Courtesy of State Compensation Insurance Fund of California
Picture your construction site in your mind. Construction sites can be busy and hectic with many workers and multiple contractors carrying on different yet simultaneous operations. What would happen if these groups never cleaned up after themselves? Trash and debris would pile up to become one large hazardous obstacle course. Imagine how difficult it would be to maneuver around such a site. How would you dodge the falling materials thrown or accidentally pushed over the sides of the building? How you would find your tools and supplies if they were covered by debris from other workers? A construction site with poor housekeeping is not productive nor is it a safe working environment.
Although, the overall safety of a construction site is the ultimate responsibility of the general contractor who maintains the site safety plan and communicates its information to all of the subcontractors on site, every worker on the site is responsible for safety. It’s every worker’s responsibility to know and following the site safety plan, practice good housekeeping, follow recommended work practices, and promptly report and/or correct hazards at the worksite.
If you’re a construction site worker, you must do your part to keep the worksite free of unnecessary clutter and debris that could cause an injury or accident. Try to limit the amount of materials and chemicals onsite to the quantities that you will need. As you go about your daily work, place trash and debris in the proper receptacles located conveniently throughout the job site. Remove combustible materials such as wood and paper from the site promptly. Keep form and scrap lumber with protruding nails cleared away from work areas, passageways, and stairs. Remove or bend over protruding nails prior to disposal and storage.
Keep storage, staging, and work areas, along with all stairs and walkways on the construction site, free of obstructions, and debris. Store tools and materials neatly and out of the way in storage bins or lockers and keep flammable or hazardous wastes in covered, segregated waste containers. Ensure that materials stored on roofs or at heights are secured. Never throw waste, materials, or tools from a building or structure. Debris chutes are a safe means of removing this material from an elevated work site. Guard the area where the material could fall and post signs around the workplace to wear hard hats and watch for falling debris. Place protective guards across areas where workers may could fall or could face an impalement hazard. And, control muddy areas using fill, gravel, boards and plywood, or other means.
You can do your part to keep the worksite a safer place for yourself and your coworkers, if you just remember to clean up as you go and at the end of each shift.