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12 Safety Tips Every Contractor Can Use

March 24, 2017

Cecilia De La Rosa

Cecilia De La Rosa

1. Put Near Misses on Notice

Learn to recognize when you’ve had a near miss. Anyone who has thought, “That was a close call,” has had one.

Are your workers encouraged to always report near misses as soon as possible? A near miss one time could result in an injury the next time.

Safety Fact: More than 29 million Americans seek emergency treatment every year for injuries.

2. Avoid Shocking Experiences

Stop using an electric-powered tool immediately if you feel tingling in your hands or a slight shock.

When using equipment, carrying ladders, or handling materials, use extra care around power lines.

Safety Fact: Electrical shocks account for about 1 of every 20 workplace deaths in the U.S. 

3. Think First To Avoid a Strained Muscle

Don’t take chances when lifting and moving heavy or awkward loads. Get help or use a mechanical aid.

Keep your spine straight when lifting AND when setting down items. Bend your knees, not your waist.

Safety Fact: Overexertion accounts for over 25% of injury costs.

4. Stay Alert for Fatigue

Be aware of when your attention is compromised – decreased focus and response time caused by fatigue creates opportunities for injury.

Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night, as recommended by health experts.

Safety Fact: Nearly 40% of American workers report experiencing fatigue on the job.

5. Use the Right PPE from Head to Toe

Use all the required personal protective equipment (PPE), no matter how small and quick a task may seem.

Never become complacent. Personal protective equipment provides defense against injury, but does not prevent dangerous incidents.

Safety Fact: About 15% of all injuries in the U.S. occur in the workplace.

6. Get the Facts from the Safety Data Sheets

Treat all hazardous materials with respect. Read the substance’s safety data sheet (SDS) to learn the safe way to handle it.

Do not cover or remove labels from products. If you must put a substance into a new container, label it clearly.

Safety Fact: Breathing in a substance is the most common type of exposure that causes injury or health risks.

7. Maintain Your Cool When It’s Hot

Wear long pants, long sleeves, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat when working outdoors on hot, sunny days.

Take breaks to cool off and remember to drink plenty of water, which helps prevent heat illness.

Safety Fact: It takes 5 to 7 days for a person’s body to begin to adjust to hotter, more humid weather.

8. Guard Against Slips, Trips and Falls

Clean up spills or barricade the area immediately. Keep walkways and stairways free of tripping hazards.

Beware of surfaces where a change in traction might occur.

Safety Fact: Contact with equipment or an object is a top cause of accidental injury in the U.S.

9. Treat Wounds with Care

Know where first aid kits are located in the workplace. Clean and bandage even small cuts and scrapes promptly. Wear gloves and wash hands thoroughly if providing care.

Safety Fact: Close to 70% of American workers who experienced hand injuries, were not wearing gloves.

10. Focus on Fire Safety

Store flammable materials and waste properly. Be familiar with workplace emergency procedures. Know where emergency power shutoffs are in your area.

Safety Fact: Workplace fires and explosions kill 200 and injure more than 5,000 workers each year in the U.S.

11. Stack and Store in a Safe Manner

Always stack materials neatly and properly, with larger, heavier items on the bottom. Do not exceed height or quantity restrictions, or overfill storage shelves, racks or bins.

Safety Fact: Safety Works! Safety efforts have reduced the rate of workplace injuries and illnesses by 2/3 over the last 40 years. 

12. Protect your Eyes!

Always wear protective eyewear in situations where eye injury may occur.  Avoid rubbing the eye in the event of an injury. For a minor cut or scratch, rinse the eye with water or a saline solution to remove a foreign body that may be the cause. Seek medical care if no relief. Do not attempt to remove any embedded object. Bandage loosely, avoid applying pressure, and seek medical care.

Safety Fact: For chemicals in the eye call 911. Flush the eye with water for 10 minutes or more. Always flush from the nose to the outer side.

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