Cutting and Welding

Welding and cutting pose several hazards on the jobsite.  Following proper guidelines and wearing appropriate attire, you can eliminate the possibility of an accident.

General Guidelines

  • Whenever possible, move objects to a safe place before heating, cutting, or welding.
  • Remove or effectively screen all fire hazards where the welding job is to take place.
  • Do not cut or weld any steel drum or other vessel that might have contained flammables until it has been steam purged and tested. Flushing with water is not sufficient.
  • Do not apply heat to the inside surface of any piping or vessel unless it is open to the atmosphere to prevent pressure buildup.
  • Where it is necessary to catch falling sparks and slag, use fiberglass blankets or fire-retardant welding tarpaulins.
  • Keep an appropriate type of fire extinguisher available at all times.
  • Make sure there is sufficient general ventilation.
  • Where welding fumes and gases can accumulate, use local exhaust ventilation to remove the contaminants.
  • Proper ventilation is required when using inert gases while welding.

Workers engaged in welding or burning operations MUST wear

Face protectors and safety eyewear to guard against harmful radiation or particles of molten metal, including when chipping and grinding welds

Workers engaged in welding or burning operations SHOULD wear

  • Flame-retardant work clothing, preferably made of cotton or wool fibers
  • Leather gauntlet-type gloves and arm protection
  • An apron made of leather or other suitable material for heavy work
  • Substantial safety footwear made of leather or another equally firm material

IMPORTANT NOTE: Don’t forget the fire watch for at least 30 minutes after work has stopped.


Presenter tips

  • Pre-read the Toolbox Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
  • Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Toolbox Talk relevant to your job site.
  • Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion.

Questions for Discussion

  • What damage can a welding arc do to your eyes?
  • What additional hazards are there when working with stainless steel?

Demolition Safety

Demolition is high-risk work and adequate preparations are required. Falls and premature collapse of structures are the greatest risk.  Communication is the best line of defense to reduce injury. 

NOTE: An Engineering Survey completed by a competent person is required and must be followed prior to the start of demolition operations. You must have, in writing, evidence that this survey has been performed. The survey report must be located at the job site for the duration of the demolition operations.

  • Never enter a building if it appears to be unsafe
  • Verify that services have been locked out (Lock out, verify)
  • Have Hazardous Materials Survey onsite
  •  Make sure public protection is adequate

During Work

  • Ensure air quality if using gas fired equipment
  • Cover, mark and secure all hole openings
  • Watch for impalement hazards, i.e. rebar and nails
  • When cutting steel, secure gas bottles, use flashback arresters and practice good fire prevention, or utilize hot work procedures.
  • Make sure oily rags do not present a fire hazard
  • Do not overload floors with material, they could collapse.
  • Do not demolish walls and floors adjacent to other workers.
  • Use water to reduce dust
  • Delineate area as caution and/or dangerous

Good planning will help reduce potential problems. Have a meeting every morning to review the daily activities and communicated with all employees and subcontractors.  Never assume everybody is on the same page.


Presenter Tips

  • Pre-read the Tool Box Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
  • Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Tool Box Talk relevant to your jobsite.
  • Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion. Funding and support for this project has been provided by the State of Washington, Department of Labor & Industries.

Questions for discussion:

  • When should a floor hole be covered?
  • What is the difference between red and yellow tape?

       

 

 

Diesel Exhaust

Diesel engines provide power to a wide variety of vehicles, heavy equipment and machinery in a large number of industries such as construction, transportation, mining, agriculture and types of manufacturing operations.

Who can be exposed to Diesel Exhaust (DE) and Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM)?

  • Construction workers
  • Heavy equipment operators
  • Bridge and tunnel workers
  • Truck drivers
  • Oil & gas workers, farmworkers, miners, and maintenance garage workers

Short term symptoms of DE/DPM exposure

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Irritation of the eyes, nose and throats

Prolonged exposure of DE/DPM

  • Increased risk of cardiovascular, cardiopulmonary, respiratory disease and lung cancer
  • Some studies have suggested that workers exposed to diesel exhaust are more likely to have chronic respiratory symptoms (such as persistent cough and mucous), bronchitis, and reduced lung capacity

How to minimize DE/DPM exposure

  • Always perform routine maintenance on engines and make necessary upgrades
  • Update systems to cleaner burning engines
  • Provide cabs on equipment with filtered air
  • Install internal ventilation systems to remove harmful diesel fumes. Add other engineering controls; installing engine exhaust filters, installing diesel oxidation catalysts, using special fuels such as biodiesel.
  • Add administrative controls; limiting speeds to minimize congestion traffic, prohibit unnecessary traffic or engine idling, limiting amount and time of vehicles operating in one area so that the area does not exceed ventilation limits.
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration does not have a permissible exposure limit (PEL) but there are PEL’s for some components of Diesel Exhaust including, but not limited to Carbon Monoxide, Nitric Oxide and Nitrogen Dioxide.  Limits found in Air Contaminants Code WAC 296-841.

Presenter tips

  • Pre-read the Toolbox Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
  • Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Toolbox Talk relevant to your job site.
  • Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion.

Questions for Discussion

  • Has anyone been exposed to high levels of DE/DPM? What things does your company do to ensure the safety of it workers when working around diesel engines?

Driver Safe Work Zone

Unexpected traffic delays can be avoided by following specific guidelines at the Traffic Control Zone.

Tips to Allow Minimal Traffic Delays for Drivers

  • Drive through the Traffic Control Zone to ensure that all traffic signs are clearly displayed.
  • Be aware of how the traffic is flowing.  You may need to let more cars through to avoid backing up traffic too far.
  • Always be friendly with drivers.  Smile and sympathize with their traffic delay.
  • Stand alert and attentive. If you give drivers the impression that you are bored with your safety responsibility, drivers will not sense the hazards of road construction.
  • Do not be distracted from your flagging responsibilities.  Give full attention to the traffic.
  • Give ample warning to drivers to stop.  Do not flip the paddle unexpectedly. 
  • Be aware of where the sun is shining.  If the driver has to stare into the sun, they may not see you.
  • If Flaggers are not present, take down ’Flagger Ahead” sign.

Tips for Being Visible to Drivers

  • During daylight hours wear Class II vests.
  • During the hours of darkness, wear a Class II combination which includes high visibility trousers with retro-reflective banding.
  • Stand alone and do not let a group gather around you.

Remember:  Always keep alert and never turn your back to traffic or assume that a driver can see you.


Presenter tips

  • Pre-read the Toolbox Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
  • Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Toolbox Talk relevant to your job site.
  • Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion.

Questions for Discussion

  • Have you ever experienced an unhappy driver?
  • What are other things you can do to make the Traffic Control Zone more driver friendly?

Drywall Installing Safety

Workers who handle drywall sheets are at high risk of overexertion and fall injuries. Drywall installers spend most of the day standing, bending, or stretching.  This work is physically demanding.  

NOTE: Before starting the job, the workers should know the weight of the drywall sheets that they will be using. This is heavy work so clear knowledge and preparation are critical to prevent injuries.

Prepare the Jobsite

  • Keep forklifts, hand trucks, carts, and dollies available to move the drywall to work locations.
  • Minimize the need to move the drywall sheets.  Have the drywall delivered as close as possible to the installation location.
  • Use best work practices that reduce the need for workers to install drywall by hand. Ensure that a drywall lift or jacks are available when working alone.
  • Use PVC-dot grip gloves to reduce the grip force needed to lift, carry, and hold drywall.

Installation Safety

  • Bend the knees instead of the back when lifting, holding or carrying drywall.
  • For vertical hanging, raise the sheet, shift grip to opposite sides of the sheet and then rotate the sheet into a vertical position and secure to the wall.
  • Use two workers to lift large, thick, and heavy sheets.
  • Lift only one sheet at a time.
  • Rotate hanging tasks and other installation tasks (taping, installing trim).
  • Schedule frequent breaks to reduce overexertion hazards.
  • Use drywall lift to place and hold a ceiling sheet.
  • Always retract knife when not in use.
  • Keep work area clear of debris.

Presenter tips

  • Pre-read the Toolbox Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
  • Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Toolbox Talk relevant to your job site.
  • Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion.

Questions for Discussion

  • What should be considered before starting any drywall installation?
  • Why is it important to bend knees when lifting drywall?

Electrical Ground Safety

It is critical to understand where electricity is located on a jobsite in order to avoid electrocutions of electrical workers.

In the Ground

  • Before any digging takes place, even with a shovel, utility locates are required. Some lines are barely beneath the surface.
  • Locates include sewer, telephone, fuel, electric and water lines.
  • Outline / mark your planned dig site in white.
  • Two business days before you dig, CALL 811. Remember, the day you call does not count.
  • Do not dig until all known utilities are marked.
  • Maintain all marks.
  •  Determine the precise location of the marked utilities by hand digging.
  • Dig safely using proven excavating methods.
  • Use handheld digging tools when digging within 24 inches of the outside edge of any underground lines .
  • Emergency excavation is not exempt from calling for locate.
  • Locate marks expire 45 days from the date the excavator provides notice.
  • Use pot-holing, vacuum excavation, or hand tools when digging close to lines.

Best Practices for Maintaining Locate Marks

  • Preserve or protect as much of the original marks as possible.
  • Use off-set staking, in areas where original locate marks will be continuously destroyed by excavation or weather.
  • The off-set staking must be uniformly aligned and must be accurately indicated at the location of the original locate
  • markings.
  • Digital scaled photo, or other permanent scaled imaging or drawings, may be used in areas where original locate
  • marks will be destroyed by excavation or weather.
  • Use white paint to maintain the original markings.
  • Bookend the original locate marks with solid white squares or brackets.

Presenter tips

  • Pre-read the Toolbox Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
  • Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Toolbox Talk relevant to your job site.
  • Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion.

Questions for Discussion

  • What lines are you likely to hit when digging at the surface?
  • What does red concrete indicate?

Electric Powertools and Cords

Use only electrical equipment that is approved for use in the workplace and for the type of work to be performed. The use of approved equipment does not eliminate all dangers if the equipment is damaged or is used in adverse conditions, such as in rain or wet areas.

Electrical hazards are doubly hazardous in that there is not only the chance of electrocution but also; there is the probability that an electric shock will cause an indirect injury such as a fall.

Cord-connected portable equipment and supply cords must be maintained in good condition and be suitable for the task to be performed.

Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) must be used for portable electrical equipment when working outside or in wet or damp conditions.

You may Receive an Electrical Shock

  • From a damaged or defective power tool.
  • From a damaged or defective extension cords.
  • From overloading a switch or over-riding a by-pass.
  • By not grounding electrical equipment.

 

  • Safe Work Procedures

  • Inspect tools, switches, power cords, and electrical fittings for damage prior to each use. Repair or replace damaged equipment.
  • Switch tools off before connecting/disconnecting from the power supply. Disconnect the power supply before making adjustments.
  • Make sure tools are both properly grounded and double-insulated.
  • Grounded tools must have a three-wire cord with a three-prong plug and plugged into a properly grounded three-pole outlet.
  • Do not use a tool where the third (ground) prong is broken off.
  • Do not bypass the tool’s ON/OFF switch by connecting and disconnecting the power cord. Suspend power cords over walkways or working areas wherever possible to eliminate tripping hazards.
  • Do not use extension cords as permanent wiring. They must only be used to temporarily supply power to an area that does not have a power outlet.
  • Do not allow vehicles or equipment to pass over unprotected power cords. Cords should be put into electrical conduits or protected by other means to prevent damage.
  • Keep power cords away from heat, water, and oil.
  • Do not use light-duty power cords for heavy load applications. Do not carry electrical tools by the power cord.
  • Do not disconnect the power supply by pulling or jerking the cord from the outlet. Pulling the cord rather than the plug may result in electric shock.
  • Do not tie knots in power cords. Knots can cause short circuits and electric shocks. Loop the cords or use a twist lock style plug.

  • Do not overload the circuit by plugging multiple power cords into one outlet.

    Remember:   The best way to eliminate an electrical hazard is to act as if each exposure to an electrical hazard may be your last.  Never take electricity for granted, “it’s a killer.”


Presenter tips

  • Pre-read the Toolbox Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
  • Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Toolbox Talk relevant to your job site.
  • Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion.

Questions for Discussion

  • Who is responsible for the company assured grounding program?

Ergonomic Safety

Ergonomics is the science of designing and arranging things that people use so that people will interact with the environment most effectively and safely. Ergonomics means arranging the environment to fit the person. Factors that contribute to ergonomic design include: 

  • The amount of repetition involved with the job 
  • The duration of applied force from pushing, pulling, lifting or gripping 
  • The amount of force exerted or the weight of the load 
  • A person’s posture, reach and grip positions 
  • Heights and distances to working surfaces, materials and supplies 
  • Age, physical stature, weight, physical ability Injuries resulting from poor ergonomic design are sometimes acute, such as sprains, but are often cumulative such as carpel tunnel syndrome. 

Ergonomic Safety Tips

Stretch the muscles every day before starting work. Know your physical limitations. Do not attempt to perform activities when the work environment is not suited to you. 

Back and Legs

Have materials and supplies raised to waist level so bending is minimized. This will help avoid lower back sprains and pulled hamstrings. If bending is required, bend at the knees and use the leg muscles to raise and lower the body. Avoid work conditions where the shoulder blades are compressed. This is common in office environments and tight working areas. Move keyboards away and down to a location where the arms are relaxed and outstretched. Always ask for help if loads are too heavy or awkward. 

Arms, Wrists and Hands

When working with power tools or other hand-held objects, avoid situations where the wrist is bent. The force of the arm should be pointing downward or outward. Carry loads close to the body with a clear line of sight to the travel path. Avoid carrying loads away from the waist or reaching for extended periods. Avoid using tools that vibrate continuously or aggressively, or require prolonged pinching or gripping. Use only the force necessary to perform the job. Rotate tasks and take break from tasks during the work day to avoid vibration for too long a duration. 

Eyes and Neck

Work so that your neck is not tilted or strained. Ensure there is proper lighting in the work areas. If machines, tools, and the workflow are poorly designed, they can place undue stress on tendons, muscles, and nerves. In addition, temperature extremes may aggravate or increase ergonomic stress. Your ability to recognize ergonomic problems on the construction site is the essential first step in correcting these problems and improving construction worker safety and health.  


Presenter tips

  • Pre-read the Toolbox Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
  • Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Toolbox Talk relevant to your job site.
  • Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion.

Questions for Discussion

  • In what areas can you improve your ergonomic safety? 
  • What can be done to improve the ergonomics of your current tasks? 

Excavations and Trenches

Not everyone on a given project is directly involved with trenching.  However, many people work near trenches and excavations.  Excavation safety is not just for workers in the hole.  If you observe an unsafe act, stop work and save someone’s life.  (WAC 296-155 Part N) 

Cave-ins and slough-offs are a major cause of deaths in the construction industry each year.  There have been 15 fatalities related to excavation activities in Washington State during 1998 – 2008. 

Soil collapse (cave-in) 7
Struck by machinery 4
Struck by motor vehicle 1
Struck by falling object 1
Electrocution 1
Fall 1

Precautions

  • Before digging, check for services such as water, gas and electric. always treat services as live or functioning.
  • Excavations deeper than 4 feet must be supported or sloped back to prevent collapse
  • Use ladders for access and egress. Do not climb supports.
  • Those not directly involved, should keep out of the affected area-see new rules WAC 296-155-24611-1-d
  • Keep spoils piles back at least two feet from the excavation edge
  • Ensure stop blocks are fitted when dumpers are tipping into excavations and that they are guided by a signaler
  • Wear your hard hat at all times.
  • Never throw tools or materials to someone in an excavation. Always pass hand to hand or lower them on a rope if the trench is too deep.
  • Excavation inspections must be checked prior to entry at the start of a shift by a competent person

Remember, a cubic yard of earth can weigh 3000 pounds.  


Presenter tips

  • Pre-read the Toolbox Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
  • Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Toolbox Talk relevant to your job site.
  • Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion.

Questions for Discussion

  • What are other hazards besides cave in?
  • How does rail or freezing affect trenching activity? 

Exit Route Safety

An exit route is a continuous and unobstructed path from any point within a workplace to a place of safety.  An exit route consists of three parts:

  • Exit access – portion of an exit route that leads to an exit.
  • Exit – portion of an exit that is generally separated from other areas to provide a protected way of travel to the exit discharge
  • Exit discharge – part of the exit route that leads directly outside or to a street, walkway, refuge area, public way, or open space with access to the outside.

Requirements

  • Each exit route must be a permanent part of the workplace.
  • An exit must be separated by fire resistant materials.  Construction materials used to separate an exit from other parts of the workplace must have a one-hour fire resistance-rating if the exit connects three or fewer stories and a two-hour fire resistance rating if the exit connects four or more stories.
  • The number of exits must be adequate to permit the evacuation of employees. Review Life Safety Code for number of exit routes needed for number of employees on the job-sit.
  • Each exit discharge must lead directly outside or to a street, walkway, refuge area, public area, or open space with access to outside. This area must be large enough to accommodate the job-site occupants likely to use the exit route.
  • An exit door must be unlocked from the inside.
  • Workers must be able to open an exit route door from the inside at all times without keys, tools, or special knowledge.
  • Exit doors must be free of any device or alarm that could restrict emergency use of the exit route if the alarm fails.
  • A side-hinged exit door must be used. The door that connects any room to an exit route must swing out in the direction of exit travel if the room is designed to e occupied by more than 50 workers or if the room is a high hazard area.
  • An exit route must meet minimum height and weight requirements. The ceiling of an exit route must be at least seven feet six inches high.  Any projection from the ceiling must not reach a point less than six feet eight inches from the floor. 
  • An exit access must be at least 28 inches wide at all points. Objects that project into the exit route must not reduce the width of the exit route to less than the minimum width requirements.
  • An outdoor exit route is permitted. The exit must have guardrails to protect unenclosed sides if a fall hazard exists.
  • The outdoor exit must be enclosed if snow or ice is likely to accumulate along the route before it presents a slipping hazard.
  • The outdoor exit must be reasonably straight and have smooth, solid, substantially level walkways.
  • The outdoor exit must not have a dead-end that is longer than 20 feet.

Presenter tips:

  • Pre-read the Tool Box Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
  • Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Tool Box Talk relevant to your jobsite.
  • Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion. Funding and support for this project has been provided by the State of Washington, Department of Labor & Industries.

Questions for Discussion:

  • Describe what it is like to exit an area when it is overcrowded with people.  Imagine if exiting this area was the result of a natural disaster or fire. Why is the number of exits and size important at a job-site?

 

 

Extension Ladder Safety

Ladders are probably the most used and misused piece of access and egress equipment and their usage accounts for a large percentage of accidents. Keep attention to details when working with ladders. Ensure that you choose a ladder that is tall enough for you to safely access your work area or reach your task.  The ladder must also be strong enough to support you and your tools, and suitable for your work environment.  

Inspection

  • Parts must be free of defects; cracks, dents, bends, breaks, splits, sharp edges, corrosion, rust, exposed fiberglass, rot, decay, or excessive wear.
  • Rungs and steps must be free of mud, grease, oil, wet paint, snow, or other slippery substances.
  • Rungs, steps, and side rails must be securely connected.
  • Bolts, rivets, nails, and screws must be secure.
  • Moving parts must move freely without binding or too much play.
  • Safety shoes or padded feet are in good repair and clean, not missing or loose, and not excessively worn.
  • Locking guides or brackets must be properly engaged.
  • Rope tracks must be placed properly in the pulley.
  • Ropes must not be frayed, cut, badly worn or burned, and free of tangles.

Set-up Requirements

  • Make sure you can set up your ladder at the required angle, using the 4-to-1 rule; ensure the ladder is 1 foot away from the wall for every four feet that the ladder rises.
  • If you will be getting off the top of your ladder to access your work area, make sure your ladder’s side rails extend at least 3 feet above the level or upper landing you are accessing.
  • If possible, always dig down instead of building up for footing support or use leg levelers on uneven surfaces.
  • If floor surface is smooth, such as a polished concrete surface, consider securing the ladder at the bottom.
  • Check the load and duty ratings on the manufacturer’s label. Make sure your ladder can handle the combined weight of you and your tools.
  • Use a ladder made of non-conductive materials, such as fiberglass, when doing electrical work.

Ladder Use

  • As a rule, never let your belt buckle go outside of the side rails.
  • You must use a safety belt with a lanyard that is secured to the ladder when doing any work that requires the use of both hands and is done from a ladder more than 25 feet above the ground or floor.

Presenter tips

  • Pre-read the Toolbox Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
  • Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Toolbox Talk relevant to your job site.
  • Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion.

Questions for Discussion

  • What are some other things that can cause you to lose your balance?
  • How do we store ladders when not in use?  I.E. leave them leaning or lay them down

Fall Protection

Falls are the most frequent cause of fatalities in construction and annually account for one of every three construction-related deaths. Fall protection trigger heights will vary depending on the task being performed. The “trigger height” is the minimum height at which fall protection is required. Know the trigger heights for your work and use fall protection as required. 

Fall protection Required Regardless of Height

WAC 296-155-24607 

  • Open sided floors, walkways, platforms, or runways above or adjacent to dangerous equipment. 
  • Floor holes or floor openings into which persons can accidentally walk. 
  • Falls into or onto impalement hazards, such as reinforcing steel (rebar), or exposed steel or wood stakes used to set forms. 
  • Working from boom supported elevated work platforms. WAC 296-869-20045 
  • Working in confined spaces. WAC 296-809-60004 

Fall Protection at Four Feet or More

WAC 296-155-24609 

  • When employees are exposed to fall hazards of four feet or more to the ground or lower level when on a walking/working surface. 
  • Walking/working surface is any area whose dimensions are 45 inches or greater in all directions, through which workers pass or conduct work. 
  • When employees are using stilts 
  • Where employees are working on platforms above the protection of a guardrail system, 
  • While placing or tying reinforcing steel on a vertical face. 
  • While working on a roof with a pitch greater than four in twelve (4:12) 
  • While engaged in work, other than roofing work or leading edge work, on low pitched roofs 
  • While working on a hazardous slope 

Fall Protection at Ten Feet or More

  • WAC 296-155-24611 
  • Engaged in roofing work on a low pitched roof (4:12 or less) 
  • Constructing a leading edge. 
  • Working on any surface that does not meet the definition of a walking/working surface 
  • Engaged in excavation and trenching operations. 
  • Working on scaffolding WAC 296-874-20052 

Understanding the type of work, the working surface, the fall distance and trigger heights will help in the selection of the right fall protection system. 


Presenter tips

  • Pre-read the Toolbox Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
  • Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Toolbox Talk relevant to your job site.
  • Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion.

 

 Questions for Discussion

  • What fall hazards exist in your work area? 
  • Are workers in the area effectively protected from the fall hazards? 

Falling Objects

Falling objects can be tools, equipment, debris or construction materials. Objects falling from above and striking people below cause some of the most serious industrial injuries and account for a number of fatalities every year. Let's look at the problem of how to prevent falling objects. First, is there work being performed overhead? How can accidents be prevented? Here are some basic precautions to be followed: 

  • Warn those below that you're about to begin an overhead task by signs, barricades, and communications. 
  • Don't carry tools or materials up a ladder. Use a hand line, containers, or buckets lifted by a line. 
  • Before raising tools or materials with a hand line, make absolutely sure they are securely fastened so they won't slip out. 
  • When you pile materials on scaffolds, make sure scaffolding and platforms are provided with toe boards so objects don't fall off. 
  • Never throw materials or tools. 
  • Make sure the load being lifted by hand line or scaffold is balanced and that no one is under the load being lifted. 
  • Keep tools and materials away from the edges of platforms and ladders and off railings or window sills. 
  • Don't stick tools in your pockets because, when you bend over or reach, they may fall out. 
  • Practice good housekeeping on the overhead job and keep tools and  materials that are not in use picked up and stored properly. 
  • If the nature of the overhead job involves the danger of falling objects, have the area below cleared, and post the necessary warning signs and rope off the area.

Take a moment and look for these types of hazards and correct them before you or a coworker gets hurt. 


Presenter tips

  • Pre-read the Toolbox Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
  • Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Toolbox Talk relevant to your job site.
  • Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion.

Questions for Discussion

  • Are pallets stacked appropriately? 
  • Are there any stacked loads leaning ready to topple over.? Are there objects on upper floors that could fall off? 
  • Are you walking under a load or lift? 
  • Are you near a hoisted object? 
  • Are there tools unsecured and laying on elevated platforms? 

Fire Extinguisher Systems and Maintenance

The three elements needed to have and maintain a fire are heat, oxygen, and fuel.  Fires are classified as A, B, C and D:

  • CLASS A:  Ordinary combustible material such as wood, paper and trash.
  • CLASS B:  Flammable liquids (and gases) such as gasoline, paints and flammable solvents.
  • CLASS C:  Energized electrical circuits.
  • CLASS D:  Combustible metals like magnesium, sodium and zirconium.

Using the proper fire extinguisher is extremely important and the use of the wrong type may actually spread the fire.  All fire extinguishers have a label to tell you what fires they can extinguish.  A fire extinguisher labeled with “BC” can only be used on Class B or C fires.  “ABC” extinguishers can be used on Class A, B and C fires.

Frequency of Service for Extinguishers

  • All extinguishers must be serviced and tagged annually.
  • Dry Chemical extinguishers must be emptied, serviced and refilled every 6 years by a company specialized in this service.
  • Dry Chemical extinguishers must be hydro tested and serviced every 12 years by a company specialized in this service.
  • A designated person, such as a master mechanic, safety manager, or someone who has been trained should do a visual inspection on a monthly basis.
  • If inspection meets approval, the competent person initials and dates the tag on the extinguisher.
  • Extinguishers are tagged the day of service and are good for 1 year from stamped date.

Inspection Tips for Cartridge Operated Fire Extinguishers

  • Look for dents, deep scratches, cuts and missing parts.
  • If there are any dents or deep scratches in the shell, the extinguisher must be destroyed.
  • If there are cuts on the hose or any missing parts, it needs to be removed from service and repaired.
  • Make sure that the seal is intact, if not it needs to be serviced.
  • Make sure the red indicator button is down, if it has popped up it has been used and needs to be serviced.
  • If the service tag is missing or a year has elapsed from the date punched, it needs to be serviced.
  • If the hose and handle are clogged or damaged it needs to be serviced.
  • If the extinguisher looks good and seal and indicator are in place with the tag up to date, then the fire extinguisher is ready for use.

Inspection Tips for Stored Pressure Extinguishers

  • Look for dents, deep scratches, cuts and missing parts.
  • If there are any dents or deep scratches in the shell, the extinguisher must be destroyed.
  • If there are cuts on the hose or any missing parts, it needs to be serviced.
  • Make sure that the seal is intact.  If not it needs to be serviced.
  • If the needle on the gauge is showing recharge or overcharge it needs to be serviced.
  • If the service tag is missing or a year has elapsed from the date punched, it needs to be serviced.
  • If the handles or safety pin is bent, twisted, or missing it needs to be serviced.
  • If the extinguisher meets the inspection criteria, and pin and seal are intact, an inspection tag with the current date should be attached.  It is ready for use.

Other Helpful Hints

  • If the extinguisher is on a moving vehicle, occasionally turn it upside down and strike it with a rubber mallet to loosen the powder.
  • Never use a water pressure fire extinguisher or a fire hose on an electrical fire.
  • Most extinguishers available for use on construction sites are ABC rated, which means they can be used to fight paper, wood, electrical or flammable liquid type fires.
  • Be sure that access to fire extinguishers is never obstructed and that they are in clearly visible locations.
  • Fire extinguishers must be in the immediate work area when hot work is performed.
  • Only employees trained and proficient in the use of fire extinguishers may use them.  Assure that all employees know how to inspect and use extinguishers.
  • Don’t be a hero!  If a fire is too big, don’t try to attempt putting it out – call the local Fire Department.

Presenter tips

  • Pre-read the Toolbox Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
  • Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Toolbox Talk relevant to your job site.
  • Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion.

Fire Prevention

When workers think of fire prevention, they often think of fire extinguishers and having them close by to prevent a larger fire.  When fire prevention is done right, it eliminates the need of a fire extinguisher. 

Storage of Flammables

Store flammable liquids in a secure storage container

Oily or used rags, flammable or hazardous wastes, such as caustics, acids, harmful dusts or similar materials are to be disposed of into flammable storage containers with covers.

More than 25 gallons of flammable liquids must be stored in an approved cabinet

You Must Know

  • The location of the fire extinguisher nearest to your work area
  • The limitations and proper use of  A, B, C, and D type fire extinguishers
  • Which type of fire extinguisher you should use on each type of fire. Using the wrong extinguisher (e.g., water on burning oil) can cause a fire to spread

Fire Extinguishers

  • Fire extinguishers are to be accessible and visible within 100 feet
  • Fire extinguisher, rated not less than 2A, shall be provided for each 3,000 square feet of a combustible building area.
  • A 2A rated fire extinguisher should be provided for each floor
  • A 10B rated fire extinguisher shall be provided within 50 feet whenever more than 5 gallons of flammable liquids or 5 pounds of flammable gas are being used on the jobsite.
  • All fire extinguishers must be visually inspected monthly and must receive an annual maintenance check. Keep records of all annual maintenance reports and make available upon request. Make sure that a hydrostatic test is conducted per WAC 296-24-59212.  

In Case of Fire

  • Warn others and yell for help if required.
  • Use the proper fire extinguisher if the fire is small.
  • Always call 911 or your local emergency number.  Turn on the fire alarm immediately. Post lookouts to direct firefighters to the fire.

In the case of electrical, propane, or gas fires, the first step is to shut off the supply. Therefore, before commencing work, find out where all the disconnects and main gas valves are located.


Presenter tips

  • Pre-read the Toolbox Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
  • Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Toolbox Talk relevant to your job site.
  • Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion.

Questions for Discussion

  • Do you know where the fire extinguishers are located on this jobsite?
  • Have you ever thrown away oily rags into a garbage can or small container?

First Aid

The priorities of first aid are to; save life, prevent casualty’s condition from getting worse and to seek medical help as soon as possible.  If you know basic first aid, you could save a life. As an employee, you are not required to provide first aid if you are not comfortable.

Before First Aid is Required

  • Each employer must have available at all worksites, where a crew is present, a person or persons holding a valid first-aid certificate
  • All crew leaders, supervisors or persons in direct charge of one or more employees must have a valid first-aid certificate
  • Ensure that the first aid kit is stocked and suitable for the types of injuries that occur in construction
  • Know where the first aid kit is kept
  • Know who the first aid responder and appointed persons are at the job
  • In the event of an injury due a hazardous chemical, know what the SDS indicates for treatment measures
  • Know and understand the procedure for calling the emergency services
  • Know the address of where you are working

When First Aid is Required

  • Remove the worker from the hazard, if safe to do so
  • Call for help 911. Don’t assume someone else already called
  • If necessary, send someone to phone for an ambulance
  • Do not move the worker unless they are in immediate danger
  • Remain with the worker and give reassurance
  • Make the worker as comfortable as possible
  • Do not allow worker to smoke

Other Considerations

If you take something out of the First Aid Kit, let someone know or replace it

REMEMBER IF YOU KNOW FIRST-AID YOU COULD SAVE A LIFE.


Presenter tips

  • Pre-read the Toolbox Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
  • Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Toolbox Talk relevant to your job site.
  • Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion.

Questions for Discussion

  • What should you do until emergency responders arrive?
  • What should you know before an emergency arises?

Flagger Orientation

(MUTCD Signaling & Flaggers 296-155-305 Part E)

Flaggers are to be used only when other means are not adequate to control traffic. All workers are required to have a jobsite orientation. This requirement also applies to flaggers who are working on the jobsite and any workers who will perform flagger duties.  Please use MUTCD for specific requirements.

Briefings Required During Orientation

  • The employer must conduct an orientation to familiarize the flagger with the job site.
  • Outline the flaggers’ responsibilities and location on the job site.
  • Review the motor vehicle and equipment in operation at the site.
  • Review job site traffic patterns.
  • Review the communications and emergency signals to be used between the flaggers and the equipment operators.
  • Discuss specific work zone hazards.
  • Outline the protective equipment that is required to be worn while on the jobsite.
  • Outline the planned equipment and vehicle movements.

Please see MUTCD 296-155-305-7 for a complete list of requirements.

Traffic Control Supervisor

The Traffic Control Supervisor must review the flagging operation and traffic control plan at the start of each job.  In addition, the Traffic Control Supervisor will position the flaggers at the beginning of the day and throughout the day as conditions change.

Specific Safety Rules

  • Workers must wear the required PPE as outlined below.
  • The flaggers’ safety vest must be fully buttoned and or zipped up at all times.
  • Flaggers are to stand on the shoulder of the road under normal flagger duties.
  • Each flagger shall have their flagging card with photo Identification with them whenever flagging.
  • Flaggers shall position themselves so that they are not exposed to traffic or equipment approaching them from behind.

Personal Protective Equipment

  • High visibility hard hat for work performed during the day or night; red, white or other colors per L & I Rules.
  • Proper class of high visibility safety vest with retro reflective material for the type of work performed during the day or night.

Presenter tips

  • Pre-read the Toolbox Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
  • Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Toolbox Talk relevant to your job site.
  • Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion.

Questions for Discussion

  • What should you do when a road user is jeopardizing your or fellow workers safety?
  • What are examples of some changes that would be brought to the supervisor?

Flagging

Traffic control is needed at almost every job-site. This often involves the use of a flagger and a stop/slow paddle. Placing a flagger near traffic is considered a high hazard job and deserves attention.

Unique Washington State Rule

Washington State requires a full set-up of signs. Even short duration (up to one hour), requires a complete set up of signs.  Drivers can be distracted and the warning signs may be just enough to alert the driver to the construction activity and prevent an injury or even worse a fatality. WRD 27.20.

Flagger Highlights

  • All flaggers must have specific orientation to the traffic plan
  • Never assume that a driver sees you 
  • Never take your eye off of the first car until it comes to a complete stop
  • Never flag in an intersection
  • Always position yourself to see approaching traffic
  • Stand alone, stand upright, look alert and project your authority as a flagger
  • Always have an escape route
  • Always carry your flagger card while flagging
  • Wear proper PPE and additional PPE for hours of darkness
  • Be firm and courteous regardless of the road user

You are Responsible to Protect

  • Yourself
  • Fellow workers
  • Motorists
  • Bicyclists
  • Pedestrians

Presenter tips

  • Pre-read the Toolbox Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
  • Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Toolbox Talk relevant to your job site.
  • Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion.

Questions for Discussion

  • What should you do when a road user is jeopardizing you or fellow workers safety?
  • What other concerns do you have on this site?
  • What should you do if cars are not following your directions?

Flagging at Night

Night work flaggers are faced with more challenging and dangerous situations than flaggers working during daylight hours.  Nighttime drivers are more inattentive due to driver fatigue from the completion of the day. It is important for flaggers to remain alert and watch traffic approaching from both directions.

Nighttime Apparel

  • Garment should be able to be seen from 1000 feet.  If not, replace apparel.
  • Hours of darkness are ½ hour after sunrise and ½ hour before sunset.
  • Class 2 or 3 apparel, which meets the ANSI/ISEA 107-1999 standard, and high visibility trousers with retro-reflexive banding which meets the ANSI/ISEA 107-1999 standard.
  • High visibility hardhat with 12 square inches of retro-reflexive banding - 3 inches each side.

Flagger Station

  • The flagger station shall be illuminated but not cause any glare on the road.
  • Consider additional devices or increased sign distances and additional lighting.
  • Locate the station away from other construction activity.

Other Considerations

  • High visibility retro-reflective gloves
  • Flashlight with 8 inch wand
  • 24 inch stop/slow paddle
  • Warmer clothing
  • Warning lights

SPECIAL NOTE: Never assume that a driver sees you.  Do not take your eyes off of the vehicle until it has come to a complete stop.


Presenter tips

  • Pre-read the Toolbox Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
  • Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Toolbox Talk relevant to your job site.
  • Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion.

Questions for Discussion

  • What other reasons are drivers more inattentive at night?
  • What weather conditions make flagging at night more dangerous? 

Gasoline Handling Safety

Gasoline can be used on job-sites for some tools and equipment.  Improper handling of gasoline increases the workers risk for serious injuries and even fatalities.

Gasoline Facts

  • Gasoline does not burn. It is the gasoline vapors that burn.
  • Gasoline evaporates at temperatures as low as 45oF below zero. The higher the temperature, the faster it evaporates, and the heavier the buildup of dangerous vapors. 
  • Gasoline vapors are heavier than air and will collect at the lowest point in an area, unless there's adequate air circulation.  
  • An open flame is not necessary to ignite the gasoline vapors.  One spark is all that is needed.
  • Gasoline can irritate the skin and cause a rash that can become infected. If you get it on your skin, wash it off with water right away.
  • If you get gasoline on your clothing, remove your clothing immediately. You could become a human torch.
  • Do not use gasoline to clean tools or parts, or to remove grease from your hands.
  • Gasoline has an auto-ignition temperature of 536 degrees F. Watch for contact with high temperature items like exhausts and welded parts.

Gasoline Storage

Gasoline must be stored in approved, metal containers

As a reference, see WAC 296-24-33009(2) (a). Only approved containers and portable tanks shall be used.  Metal containers and portable tanks meeting the requirements of and containing products authorized by Chapter I, Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations – October 1, 1972, (regulations issued by the hazardous materials regulations board, department of transportation), shall be deemed acceptable.

Transferring Gasoline from One Container to Another

Transfer gasoline from one container to another only in areas free from open flames, sparks, and where there is proper ventilation. Clean up any spills immediately. Static electricity can be generated while pouring gasoline from one container to another. One method to prevent this build-up of static electricity is to keep the two metal containers in contact with one another. Or better yet, connect the containers with a bonding wire until you have finished pouring. Remember to label your secondary container with a ghs compliant label. 


Presenter tips

  • Pre-read the Toolbox Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
  • Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Toolbox Talk relevant to your job site.
  • Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion.

Questions for Discussion

  • Are plastic containers, sold in convenience stores acceptable for gasoline storage on a construction job-site?
  • Can you clean tools with gasoline?