Saturday, September 1, 2007

LOOK OUT BELOW!

When you are working overhead — on a roof, a ladder, or a scaffold—look out for anyone who may be working below. Most of us would feel pretty bad if we dropped a tool or debris that caused an injury to someone else. Why take a chance? Here are a few ways you can prevent this from happening.

When working overhead, keep track of where your tools are so they don’t get knocked off. As much as possible, they should be kept in your tool belt, or a toolbox or bucket. Don’t take any tools aloft unless you need them for the job you’re doing.

When climbing a ladder, put your tools in a bucket and hoist the bucket to the work area with a rope. Trying to hang onto tools with one hand while climbing a ladder is a sure way to cause injury to someone below—and may cause you to fall from the ladder yourself.

If a power tool is heavy and bulky, tie it off so it can’t slip out of your hands and fall to the ground. Scaffolds should always have a toe board in place so you won’t accidentally kick something on the platform over the side.

When cleaning up scraps or debris while working aloft, don’t throw anything over the edge. All debris should be dropped through a chute, or craned down to the ground in a barrel or other trash container. Resist the temptation to get rid of a bit of trash by tossing it over the side. It’s not enough just to check below to see if the area clear. This is a bad habit both for safety and for housekeeping.

Always avoid injuries to your own head by wearing your hard hat at all times on the job. Hard-hats are mandatory on most construction projects, ship repairing and stevedoring, where there is exposure to head injury from overhead falling objects. This requirement saves many lives each year, and could save yours too if you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Play it safe with your tools and materials when working above ground. Shortcuts often result in incidents that can hurt you and your fellow workers.

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