#56 First Day- Safety Orientation
There’s a lot to get to know about safety on a construction jobsite. Construction is a high-hazard industry and leads all others in injuries and accidents. What’s more important is that you are more likely to suffer an injury in your first year of service than at any other time – 40% of all accidents occur during this period of time.
First of all you need to know that you share responsibilities for safety with your employer. You are paid to work safely and to report any hazardous conditions, immediately. Also, all accidents must be reported to your supervisor immediately, no matter how slight. Accident prevention is part of your job – report any unsafe conditions or practices to your supervisor.
You should receive “Codes of Safe Practices” and advice on how to work safely. You need to know what equipment you are authorized to use. You need to know, you have a right to know, about hazardous chemicals. Are there any on the site? Where are they stored? Will you be required to work with or around any of these? Where can you find a copy of a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) if you need one? What about personal protective equipment? Ask your supervisor about hard hats and suitable protective footwear. Does the job have special fall protection rules? Does the construction site have a fire emergency plan? Are there fire extinguishers available and where are they? What is the plan if there is a fire? What happens if you have an accident? Who will provide first-aid? Where do you go for treatment? You need to ask your supervisor these questions.
Another important subject is Housekeeping. Good housekeeping prevents accidents and fires, and creates an efficient work place. We must all work on housekeeping on a continuous, day-to-day basis. Don’t let it become a job that gets done “when there’s a spare moment”. Remove or bend over nails and deposit all trash and scraps in the proper containers.
Many activities on a construction site require a competent person. Activities that require a competent person include excavating, trenching, entering confined spaces, using scaffolds or fall protection, and some electrical work. The competent person is there in case you have a question in these areas. Your life and health may depend on getting the correct answers.