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Weekly Toolbox Talk: Safe Before the Storm

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Rain may be good for the farmer, but it can turn the jobsite into a giant mud pie. The rain can ruin materials and supplies and generally make things downright messy. Steel gets slippery, equipment gets stuck, and workers get wet. By covering equipment, materials, tools, supplies and people, rain doesn’t have a chance to do as much damage as it could. One way to eliminate slip- ping hazards is to sweep water out of low areas used as passageways on worksites.

Don’t let everyday winds and unexpected gusts catch you off guard. Wind loves to pick up any- thing it can and sail it away. Think of how many times you carry material such as sheets of sheetrock, plywood or objects that have the potential of flying away with little wind.

Here are some safety tips for dealing with windy days:

When it’s windy, securely tie or weight down supplies and materials. Some gusts can pick up a 4 X 8 ft sheet of rock from the top of a high rise building and carry it several blocks.

Never underestimate what the wind can throw around when working on tall or open buildings, stay away from leading edges, floor openings, and simi- lar drop-offs where the wind could blow you over.

When lightning is around, it’s safer to take shelter earlier rather than later. Very often an electri- cal storm occurs without rain, or a lightning storm precedes the rain. If you’re working on a scaf- fold outside of a building, on top of steel framework, or around other projecting equipment or buildings, the safest thing to do is to seek shelter.

You’ll be reasonably safe from lightning inside a structure, particularly when it’s equipped with lightning rods. You’ll also be fairly safe in an automobile or truck. But never take shelter under an isolated tree or where you’re in contact with a tractor, crane, or other equipment. If you get caught out in the open, stay as low as you can. It’s much safer to be down in a ditch than on top of the ground.

What is your travel route to the job? Is this route passable without water hazard or other challenges? Be very careful when transporting tools and equipment to the project. DO NOT attempt to transport anything to the project without a clear understanding where you are going. DO NOT hesitate to turn around! Be sure you have adequate fuel for the journey. There have been some lines to get gas, so be pre- pared in advance.

• Perform a jobsite safety evaluation
• Review job site access and exits for potential collapse hazards
• Inspect all equipment before use, especially if exposed to water
• Be aware of hazards from exposed nails or broken materials such glass or wood
• Watch for animals that might have enter the construction site during the flood
• Do not touch any electrical locations that might be underwater
• Report all electrical hazards to your supervisor and ask on how to proceed
• Check ground conditions before operating any scissors/boom lifts. Areas exposed to extreme water can be subject to sinkholes/collapse
• Make sure all generators are in a well ventilated area if we use them.
• Check your First Aid Kits and make sure they are complete to help in case they are need it
• Don’t walk into any space with standing high water
• Use proper gloves handling wet material or trash
• Review important contact phone numbers in case incidents need to be reported or someone has to be contacted for emergency
• Report any minor injury so we can properly take proper if need it< • Consult with your supervisor if you need PPE before work begins so he/she can issue accord- ingly.

We might not have been able to discuss all of the safety precautions that you might encounter at your jobsite, but we can surely ask you to stay in contact with your coworkers and supervisor so we can address any situation that arises during our work hours. If you have an emergency at home and you might have to leave early or take days off, please inform your supervisor or any one at MAREK.