Rainwater Collection and Storage

Rainwater Collection & Storage can be used instead of potable (drinking) water for things like irrigation or flushing toilets. 

Access – Depending on the size of the system access plays a big part in safety. Large collection tanks may require scaffolding or equipment to get workers in and out. Smaller systems may simply use a ladder. It is important that whatever access point ends up being installed is routinely inspected to ensure safety. 

Confined Space 

  • Air Quality – When working in a confined space air quality becomes incredibly important. Proper procedures should be put into place to ensure fresh air is moving through the space during construction. 
  • MSDS & Chemical Exposure – Even with air moving through a confined space, employees are at greater risk of chemical exposure and damaging effects associated to unhealthy building materials. It is critical to review MSDS sheets to be sure we are using the healthiest materials possible. 
  • Lighting – Rainwater storage tanks are enclosed and dark making lighting very important. Lighting helps reduce trips and falls and ensures everyone has a sightline to an access point in case of an emergency. Backup and emergency lighting is very important to put in place in case power is lost. 

Lockout / Tagout – All water lines and electrical lines need to be locked out when workers are inside the rainwater collection tank to prevent engulfment or electrical shock. Engulfment – Rainwater collection tanks are designed to store water. Thus they pose a potential engulfment risk if the tank fills up while workers are stuck inside the space. Proper emergency exit procedures should be put into place before water is ever allowed to enter the tank. 

Overhead Protection – In a large tank materials and equipment will need to be hoisted out meaning we need to pay particular attention to overhead protection. 

Entry Supervision – Provided by trained supervisor to ensure that all confined space hazards are eliminated or minimized and that work is performed in a safe manner with workers instructed about the hazards, precautions, and protective and emergency equipment. 

References: Confined Spaces WAC 296-809-100 through 800, Flammables WAC 296-24-69507, 70007 and Ventilation WAC 296-24-71507 


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

  •  Where is it located? 
  • Which trades may be in a new situation? How is it sequenced? 
  • What equipment & materials are involved? 
  • How is it installed? 
  • How is it operated & maintained?