, both on and off the job. To avoid getting hurt from falls, avoid rushing and remember the following:

WATCH WHERE YOU WALK

Be aware of where you are walking. Look down continuously for spilled liquids, materials, equipment, changing surface levels, etc. Make sure the area is well lit or use a flashlight if lighting is poor.

WEAR PROPER FOOTWEAR

Make sure your boots are in good shape and correct for the job. Discard worn-out boots with smooth soles and other defects. If conditions are wet and slippery, wear non-slip boots. Avoid footwear with leather soles, which have poor floor traction–especially on smooth surfaces.

CHECK FLOOR OPENINGS

Avoid unguarded floor openings. On construction sites, when covers are placed over floor openings, avoid walking on the cover unless it is secure and will not move or collapse. Never jump over pits or other openings.

BE CAREFUL ON STAIRS

Do not run when going up or down stairs. Ensure stair treads are in good shape, with no obstructions on the steps. Always use the hand railings that are provided. Avoid carrying large loads when going up or down stairs and ensure that stairs are well lit.

USE LADDERS CORRECTLY

Never use broken or defective ladders. Set the angle of the ladder at the proper four-to-one ratio (height to width angle). Make sure the ladder is on solid footing and will not move when you climb upon it. Whenever possible, tie your ladder to the structure to improve stability. Anchorage at the bottom is also a good idea. Never stand on the top two steps of a stepladder.

MAKE SURE SCAFFOLDING IS SAFE TO USE

When working on scaffolding, make sure it is secure, stable and properly set-up. Do not work on scaffolding if guardrails are missing or the base is unstable. Check to see that planks are in good shape and not cracked. Tall scaffolds should be tied into a structure to increase stability.

DON’T JUMP OUT OF VEHICLES

Never jump from equipment or vehicles. Use the handrail and steps provided, remembering the “three-point rule.” Avoid stepping onto loose rocks, slippery surfaces, oil spills, etc.

Watch your step and don’t trip yourself up! Remember, Gravity Always Wins!

Toolbox Talks Slips Trips and Falls For You!

Sign showing warning of caution wet floor

Each year slips and falls injure too many workers. Slipping on the floor is bad enough, but falling from a height can be disastrous. How can falls be prevented? STAY ALERT!

When working at heights, proper guardrails must be used and, where necessary, safety lifelines, lanyards and harnesses must be properly tied off to the structure.

Scaffolding must rest on firm footing with all the bracing installed. When using multi-level staging, the scaffolding must also be anchored to the structure. Scaffold-grade cleated planks, completely covering the working level, are a necessity.

Orderliness plays a big part in preventing slips and falls. Debris lying around on floors and working areas is an open invitation to accidents. Weather increases hazards, particularly in winter when debris becomes snow covered and cannot be seen. Ice conditions create additional dangers. Sand and/or calcium should be applied to icy areas.

Wet weather causes muddy boots, which contribute in turn to slips, and falls. Wipe your boots before climbing steps or entering a work area.

When climbing a ladder, hold on with both hands. When walking downstairs, use the guardrail.

REMEMBER! Your eyes are your best defense against slips and falls. Watch your step and look where you are going.

Need more toolbox talks slips trips and falls topics? Click here for more.

Toolbox Talks on Housekeeping

Need toolbox talks on housekeeping? You’ve come to the right place! Here are a few toolbox talks on housekeeping that you will find very helpful. Remember to share these topics with your crew. Also, we recommend editing our general messaging to ensure it’s suitable for your own work taking place.

Housekeeping is Orderliness on the Job

Man worker in the field by the solar panels
Here are some Toolbox Talks on Housekeeping that you will enjoy.

Have you noticed that on a clean work site, where materials are piled properly and debris is removed daily, the job seems to go much better?

Poor housekeeping around the job is double trouble: it breeds inefficiency and accidents. The primary responsibility for good housekeeping rests with the superintendent, but everyone has an obligation to keep his work area clean.

As you are doing your job, don’t let debris pile up underfoot — remove it at regular intervals. It will speed up your production and lessen your exposure to injury. Moreover, you are required to do so by law. Subcontractors have a big part to play in job orderliness. Stopping to clean up never wastes time. It has to be done sometime, so why not do it when it will benefit you most? It is much easier to work in a clean area than one cluttered with material and scrap.

One part of job orderliness is to remove nails from lumber as you go. By removing or flattening nails at the time, you won’t have to handle the material again and you can prevent a foot injury as well. When setting up machinery or stacking materials, do not use an aisle, passageway or entrance that will prevent or inhibit other people from doing their work or having safe passage.

Remember, a clean job is a safe job!

A Toolbox Talk Reminder About How Poor Housekeeping Creates Tripping Hazards

man trips and falls
Experience a slip, trip and fall at work? Here are Toolbox Talks on Housekeeping that can help prevent that in the future.

As each of us works throughout the job site, our daily needs require extension cords, air compressor hoses, cutting torch hoses and welding leads. Each of these cords or hoses acts as an umbilical cord providing us with the necessary electricity, compressed air, acetylene, oxygen, grounds for welding, and power for the welding stinger. The danger here is that any of these leads can become tangled and creates tripping hazards if they are not placed properly before you start work.

We must take the time to run them underneath walkways, overhead if needed, away from access doors and ramps, and away from pinch points. Leads and hoses are subject to cuts, abrasions, puncture and plain old normal wear and tear. Remember to run leads, cords and hoses out of the way, cover them properly and most of all do not let them become tripping hazards.

Many other objects around the work area are just as dangerous. Have you ever stepped on a screwdriver or a short piece of pipe and felt your feet about to slip out from under you? Did you ever trip over a shovel carelessly left on the ground? Have you ever thought of how well a wire snare works in catching small or large animals? How about your foot?! We must take time to pick up pieces of tie wire, if not, you may be the next one that is snared.

All of the above can be solved if we do a little housekeeping while we work. Cleaning up at the end of the job is fine, in fact, it is essential, but job cleanup is not a one-shot proposition, it is a continuous operation. It is an important factor in construction efficiency and in the prevention of work injuries. Remember these tips — store material and tools neatly cleanup scrap as work progresses, keep walkways clear at all times, and take care of your tools Do not leave them where they will cause you or others to fall.

Toolbox Talk About Housekeeping — it is an Important Part of Work

construction worker practicing good housekeeping
Some additional Toolbox Talks on Housekeeping below — keep reading!

Your employer is not your mother! What do I mean by that, you ask? I mean, just like when you were young, your mother had to remind you to pick up after yourself. Now that you are on your own, you still need to be told sometimes. Housekeeping is a very important part of your job. Not only does it improve the overall appearance of your shop or work area, it shows that you take pride in where you work. The best way that you can help keep your workplace clean is to pick up after yourself! Don’t leave it for the next shift or another craft to worry about.

Here are some reasons to keep your work area clean:

  • You reduce trip and fall hazards.
  • Increased production. You won’t have to waste time looking for a misplaced tool. You will always know where your tools are when you put them where they belong after you use them.
  • If someone falls because of materials you left on the floor, you will feel guilty because you were a causal factor in the accident. Also, the injured worker may want to remind you of that!
  • You reduce a potential fire hazard by removing unneeded combustibles from the work area.

Here are some tips to maintain a clean work area:

  • Plan the job. Make a list of the needed tools/materials. This will help to minimize unnecessary clutter around your work area.
  • Develop a routine for cleaning up at the end of the shift or periodically during the shift.
  • Do not allow workers to eat, drink or smoke in the work area, not only because of litter problems, but also because of hygiene concerns.
  • This is not, by all means, all-inclusive. The point I am trying to make is to take responsibility for yourself and your work area! Remember, a clean work area is a productive work area and enhances safety!

Don’t Overlook Housekeeping at Work – Remind Crews with this Toolbox Talk

Worker cleaning the street
You can never have enough Toolbox Talks on Housekeeping – see below for more.

“You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” Never has this phrase been so true as when it comes to housekeeping at work. The negative impressions and implications of poor housekeeping can affect you and co-workers for a long time to come. Morale is lowered for most people who must function every day in a messy, disorderly work environment, although they may not be aware of the cause.

Safety is an even more critical issue. If your housekeeping habits are poor, the result may be worker injuries-or even death and even difficulty in securing future work. How can such a “minor” issue have such serious consequences?

Here are some results of poor housekeeping practices:

  • Injuries, when workers trip, fall, strike or are struck by out-of-place objects
  • Injuries from using improper tools because the correct tool can’t be found
  • Lowered production because of the time spent manoeuvring over and around someone else’s mess, and time spent looking for proper tools and materials
  • Time spent investigating and reporting accidents that could have been avoided
  • Fires due to improper storage and disposal of flammable or combustible materials and wastes
  • Substandard quality of finished products because of production schedule delays, damaged or defective finishes, ill-equipped workers, etc.
  • Lack of future work due to a reputation for poor quality

General housekeeping rules to remember are:

  • Clean up after yourself. Pick up your trash and debris and dispose of it properly or place it where it will not pose a hazard to others. Institute a routine cleaning schedule.
  • Keep your work area clean throughout the day. This will minimize the amount of time needed to clean a “larger mess” at the end of the day.
  • Dispose of combustibles and flammables properly. If improperly discarded, they will increase the potential for a fire.
  • Remove protruding nails and other sharp objects or hammer them flat to prevent someone from stepping on them or snagging themselves.
  • Stack materials and supplies orderly and secure them so they won’t topple.

Do you value your health and safety, your work reputation, as well as your future employment? If you do, practice these general housekeeping rules.

An uncluttered workplace shows respect for those who work there.

Help keep it that way!

Housekeeping on the Job

Worker cleaning floor with air high pressure machine - Toolbox Talks on Housekeeping
Looking for Toolbox Talks on Housekeeping? Here’s another one you’ll enjoy.

You have a pretty good idea how safe a job is just by looking at it before you start to work. Even a “Sidewalk Superintendent” knows this. A job that looks clean, with everything in its place, is a safe job. That’s all we mean when we talk about job housekeeping. Good housekeeping calls for just two things.

Try to remember them:

FIRST: Keep trash and loose objects picked up and dispose of them.

SECOND: Pile all materials and park all tools and equipment in the places where they belong.

These are the fundamentals of good housekeeping and they’re simple enough. If we don’t follow these two rules, we’re letting ourselves in for trouble.

Putting the rules to work is not so simple. A grand cleanup once a week won’t do the trick. Housekeeping is a job that can’t be put off. We have to do it. It’s up to each individual to be his or her own job housekeeper.

When you see something lying around where it could trip an individual or fall on them, put it in a safe place. Don’t wait for someone else to do it. If it’s something that he or she will be looking for, you can put it safely where they can see it.

You’ve seen jobs, and probably worked on some, where it wasn’t safe to put your foot down without first looking twice to be sure you weren’t going to twist an ankle or run a nail through your shoe. A job like that is poorly run, badly managed. Probably it’s losing money as well as causing accidents.

Some jobs have walkways, aisles, stairs, and ladders by which you get from one place to another. It’s particularly important that these lines of travel be kept safe and clear of loose objects. Workers often carry loads on these routes. They can’t always pick their steps or look around to be sure that nothing is going to trip them or fall on them.

A wet or greasy walkway may cause a bad accident. If you see a treacherous spot, make it your business to do some sweeping, mopping or scraping.

Brick, tile, pipe, steel rods and similar materials scattered about the job or insecurely piled on scaffolds or platforms can cause accidents. All material should be piled in the place set aside for it. Each kind of material has its own characteristic. But some rules for piling apply to all kinds:

First, you have to consider how the material is going to be taken out of the pile. If it’s going to be a fast-moving operation with a big tonnage being unloaded in a short time, be sure to leave space for the worker and the equipment that will have to do the work.

Be courteous. Never pile material in such a way that it will endanger a worker who has to work on it or will make a backbreaking job for the worker who breaks down the pile.

Other points to think about are:

1. The strength of the support if you’re piling material on a floor, platform or scaffold.

2. The stability of the ground if you’re piling a heavy load.

3. The height of the pile so it won’t topple.

4. The need for building racks if it’s pipe or rods you have to stack.

5. The wisdom of waiting for the proper equipment to handle structural steel and other heavy material.

We all know the value of good lighting in job housekeeping. Poor lighting and accidents go together. When you find a light out, report it and get a replacement.

It’s not hard to keep a job clean if all useless material, boxes, scrap lumber, and other trash are picked up and removed regularly. Remember, if they’re allowed to accumulate for even a few days, the job becomes a messy and unsafe place to work.

A Clean Job is a Safe Job

Worker cleaning his work area - Toolbox Talks on Housekeeping
A clean job is a safe job. Here are some Toolbox Talks on Housekeeping that can help prevent a future incident.

‘A clean job is a safe job’ is an old saying that has been around for many years. You may or may not agree completely with the saying, but if you have ever worked at a construction project that was cluttered with scrap material, you do know that good housekeeping plays a big part in maintaining a safe worksite.

Housekeeping requires that during the course of construction, alteration, or repairs, form and scrap lumber with protruding nails, and all other debris, must be kept cleared from work areas, passageways, and stairs in and around buildings or other structures. Combustible scrap and debris must be removed at regular intervals during the course of construction. Safe means must be provided to facilitate such removal. Containers must be provided for the collection and separation of waste, trash, oily and used rags, and other refuse. Containers used for garbage and other oily, flammable, or hazardous wastes, such as caustics, acids, harmful dusts, etc. must be equipped with covers. Garbage and other waste must be disposed of at frequent and regular intervals.

Housekeeping starts at the beginning of the shift and needs to continue throughout the entire workday. Don’t let scrap materials build up — dispose of them daily. Another common housekeeping problem arises with the use of welding leads, air compressor hoses, and extension cords. If placed improperly they become tripping hazards. Keep walkways free for passage.

When stripping forms remember to pull the nails out or bend them over. A protruding nail can cause a nasty puncture wound. Scrap cardboard and packing materials left lying around provide excellent fuel for fires. Pop cans, lunch bags and food scraps or wrappers will attract rodents. Avoid potential fire and health hazards by disposing of these items properly. Housekeeping is a never-ending process. Do your part by keeping your work area and adjacent walkways and stairs clean and orderly.

No doubt about it – if everyone does his or her share, good housekeeping will make Your Job a Safer Job!

Housekeeping at Work

Man in coveralls doing vacuum cleaning
Good Toolbox Talks on Housekeeping are hard to find, which is why you’ll love this one!

Good housekeeping is the first law of incident prevention and should be a primary concern of all supervisors, foremen and the entire workforce. Poor housekeeping often results in unsafe conditions and also implies that the project is poorly managed, and the work being done lacks professionalism. Many incidents and injuries charged to other causes are actually caused by unsafe conditions due to poor housekeeping.

A safe worker knows he can do his best work easier and more quickly if good housekeeping is maintained. Learning the habit of good housekeeping takes practice. The familiar expression ‘a

place for everything and everything in its place’ will assist you in your efforts.

Materials left on the job should be stored in a central location and if possible, stacked out of the way. When cleaning up be sure that all combustible materials are disposed of properly to curtail the possibility of fires. Tripping incident’s can be reduced significantly by frequent clean-ups.

Make it a habit to remove or bend over all nails protruding from scrap lumber to protect against puncture wounds. Sharp-edged and pointed tools should be stored in such a way as to prevent injuries.

Each member of the crew has a responsibility to insure good housekeeping in all phases of his or her work. It’s a lot easier to pick up as you work instead of waiting for the end of the shift. The importance of the relationship between an orderly job and a safe job cannot be over stressed.

We can have clean, well appearing, incident free jobs only if we really want them and insist at everyone cooperates. Good housekeeping requires constant effort and vigilance to make certain the job and equipment are kept in good condition. Are you doing your part?

Remember, good housekeeping promotes safety in the workplace, improves performance, protects you and the public, and just makes good sense.

Need more toolbox talks on housekeeping? Click here for more.

Remember, you can never have enough Toolbox Talks on Housekeeping, so here’s a few more you may enjoy: click here.

Toolbox Talks on PPE

Need toolbox talks on PPE? Here are 4 that you will appreciate – each with a specific focus on Personal Protective Equipment. We all love toolbox talks on PPE, so feel free to use this message during your next toolbox talk discussion.

Toolbox Talk on PPE Clothing

PPE photo
Here are some toolbox talks on PPE.

Every worker is required to wear or use personal protective clothing, equipment or device as is necessary for their protection from the particular hazards to which he is exposed. Personal protective clothing reduces the possibility of injury. Using the proper protective equipment or device can prevent injury to others including:

  • Safety boots must always be worn. Properly rated hard hats are required when there is an overhead or side impact danger.
  • Safety glasses or goggles should be worn when workers are chipping, sanding, welding, cutting, drilling or using power-actuated tools. In fact, they should be worn all the time. Remember, your eyes must last you a lifetime.
  • Cuffs on overalls are not only a nuisance but also a hazard.
  • It is unwise to go without a shirt in summer (check company or client regulations as a shirt may be a mandatory requirement). Even a shirt of thin light material can protect you from minor cuts and scratches and certainly from sunburn.
  • All workers except those working around machinery should wear gloves. Rings, watch chains, key chains and similar items should not be worn on the job since they can be caught in moving machinery.
  • In winter, watch out for parka strings. Always avoid wearing loose, torn or ragged garments.

Take care of your protective clothing if you expect it to take care of you.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Can Save Lives

Safety protective equipment

Business reviews would seem to indicate that today we are spending more for clothing than anytime in history. And yet, we take so much pride in the social aspect of our dress – what about the really important angle? What about the manner in which we dress for work with safety in mind?

  1. Are we meticulous in the protection of our skull, the important guardian of our brain center, through the wearing of a hard hat?
  2. What about our sight, our most important sense? Do we have our eyes examined periodically if necessary, do we use our glasses when reading, and above all, do we cover them with safety goggles when the occasion demands?
  3. The shirt, an important piece of apparel. If we operate, or are engaged around moving machinery and equipment, do we wear short sleeve shirts, or have straight cuffs? The same goes for jackets. Never wear a loose-fitting jacket, keep it buttoned or zippered shut at least chest high.
  4. Our hands are a very vulnerable part of our body. If our work calls for it, do we wear gloves? Also remember, worn or tattered gloves are more dangerous than no gloves at all.
  5. Wearing overalls or pants with cuffed or rolled up legs is a poor practice. If the legs are too long, have them cut off and hemmed. Straight legs reduce the self-tripping hazard.
  6. How about boots? They don’t have to shine with a brilliant luster, but they must be practical. A safe working boot has a thick sole; thin sole boots can result in serious foot punctures. To protect against toe injuries, steel capped boots are most practical. Bootlaces should not be too long.
  7. Watch out for jewelry. It can catch on things, too. Don’t wear loose watch chains, straps, keys on belt, etc., or any item that might hook on something and place you in a hazardous position. Rings, wristlets and other jewelry belong at home and not on the job.

Remember to dress properly for the job you’re doing.

Toolbox Talks on PPE and a Handy Checklist!

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Need toolbox talks on PPE? Here’s one you can share with your crew.

Need a checklist to ensure PPE compliance is in place at your work site? Here’s one you’ll find helpful.

Have you identified your workers’ personal protection needs?

Have a good look at the various types of work, the plant, equipment and chemicals used and the locations where work takes place. Any source of danger to workers’ health or safety needs to be eliminated altogether or, where this is not practicable, the risks must be properly controlled. The best and most foolproof ways to control risk is to isolate the source of danger from people or to use physical or presence-sensing guarding to prevent people from

contacting the danger. But where this can not be done, or when it does not fully control the risk, use properly understood safe work procedures and the right combination of personal protective equipment (PPE) to fully safeguard workers.

Have you posted the necessary personal protection signs?

To be on the safe side, declare the entire site a hardhat and protective footwear area, and post the safety signs for these prominently at site entrances. Signpost any particular areas where workers will need hearing protection, safety glasses, gloves or breathing masks. Post signs and notices in trailers to remind workers of the types of PPE needed for various types of work.

Have you made sure the right PPE has been provided?

If you are using PPE as a way of controlling risks, it is your responsibility to supply your workers with the right equipment. Insist that your supplier provides equipment complying with the appropriate Regulations and all necessary information on the correct fitting, cleaning and maintenance of the equipment. So far as possible, allow your workers to select the particular model so that it gives them maximum personal comfort. Comfortable PPE gets worn, while “one size fits all” PPE, which is uncomfortable, is only worn under sufferance.

Do your workers understand why they need PPE?

Take the time and effort to make sure your workers know what the possible consequences to their health and safety may be if they do not use the right PPE. If they properly understand what can go wrong, they are more likely to use PPE without being constantly told. If workers are reluctant to use PPE, encourage them to help you develop a better way to do the work so that they won’t need PPE.

Are workers trained in the use of PPE?

Some types of PPE have particular, fitting, testing, cleaning and inspecting requirements. Where this is the case, make sure workers have been properly instructed in these procedures and can demonstrate them correctly.

Is PPE use being adequately monitored?

PPE is only as good as the degree to which it is properly used. Providing a worker with PPE, and then failing to make sure it is being used, is simply not good enough. Conduct regular checks. Insist that the rules for PPE are always followed. Take appropriate action to make this stick.

Is PPE being inspected and replaced as necessary?

Faulty PPE is sometimes worse than no PPE because it can give the worker a false sense of security. For example, the use of incompatible components in safety harness systems can cause the “roll out” of snap hooks, which may result in a worker falling to their death. Make sure PPE is checked regularly for serviceability and compatibility.

Do you review your PPE needs?

New products come on to the market that may provide you with a way of controlling risks without the need for PPE any longer. For example, recent innovations in temporary guardrailing systems now mean there is a product to suit most types of roofing work, reducing the need to rely on safety harness systems. Also, new and improved PPE products are regularly being introduced. Keep up to date through trade magazines, your safety equipment supplier and your industry association.

Take Care of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

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Finding toolbox talks on PPE can be difficult. Here is one that you will enjoy.

Depending on the occupational safety and health hazards encountered while performing assigned job tasks, your employer may require you to use properly fitting personal protective equipment (PPE) to avoid injuries and illnesses.

Some of the most common types of PPE are:

• Eye protection

• Face protection

• Hearing protection

• Head protection

• Hand protection

• Foot protection

• Respiratory protection

Each of the above is designed to provide a certain level of protection if used and cared for as intended by the manufacturer. One of the factors that help maintain the level of protection is if the device is kept in a clean and sanitary manner. Usually, unless otherwise directed by the manufacturer, this entails washing the components of the device in warm water with a mild detergent on a regular basis (daily, weekly, monthly as conditions warrant).

If more than one person shares the safety device, it must be cleaned and sanitized after each use.

Cleaning and sanitizing will do no good, however, if the device is not properly stored in-between uses. For instance, safety glasses or face shields which are left out in the open in a dusty or otherwise contaminated environment will become dirty and may compound an injury rather than prevent it (dust falls into eyes from unclean safety glasses). Or a respirator fitted with an organic cartridge, left out on a workbench, will become ineffective as the cartridge absorbs contaminants from the atmosphere.

Most of the devices noted above can be safely stored in re-closable plastic bags, clean cans with lids or storage cupboards with tight-fitting doors.

Personal protective equipment should be inspected frequently, and any defective parts or devices immediately removed from service until repaired and in good operating condition.

Need more toolbox talks on PPE? Click here for more.

Ladder Safety Graphic: Use the Right Ladder for the Job

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Here’s a ladder safety graphic that reminds us about the importance of selecting the right ladder for the job.

How To Use This Graphic

Feel free to use this graphic in any of your safety documents (toolbox talks, safety meetings, etc.). Simply right click on the image, and select “copy image”. Then navigate to your document and paste it in. You can also save this image to your computer by right clicking on it and selecting “save as”.

Need more toolbox talks about ladders? Click here for 5 that you’ll love!

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Graphic: Inspect Ladders Before Use

This graphic provides a great reminder about the importance of inspecting all ladders before use.

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How To Use This Graphic

Feel free to use this graphic in any of your safety documents (toolbox talks, safety meetings, etc.). Simply right click on the image, and select “copy image”. Then navigate to your document and paste it in. You can also save this image to your computer by right clicking on it and selecting “save as”.

Need more toolbox talks about ladders? Click here for 5 that you’ll love!

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Use Three-Point Contact on a Ladder

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When we use ladders regularly on the job, we may be tempted to take a few risks to make the job a little faster. This graphic provides a nice refresher on how to use ladders safely.

How To Use This Graphic

Feel free to use this graphic in any of your safety documents (toolbox talks, safety meetings, etc.). Simply right click on the image, and select “copy image”. Then navigate to your document and paste it in. You can also save this image to your computer by right clicking on it and selecting “save as”.

Need toolbox talks about ladder safety? Click here for more!