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Additional information on many of the topics here is available.

Call Customer Service at 1.800.781.2726.

© Construction Safety Association of Ontario, 2002

ISBN 0-919465-88-9

21 Voyager Court South, Etobicoke, Ontario M9W 5M7
416.674.2726 1.800.781.2726 Fax: 416.674.8866

Index 2

Guidelines for Use 29 Scaffolds - Planks and Decks

4 Eye Protection 30 Scaffolds - Structural Components
P Hearing Protection 31 Suspended Access Equipment - Fall Protection
6 Respirators - Types 32 Suspended Access Equipment - Tiebacks
7 Respirators - Fit 33 Suspended Access Equipment -
Calculating Counterweights
8 Respirators - Maintenance
34 Rigging Hardware
9 Fall Protection - Basic Types
35 Wire Rope - Inspection
10 Fall Protection - Approvals and Inspection
36 Wire Rope - Cable Clips
11 Guardrails
37 Hoisting Signals - Ground Rules
12 Back Care - Basic Lifting
38 Hoisting Signals - Demonstration
13 Back Care - Lifting Sheet Materials
39 Trenching - Soil Types
15 Back Care - Stretching Exercises
40 Trenching - Protection
16 Housekeeping
41 Trenching - Inspection
17 Fire Extinguishers
42 Confined Spaces - Definition
18 Temporary Lighting
43 Confined Spaces - Dangerous Atmospheres
19 Electrical Safety
44 Confined Spaces - Physical Hazards
20 Powerline Contact
45 Hand Tools - Pliers and Wrenches
21 Underground Locates
46 Hand Tools - Screwdrivers
22 Lockout and Tagging
47 Electric Tools - Basic Safety
23 Traffic Control – On Site
48 Electric Tools - Drills
25 Traffic Control – Public Roads
49 Electric Tools - Sabre Saws
25 3-Point Contact -
Getting On and Off Construction Equipment 50 Compressed Gas Cylinders
26 3-Point Contact - 51 Propane
Climbing Up and Down Ladders 52 Carbon Monoxide
27 Step Ladders 53 Temporary Heating
28 Extension Ladders 54 Ultraviolet Radiation
for use

a t ? y? w? What makes a Safety Talk work?

√ Choose a talk suited to site and work conditions.
Wh Wh Ho
What is a Safety Talk?
Don’t give a talk on quick-cut saws when none are
being used on the job.
A safety talk is a hands-on way to remind workers
√ Deliver the talk where it will be most appropriate.
that health and safety are important on the job.
That could be the job office, out on the site, or near
Safety talks deal with specific problems on site. the tools and equipment you are talking about.
They do not replace formal training.
√ Introduce the subject clearly. Let workers know
Through safety talks you can tell workers about exactly what you are going to talk about and why
health and safety requirements for the tools, it’s important to them.
equipment, materials, and procedures they use every
√ Refer to the Safety Talk for information. But
day or for particular jobs.
wherever possible use your own words.
Each safety talk in this book will take about five
√ Connect key points to things your crew is familiar
minutes to present.
with on the project.
Why give a Safety Talk? √ Pinpoint hazards. Talk about what may happen.
Use information from the Safety Talk to explain how
In delivering safety talks, your objective is to help
to control or prevent these hazards.
workers RECOGNIZE and CONTROL hazards on
the project. √ Wherever possible, use real tools, equipment,
material, and jobsite situations to demonstrate key
You may be a supervisor, a health and safety
representative, the member of a joint health and
safety committee, a safety officer, or someone with √ Ask for questions. Answer to the best of your
similar duties. knowledge. Get more information where necessary.
You give safety talks because you are responsible √ Ask workers to demonstrate what they have learned.
for advising workers about any existing or possible
√ Keep a record of each talk delivered. Include date,
danger to their health and safety.
topic, and names of attendees. Photocopy the
Safety talks demonstrate the commitment of employers Report Form at the back of this manual and use it
and workers to health and safety on the job. to keep a record of each session.

The information you present in a Safety Talk may be the only information workers
receive about a particular tool, piece of equipment, type of material, or work procedure
on the project.
In choosing and presenting your talk, do everything you can to help workers remember
and act on the message you deliver.

No one has to tell us that seeing is important. But it’s [Where applicable, review the company policy on
surprising how many jobs we do without protecting providing and replacing safety eyewear.]
our eyes.
Keep your safety glasses on when you wear other
Just think of the eye hazards in construction: protection such as a welding helmet or faceshield.
Why? Because when you lift up the visor or shield
• flying dust and slivers from sawing, chipping,
you may still be exposed to flying chips, dust, or
other hazards on site.
• dirt and grit blown by the wind
Match eyewear to hazard. Goggles that protect you
• welding arcs
from dust may not protect you from splash or radiation.
• ultraviolet radiation from the sun
Eyewear should fit firmly.
• sparks and slag from welding and cutting
• abrasives from sandblasting Clean dirty lenses by using water or a lens cleaning
solution to float the dirt away instead of scratching it
• splash from chemicals and cleansers
into the lenses.
• pipe and wire sticking out of walls
Ensure that pitted or scratched lenses and filters are
• ties and wire hanging down from ceilings.
replaced, since they may impair vision and reduce
We’ve all had dust and dirt in our eyes. Some of us impact resistance.
have been hit in the eye by chips of wood, concrete,
[Review any special requirements with your crew—
or stone.
welding helmets, sandblasting hoods, faceshields, etc.]
A little bigger, a little faster – these particles can
Get your eyes checked every couple of years to make
leave us with limited sight or none at all.
sure that problems haven’t developed or gotten worse.
Eye protection is the answer. To be effective, eye
Protecting your eyes from injury on the job is one of
protection must be properly selected and fitted. Wearing
the easiest things you can do.
the right protection can prevent most eye injuries.
You’ve only got one pair of eyes. Make them last a
Basic eye protection is safety glasses with
sideshields. Your glasses should meet the CSA
standard for impact resistance. This means the [Take a look at eye protection currently used by crew.
frames must be manufactured so that the lens Talk about jobs on the project where eye protection
won’t push through on impact. should be worn.]
Safety eyewear must have the manufacturer’s mark
on the frame and on the lens. For welding, the eye-
wear must also be marked with the “shade” number.
Non-prescription or “plano” eyewear must also be
marked with the CSA logo.
Don’t wear contact lenses on site. Dust and other
particles can get under the surface. If you must wear
contact lenses for medical reasons, wear appropriate
eye protection.

Many construction trades are overexposed to noise. There are two main types: muffs and plugs.
In time, overexposure permanently damages our Muffs are useful for intermittent noisy work because
ability to hear. Older workers can start to feel lonely they are quick and easy to put on and take off.
and frustrated as hearing loss over the years makes
Muffs don’t last forever. Protection and comfort
it tough to communicate with family and friends.
decrease over time. Muff cushions must be replaced
We can slow down or stop hearing loss by taking every year.
Tension in the headband needs to be just right.
It’s important to know that overexposure to noise Too loose... they don’t give you enough protection.
doesn’t necessarily take a long time. Short periods of Too tight... they’re uncomfortable.
very high noise can cause overexposure.
Plugs are light and comfortable for most users. But
For example, working for only 15 minutes with a gas- they have to be put in properly to work right. And your
powered quick-cut saw will lead to overexposure for hands have to be clean to insert or remove them.
that day.
Contaminated earplugs can irritate or infect your ears.
Noise is generally measured in dB(A).
Plugs come in disposable and permanent types.
You should wear hearing protection if you’re exposed Disposables are to be used once and once only.
to average daily noise levels of more than 85 dBA.
[Review any special requirements for hearing
Most power tools and equipment used in construction
protection on the site. Determine what types of
operate well over this level.
protection are being worn. Identify some tasks that
Since it’s difficult to reduce noise levels on site, the require hearing protection on the project.
next best choice is hearing protection. Demonstrate how to fit plugs.]
Respirators 6
A respirator covers your nose and mouth or your Supplied-Air Respirators
entire face and head to keep contaminated air out
A supplied-air respirator does
of your respiratory system.
exactly that.
Respirators range from disposable paper masks to
It supplies air. The air comes
self-contained breathing apparatus with full face
from a cylinder or a compressor.
mask and air cylinder.
These respirators provide the
When respiratory protection is required in construction,
best protection against many
we need to make sure we use the right type.
hazards. But they have their
There are two basic types of respirator: limitations.
√ air purifying With self-contained breathing
√ supplied air. apparatus, there are problems
with weight and the limited
[Show sample of each.]
supply of air. With airline units,
the trailing hose can get
Air-Purifying Respirators
snagged or tangled.
Air-purifying respirators
There are also concerns with the quality of air stored
do exactly what the
in cylinders or supplied by compressors. It may not
name implies. They
be the clean breathable air we need.
purify and filter the air
before you breathe it in. Remember – respirators are the last line of defence.
They do not supply air When engineering controls or ventilation cannot
or oxygen. They can eliminate airborne contaminants, then we resort to
only purify air in the surrounding atmosphere. If oxy- air-purifying or supplied-air respirators.
gen content in the surrounding air is less than 19%,
To protect us, the respirator must be
this respirator can’t help you.
√ suited to the hazard
There are different air-purifying filters for different
hazards. √ properly fitted
√ worn correctly
As always, we have to match the protection to the
hazard. The hazard may be dust from concrete √ properly maintained.
cutting or dust from asbestos removal. It may be mist [Show different types of filters. Review company policy
from spraying latex paint or vapour from spraying on respiratory protection. Ask crew to identify jobs on
oil-based paint. site where respiratory protection is worn. Are there jobs
Each of these hazards may require a different where respiratory protection should be worn but isn’t?]
air-purifying mask, filter, or cartridge. Use only approved respirators. The National Institute
There is no all-purpose air-purifying respirator. for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is a
U.S. agency that approves respirators.
If you’re welding coated metals in a confined space,
for example, an air-purifying respirator won’t protect Wear NIOSH-approved respirators. Look for NIOSH
you. You’ll need a supplied-air respirator. approval numbers on cartridges.
Respirators 7
To provide protection, respirators must fit properly. Positive Pressure Test
Unfortunately, one size does not fit all. √ Put on the facepiece and adjust it to fit
comfortably – snug, not overly tight.
Most manufacturers offer three different sizes of
facepieces, for instance. In some cases, no size from √ Block the exhalation valve. This is usually on
one manufacturer may fit a worker and a different the bottom of the respirator.
brand may be necessary.
√ Try to breathe out.
Even the most expensive respirator won’t protect you
√ The facepiece should puff slightly away from your
if it doesn’t fit right. You must make sure that your
face and stay like that while you hold your breath
respirator doesn’t leak or slip.
for 10 seconds.
Fit must be tested every time you put on the respirator
and throughout your shift.
Either test will detect significant leaks.
Two easy tests can show whether most reusable
respirators fit properly and do not leak: If you find a leak, adjust the facepiece or straps and
repeat the test until you get a good fit.
• negative pressure test
• positive pressure test. Test periodically while you’re wearing the respirator.
Your respirator may get nudged or bumped out of
Negative Pressure Test position while you’re working.

√ Put on the facepiece and adjust it Remember – the protection is only as good as the fit.
to fit comfortably – snug, not overly tight.
√ Block the air inlets. These are usually the filter
openings on the sides of the facepiece.
√ Try to breathe in.
√ If there are no leaks, the facepiece should
collapse slightly and stay like that while you hold
your breath for 10 seconds. Positive
Pressure Test

Pressure Test
Respirators 8
Respirators are like other tools. They need Valves
maintenance to work properly.
Damaged, missing, or poorly seated valves can
The job your respirator does is pretty important. drastically reduce the protection provided by your
So let’s make sure that all the parts are there and respirator.
working right.
Check the inhalation valves.
We should check filters, valves, straps, buckles,
Remove filters and make sure the flapper valve
and facepiece.
(usually a flexible disk) is not missing or damaged.
Make sure that it’s seated properly in the valve
Filters are classified by a letter and a number.
To inspect the exhalation valve, remove the cover at
The letters are
the bottom of the respirator. Check the valve for
N – not resistant to oil damage and proper seating.
R – resistant to oil
Straps and Buckles
P – oil-proof.
Make sure that straps and buckles are free of damage
The numbers are 95, 99, and 100. These measure
and function properly.
efficiency: 95 (95%), 99 (99%), and 100 (99.97%).
With use, filters become harder to breathe through. Facepiece
You’re breathing not only through the filter but also
Check for holes, cracks, and splits.
through the layers of contaminants that build up on
the outside of the filter. Don’t share respirators. It’s not hygienic.
Change filters whenever [With the crew, inspect respirators in use. Make
necessary adjustments, repairs, or replacements.]
- the filter is damaged
- the filter becomes difficult to breathe through.
As gas and organic vapour filters are used, their
ability to remove gases and vapours decreases.
They must be replaced according to a pre-set
schedule determined by the manufacturer.
Leave the contaminated area and change filters right
away if
- you can smell or taste the contaminant through
the filter
- your throat or lungs feel irritated.
Basic Types
Falls are the number one cause of accidental deaths Fall-Arrest System
in construction. And you don’t have to fall far to be
Where other fall protection is not in place, you must
killed or injured.
use a fall-arrest system if you are in danger of falling
Two basic types of fall protection are travel restraint
• more than 3 metres
and fall arrest. Both involve a full body harness.
• into operating machinery
Travel-Restraint System • into water or another liquid
A travel-restraint system keeps you from getting too • into or onto a hazardous substance or object.
close to an unprotected edge. It restrains your travel. A fall-arrest system consists of a full body harness, a
Lifeline and lanyard are adjusted to let you travel lanyard, and a shock absorber.
only so far. When you get to the open edge of a floor You can connect the lanyard
or roof, the system holds you back.
• directly to adequate support OR
A full body harness should be used with travel-restraint
• to a rope grab mounted on an adequately
systems. You can attach the harness directly to a
anchored lifeline.
rope grab on the lifeline or by a lanyard. The lifeline
must be adequately anchored. A full body harness must also be worn and tied off
when you are
• on a rolling scaffold that is being moved
• getting on, working from, or getting off a suspended
platform, suspended scaffold, or bosun’s chair.
Whether you’re using travel restraint or fall arrest,
your lifeline must be adequately anchored. This
means able to support the weight of a small car
(about 3,600 pounds). Fall-arrest loads can be high.
Approvals & Inspection
[This talk should include hands-on inspection of Lanyard
- Fasten it securely to the D-ring on the harness.
If you are exposed to the risk of falling, your safety
- Inspect for fraying, kinking, and loose or broken
harness may be all that keeps you in construction
and out of the hospital.
- Check hardware for rust, cracks, and damage.
Safety harnesses must be approved either by ANSI
(the American National Standards Institute) or CSA - Check shock-absorbing lanyards regularly. Look for
(the Canadian Standards Association). torn stitching on tearaway types. Check other types
for damage such as cracks and loose parts.
Using an approved harness means trusting your life
to equipment that has been designed and tested to
perform the right way.
- Inspect fibre rope lifelines for fraying, burns,
Look for ANSI or CSA labels on lanyards, shock
kinking, cuts, and signs of wear and tear.
absorbers, and rope grabs. The label means that the
equipment has been manufactured to meet high - Check retractable block lifelines for smooth
standards. operation. Pull out line and jerk it suddenly.
Braking action should be immediate and tight.
Before using fall-arrest equipment, check components
carefully. Remember – Any equipment involved in a fall arrest
must be discarded or removed from service until the
manufacturer certifies that all components are safe
Make sure that for reuse.
- hardware and straps are intact and undamaged
- moving parts move freely through their full range of
- webbing is free of burns, cuts, loose or broken
stitching, frayed material, and signs of heat or
chemical damage.
Guardrails 11

Falls are the number one cause of accidental deaths bracing the posts on wooden guardrails and securing
and serious injuries in construction. them to slab floors or other surfaces.
On many sites, guardrails are the most common and For maximum resistance to sideways force, the top
convenient means of fall protection. rail of wooden guardrails should be laid flat.
Where possible, guardrails must be installed along Guardrails can also be wire rope and manufactured
the open edges of roofs and floors, on formwork, systems of metal frames and wire mesh.
scaffolds, and other work surfaces, and wherever
Well-anchored posts are essential. We can use
workers are exposed to the hazard of falling.
vertical shoring jacks, screw-clamp posts, clamp
Openings in floors and flat roofs can be readily binding posts, or posts that fit into sleeves cast right
protected by guardrails. in the slab.
Guardrails must be installed no more than 300 Sometimes guardrails have to be removed to land
millimetres (1 foot) from the open edge. They must material or make installations along floor or roof edges.
be able to withstand all loads specified in the
The open edge should be roped off and marked with
construction regulation (Ontario Regulation 213/91).
warning signs. Workers inside that area must wear
fall protection and be properly tied off.
All guardrails – especially wood guardrails – should
be inspected regularly.
Guardrails are the best method of protecting workers
around openings in floors and roofs.
But sometimes they’re not practical. Securely
fastened covers made of planks, plywood, or steel
plate will have to be used instead. Covers must be
strong enough to support any weight to be reasonably
There’s always the danger that someone will pick up
the plywood to use somewhere else. Workers have
even removed covers from openings and then fallen
That’s why covers should be clearly identified in
bright paint with warning signs. DO NOT REMOVE.
Posts supporting a wooden guardrail should be no DANGER! HOLE IN FLOOR. Whatever it takes.
more than 8 feet apart. There are different ways of [Review types of guardrail used on site. Ask your
crew to identify any other areas where guardrails
should be installed.]
Back Care 12
Basic Lifting
Back, neck, and shoulder injuries are common in Pick up your feet and pivot to turn. Don’t twist your
construction. back.
That’s because we do a lot of lifting – and not always Lower the load. Maintain the curve in your lower back.
with the best technique or from the best position. You can hurt your back just as easily lowering a
Lifting is hard enough. Lifting in cramped or awkward load as lifting it.
conditions only makes it more difficult.
You can minimize the stress on your back...
What’s the right way to lift? if you lift correctly.
[Mention and demonstrate the following steps.] For a two-person lift, partners should be about the
same height to distribute the load evenly. They
Plan your move.
should agree beforehand on
- Size up the load.
- type of lift (waist-high, shoulder-high, etc.)
- Make sure the pathway is clear.
- who will take charge
- Get help if you need it.
- how they will lower the load.
- Use a dolly or other materials handling equipment
Let’s wind up with a few more tips.
wherever you can.
• Avoid lifting above shoulder height. This causes
Get as close to the load as possible. This is very
your back to arch and puts a lot of stress on your
important. Our lifting capacity is reduced the further
shoulder and on the small joints in your spine.
away we are from the load.
• Don’t try to catch falling objects. Your muscles
Put yourself in the best possible position for the lift.
may not have time to coordinate properly to
Try to avoid twisting from the waist, reaching out,
protect your spine.
and leaning over material or equipment when you lift.
Use a wide-balanced stance with one foot slightly • Push rather than pull. Pushing lets you maintain
ahead of the other. the normal curves in your back and puts less
stress on the spine.
Tighten your stomach muscles as you start to lift.
[Ask your crew about typical lifts on the job. Review
Keep your lower back in its normal curved position
the materials handling equipment available.]
and use your legs to lift.
Back Care 13
Lifting Sheet Materials
When you handle large sheet materials like plywood, Let’s start with lifting sheet material off a pile.
the right technique is important. It helps when the
[Describe and demonstrate the following steps.]
sheets are stacked at a convenient height or stored
up off the ground on blocking or trestles.

To lift sheet material off the floor,

this is one method.
[Describe and demonstrate
the method.]

Bend knees, keeping back Tip sheet up to Lift sheet slightly and put
as upright as possible. horizontal position. toe under mid-point.

To carry sheet material a distance,

use a carrying handle.

If the walking surface is level and

hard, use a drywall cart.

Bend at knees, keeping Stand and lift, maintaining

back upright. Slip free the normal curve in your
hand under sheet. low back.
Back Care 15
Stretching Exercises
[Before you give this talk, read the card over and learn Knee to Chest
to do each exercise. During the talk, demonstrate
Support yourself securely with one hand.
each exercise to the group. After each demonstration,
With your free hand, pull your knee toward
ask the group to do the exercise.
your chest and hold it for 30 seconds. Lower
CAUTION: Participation is voluntary only. If workers your leg to the ground and repeat with the
have any doubts or concerns about the exercises, other leg. Repeat three times for each leg.
they should not participate. If they experience any pain
during the exercises, they should stop immediately.] Hip Stretch

Getting ready for the job means more than lining up Stand with one foot in front of the other.
tools and material. Place your hands just above the knee of
your front leg. Gently bend your front
We should get our muscles ready too. Exercising before knee. Keep your back foot flat on the floor.
work can help prevent back, neck, and shoulder injuries. Hold 20-30 seconds. Repeat with other
Warm up first. This helps to get your muscles warm leg. Repeat three times for each leg.
and loose. A warm muscle is a lot less likely to tear Thigh Stretch
than a cold one.
Support yourself securely with one hand.
March in Place With your free hand, bend your leg back
and grasp your ankle. Gently pull your ankle
Stand in position. Pump arms and
towards your body. Keep your trunk straight.
legs in opposite directions. Make
Hold 20 to 30 seconds. Then repeat with the
sure that your heels touch the ground.
other leg. Repeat three times for each leg.
Continue 3 to 5 minutes.
Calf Stretch
Arm Circles
Stand slightly away from a solid support and
Stand with arms raised lean on it with your outstretched hands.
horizontally and slightly in Bend one leg forward and extend the
front of shoulders, palms other leg straight behind you. Slowly move
down, and feet shoulder- your hips forward. Keep the heel of your
width apart. Rotate arms in back leg on the ground. Hold 30 seconds,
forward circular motion for relax, and repeat with the other leg.
15 seconds. Relax. Repeat three times for each leg.
Repeat 3 to 5 times.
Hamstring Stretch
[These exercises should be performed in a slow,
controlled manner and held in a sustained stretch Put the back of your heel on a platform at a
for 20-30 seconds. Avoid bouncy, jerky movements. comfortable height. Bend your supporting leg
Stretch only to a comfortable position, not to the slightly. Looking straight ahead, slowly bend
point of pain.] forward at the hips until you feel a good
stretch at the back of your raised leg.
Now we’re ready for some stretching exercises.
Hold 30 seconds and repeat with other
leg. Repeat three times for each leg.
Housekeeping 16

Housekeeping on the job means cleaning up scrap Housekeeping starts with you and me. What can we
and debris, putting it in containers, and making sure do about it?
the containers are emptied regularly. It also means
• Clean up as work proceeds.
proper storage of materials and equipment.
• Keep equipment and the areas around equipment
We don’t do this to make the site look good. free of scrap and debris.
Housekeeping helps prevent accidents and injuries. • Keep stairways, ramps, and other travel areas
We all know how fast rubbish accumulates on
site – scrap lumber, broken bricks, pieces of drywall, • Secure loose or light material stored on roofs and
garbage from coffee breaks and lunches. open floors to keep it from blowing away in the wind.
• Don’t let material fall from any level of the project.
Construction rubbish is often irregular in shape, hard
Use an enclosed chute or lower the material in
to handle, and full of sharp objects.
One of the biggest problems is packaging. Too often • Keep material at least 1.8 metres or 6 feet away
it gets removed from material and left where it falls. from floor and roof openings, floor and roof edges,
This creates tripping and slipping hazards. It also excavations, and trenches.
makes other hazards difficult to see. Even worse, it • Store material so that it won’t roll or slide in the
invites more mess. When the site isn’t cleaned up, direction of the opening. Use blocking if necessary.
no one cares about leaving garbage where it drops. • Before handling used lumber, remove or bend
When that happens, you can’t see faulty wiring, over any protruding nails and chip away hardened
protruding nails, damaged flooring, or missing concrete.
scaffold planks. • Housekeeping is especially important when it
comes to fire prevention. Flammable rubbish and
Tools and material can get misplaced in a cluttered
debris should be immediately removed from the
work area.
vicinity of welding, flame cutting, propane heating,
How can you concentrate on your work when you’re or other ignition sources.
worried about slipping, falling, or tripping on debris
A clean site may not always be a safe site. But
underfoot? Production and installation time go up
housekeeping is a good way to start improving health
while quality tails off.
and safety on the job.
Mess also makes it difficult to use materials handling
[Review housekeeping problems unique to your
equipment. As a result, more material gets handled
crew. Ask about housekeeping problems in other
manually. This increases the risk of injury and damage.
areas on site. Are there enough garbage containers,
bins, dumpsters?]

The law says that every worker who may be required For most construction operations, a 4A40BC
to use a fire extinguisher must be trained to use it. extinguisher will do the job.
That’s why we’re here today.
Extinguishers have a very short duration of discharge
On a construction site, fire extinguishers must be – usually less than 60 seconds.
√ accessible Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire and direct the
spray back and forth in a rapid sweeping motion until
√ inspected regularly
the fire is extinguished.
√ promptly refilled after use.
The idea is to extinguish the flames at their source.
Extinguishers should be located
Once you’ve used an extinguisher, report it
• where flammable materials are stored, handled, or immediately to your supervisor.
We should all know how to operate a fire extinguisher
• where temporary oil or gas fired equipment is before a fire starts.
being used
Let’s look at an extinguisher here on the job and see
• where welding or open flame cutting is being done just how it works.
• on each storey of an enclosed building being [Point out principal features of extinguisher and how each
constructed or renovated works. Identify location of fire extinguishers on site.]
• in shops for at least every 325 square metres
(2,400 square feet) of floor area.
Fire extinguishers are classified according to their
capacity to fight specific kinds of fire.
Class A For fires in ordinary combustible materials
such as wood and paper where you need a
quenching, cooling effect.
Class B For flammable liquid and gas fires such as
oil, gasoline, paint, and grease where you
need oxygen exclusion or flame interruption.
Class C For fires involving electrical wiring and
equipment where you need a non-conductive
extinguishing agent.
Class D For fires in combustible metals such as
sodium, magnesium, and potassium.

Temporary lighting is essential in buildings under Temporary lighting can present hazards.
• Avoid contact with the wires strung for temporary
Areas where we work or walk on site, including exits lighting. Frequent relocation of circuits can loosen
and entrances, must be adequately lit. connections, break insulation, and create other
hazards that may lead to shock or electrocution.
A lighting level of 55 lux (5 foot candles) is
recommended. • Do not use temporary lighting circuits as exten-
sion cords. If a fuse blows, it can be dangerous to
That means 150-watt light bulbs
find your way to the panel in the dark.
- suspended 2.4 metres or 8 feet high and
• Make sure that exposed wires do not contact steel
- 7.5 metres or 25 feet apart door frames. Temporary lines often pass through
OR doors that may accidentally close on them.

- suspended 3 metres or 10 feet high and • Be careful not to bump stringers with ladders,
lengths of pipe, scaffold frames, or other objects
- 6 metres or 20 feet apart.
that can cause electrical contact and shock.
With lower wattage bulbs we can reduce the space
[With your crew, review the following checklist.]
between bulbs. But bulbs lower than 100 watts are
not recommended. • Are work areas well lit?
Bulbs should be installed so that they light as large • Are burned-out bulbs promptly replaced?
an area as possible. They must be protected by
• Are they replaced with new bulbs or bulbs merely
cages to guard against accidental damage.
taken from another location?
Branch lighting circuits that feed temporary lighting
• Are stringers promptly relocated when bulbs are
should be kept entirely separate from power circuits
blocked by the installation of new ceilings, ducts,
except for a common supply.
piping, and other equipment?
Branch lighting circuits should be protected by a
• Are lamp holders hard-usage type?
breaker or fuse with a 15-amp rating. The circuits
should be hard-wired directly into a distribution panel • Are electrical feed lines for sockets supported
by a qualified electrician. every 1.4 metres (4 feet, 6 inches)?
Make it your business to replace missing or burned- [Deficiencies should be corrected or brought to the
out bulbs. To work safely, we must be able to see in attention of the general contractor.]
stairwells, basements, and other areas.

We use electricity every day on the job. This kind • Never cut off, bend back, or cheat the ground pin
of familiarity can create a false sense of security. on three-prong plugs.
Remember that electricity is always a potential
• Make sure that extension cords are the right
source of danger.
gauge for the job to prevent overheating, voltage
The basic rule is simple: Consider all electrical wires drops, and tool burnout.
and equipment live until they are tested and proven
• Use cords fitted with dead front plugs. These
present less risk of shock and shortcircuit than
There are three basic areas where we need to watch open front plugs.
for electrical hazards on the job:
√ tools
√ cords
√ panels.
• Use only tools that are properly grounded or
double-insulated. • Do not use cords that are defective or have been
improperly repaired.
• Make sure the casings of double-insulated tools
are not cracked or broken. • Do not wire cords into outlets. Disconnecting
takes too long in an emergency.
• Always use a ground fault circuit interrupter
(GFCI) with portable electric tools used outdoors • Protect cords from traffic.
or in damp or wet locations. GFCIs detect current [Inspect sample tools and cords used on the job.
leaking to ground from a tool or cord and shut off Show labels indicating double insulation.
power before injury or damage can occur. Demonstrate and explain how a circuit-tester and
• Any shock or tingle, no matter how slight, means GFCI can be used to test cords, tools, and outlets.]
that the tool or equipment should be checked and Panels
• Temporary panel boards must be securely mounted,
• Never bypass broken switches on tools or in a lockable enclosure, protected from weather
equipment by plugging and unplugging the cord. and water, accessible to workers, and kept clear
Shutting off power will take too long in an of obstructions.
• Use only fuses or breakers of the recommended
• Before drilling, nailing, cutting, or sawing into amperage.
walls, ceilings, and floors, check for electrical
wires or equipment. • Follow regulated procedures for locking out and
tagging panels when required by standard work or
Cords emergency situations.
• Make sure that tool cords, extension cords, and [Inspect sample tools and cords for wear and damage.
plugs are in good condition. Review other potential electrical hazards on site.]

Contact with overhead powerlines is a major cause In Case of Contact

of fatal accidents in construction. The equipment
• Keep everyone away from equipment in contact
involved is often a backhoe, dump truck, boom truck,
with powerline.
crane, or excavator. But rolling scaffolds, extension
ladders, and lengths of pipe and metal siding have • Never touch equipment and ground at same time.
also been involved.
• Get someone to call local utility to shut off power.
Precautions • If possible, break contact by moving the equipment
clear of the powerline. Otherwise do not move
• Check the area for overhead powerlines before
equipment until the utility shuts down the line and
bringing in equipment such as cranes, backhoes,
confirms that power is off.
and boom trucks.
• Beware of time relays. Even after breakers are
• Avoid storing materials and equipment below
tripped by line damage, relays may be triggered to
overhead powerlines.
restore power.
• Determine powerline voltage by checking markings
[Point out powerline hazards on site. Review typical
on pole or calling the utility.
situations encountered regularly by your crew. Spell
• Maintain minimum allowable distances set by out company, project, and legislated guidelines
regulations. regarding work near overhead powerlines.]
• Use a signaller to direct equipment operators. If
you are the designated signaller, warn operators
when any part of their machine, boom, or load
approaches the minimum clearance.
• When erecting or moving a ladder or scaffold,
don’t let it lean or drift toward overhead power-
lines. Always maintain minimum allowable
• Near live powerlines up to 150,000 volts, bring
nothing closer than 3 metres or 10 feet. Between
150,000 and 250,000 volts, keep a minimum
distance of 4.5 metres or 15 feet. Over 250,000
volts, stay 6 metres or 20 feet away.
Underground SAFETY TALKS

Some of us have been on jobs that came to a halt Once the service has been uncovered and its actual
when someone hit an underground gas or electrical location determined at several points along its length,
line. If we were lucky, no one got hurt. then excavating equipment can be used in areas
adjacent to the service.
Buried gas and electrical lines present a serious risk
of injury to workers who contact them accidentally. Utility pipes, conduit, and cable exposed in a trench
or excavation must be supported to keep them from
The basic idea is to call before we dig.
falling or breaking.
It’s the contractor’s responsibility to ask utilities to
When construction contracts don’t specify the
locate and mark their underground services. That
method of support, ask the utility for its requirements.
includes gas, water, electrical, cable tv, telephone,
and pipelines. The message is ONE CALL BEFORE YOU DIG.
Utilities generally offer a free service for locating and In Ontario the service is called Ontario One Call
marking buried services with labelled stakes, flags, or Limited. With one call we can notify all utilities with
paint. A locate should be completed in three to four underground services in the area where we want to
days. But depending on season and location, it may dig. This makes obtaining locates easy.
take longer.
But not all parts of Ontario are covered by Ontario
Markings indicate the approximate centre line of the One Call Limited. That means we have to find out
underground service. Utilities also provide a diagram whether the service is available for a particular
of the locate information. project.
Once the utility has marked the approximate centre Breaks in electrical, gas, water, and pipe lines can
line, it’s our job to uncover it. This must be done by threaten not only construction crews but the general
hand digging. Never use excavating equipment to public.
find the service.
To avoid the risk of serious injuries and fatalities, we
If the service poses a hazard and cannot be shut off should always call before we dig.
or disconnected, the utility may supervise the digging
[Review procedures for requesting locates and for
and excavation. Having the utility present is a must in
the case of fibre-optic cable.
and Tagging

When we do construction, repair, or maintenance Restraint devices – that’s where tagging comes in.
work in factories and other industrial sites, we have When you put your lock, scissors, chain, or block on
to follow plant procedures for lockout and tagging. a piece of equipment, you also have to tag it.
It doesn’t matter how short or simple the job is. When The tag indicates who you are, who you work for,
we work on equipment like conveyors, presses, roasters, why the machine or system is locked out, and the
and hoppers, the first step is to lock out the system. date when the lockout was applied.
Many of the injuries that occur during equipment The lock is your personal lock that can only be
service and maintenance are caused by machine opened with your key.
parts that move because they were not locked out.
[Show sample lockout devices and tags.]
The usual excuse is that lockout is complicated and
In some situations on industrial or construction sites,
takes too long. But would you rather spend time
there may be no established lockout procedures or
locking out equipment or lying in a hospital?
permit system in operation.
Lockout means bringing every power source in a
In that case we have to inspect the equipment
machine or system down to a Zero Energy State.
involved, identify all energy sources, and determine
Some equipment can simply be switched off and the most effective method of lockout and tagging.
locked out of service. But in most cases the system
It may be necessary to trace wiring, lines, and piping
involves several energy sources.
in and out of the equipment in order to identify energy
A press may be hydraulically powered, for instance, sources.
but electrically controlled. Locking out the hydraulic
It helps to refer to specifications, drawings, operating
power is not enough. Locking out the electricity may
manuals, and similar information if it’s available.
not be enough. Gravity can still cause a raised ram
to drop of its own weight. There may also be stored Once each energy source has been identified and
energy in pistons or springs. de-energized, you must test the equipment to verify a
zero energy state.
It makes sense to follow plant procedures for lockout.
Clients know their own energy sources and systems. One last point...
Their lockout procedures have been tested and Lockout doesn’t have to involve complicated
proven by time and experience. Some form of permit machines and systems. It can mean putting blocking
to work is usually involved. under the arm of a backhoe while you replace a
There are four basic actions in any lockout. hydraulic cylinder ...or locking out an electrical panel
while you relocate lighting stringers.
1) Identify all energy sources connected with the
work. Remember...
Don’t take chances. When in doubt, lock it out.
2) Disable, redirect, or stop all energy from doing
what it normally does. [Explain lockout procedures currently in use. Identify
situations on site where lockout and tagging would
3) Confirm that you’ve reached a zero energy state.
be necessary before working on machines or
4) Apply restraint devices to keep the system from equipment. Review recent applications of lockout
starting up while you work on it. and tagging.]
On Site
Every year construction workers are killed and injured
by vehicles and equipment backing up on site.
Dump trucks are often involved in these accidents.
But deaths and injuries have also been caused by
bulldozers, backhoes, and other equipment backing up.
Part of the problem comes from blind spots. These
are areas around equipment where the operator has
no view or only a very limited view. If you remember only one thing, remember this:
If you enter one of these blind spots without being Make eye contact with the operator before
seen, you run the risk of being backed over. approaching equipment.
The hazards only increase in congested areas where This lets the operator know you’re there. It also gives
trucks and heavy equipment are backing up all the you a chance to indicate whether you’re going to step
time. Just think of the traffic around excavations and in front of the equipment, walk behind it, and so on.
loading and unloading areas. Noise and dust can
It also pays to know where blind spots are and to
make it even more difficult to see and be seen.
avoid standing near areas where heavy equipment is
Drive-through sites can be laid out to minimize the moving back and forth.
need for backing up.
But on most projects trucks and equipment have to
operate in reverse at some point. That’s when a
signaller is necessary.
The signaller provides another pair of eyes for the driver
backing up. There may be times when you have to
work as a signaller. Here’s what you need to do.
• Use the standard signals for on-site traffic.
[Demonstrate these signals for your crew.]
• Wear a reflective fluorescent orange vest.
• Know driver and operator blind spots.
[Show the blind spots illustrated in this talk.]
• Stand where you can see and be seen.
• Make eye contact with driver or operator before
you signal or change position.
• Traffic control requires your full concentration.
You should have no other duties to perform while [Review blind spots around trucks and heavy equip-
signalling. ment on site. Remind workers to make eye contact
with drivers and operators before moving or changing
Even if you’re not a signaller, you should still know how
position in their vicinity.]
to work safely around trucks and heavy equipment.
Control Public Roads
You have been assigned to direct public traffic on this When you show SLOW, don’t bring traffic to a
project. complete halt. When drivers slow down, use your
As long as you’re doing that job, you can’t do other free hand to signal them to keep moving slowly.
work or have additional duties. Directing traffic is a If you’re working along a two-lane road with traffic
full-time job. moving in both directions, you’ll have to coordinate
Your number one priority is to protect workers and your signals with the traffic controller on the other side.
drivers from accident or injury. You’re going to do that Where two lanes are reduced to one, make sure you
by regulating traffic flow. stop traffic in one direction before letting traffic
You’ll have to stop traffic when the job requires it. through from the other direction.
Otherwise you’ll keep traffic moving at normal or Remember – a traffic control person must never be
reduced speed to avoid tie-ups. used to direct traffic if more than one active lane of
With your help, work will go ahead safely and traffic is travelling in one direction or if the posted
efficiently. Just remember that public traffic has priority speed limit is greater than 90 km/hr.
over construction equipment. The most important point is simple: Pay attention.
I’m going to give you instructions in writing. But let me • Don’t be distracted by talking to anybody.
go over the main points now. • Always face oncoming traffic.
In addition to the hard hats and safety boots you’re • Stay alert to work nearby. Don’t get backed over by
already wearing, you’re going to need some equipment: your own equipment.
- safety vest that meets requirements of the • Stand where you can see and be seen by
construction regulation (Section 69) approaching traffic for at least 150 metres (500 feet).
- eye protection—it’s dusty and bright out there • Stand alone. Don’t let a group gather around you.
- STOP/SLOW sign that meets requirements of the • Stand at your post. Sitting is hazardous because
construction regulation (Section 68). you can’t fully see or be seen by drivers.
Let me show you how to use the sign. • Always have an escape route ready in case a driver
When you show the STOP side to doesn’t see you or disregards your signals.
approaching traffic, hold up your Remove or cover any traffic control signs at quitting
free hand like this. time or when traffic control is suspended. Drivers
[Demonstrate.] can be confused by signs still in place when no
When you show the SLOW side, construction work is going on.
motion traffic to keep moving slowly. Here are your written instructions for traffic control.
[Demonstrate.] [CSAO’s Handbook for Construction Traffic Control
Hold the sign firmly in view of Persons (B016)is designed for this purpose.]
oncoming traffic.
Give motorists plenty of warning.
Don’t suddenly flash STOP when a driver is too close.
When you show STOP, clearly indicate where you want
traffic to stop. When the first vehicle stops, step into the
centre of the road so the second vehicle can see you.
Getting On and Off Construction Equipment
Today we’re going to talk about getting on and off
equipment. It’s not as safe as it seems. More than
one-fourth of all injuries to equipment operators and
truck drivers occur in mounting and dismounting.
To climb on and off construction equipment safely,
always maintain three points of contact. That means
two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand at
all times.
Three-point contact helps to prevent injuries from
slips and falls.
• Break 3-point contact only when you reach
ground, cab, or a stable platform.
• Mount and dismount facing the equipment.
• Climb on and off only when the equipment is
• Use the access designed and provided by the
manufacturer – steps, runningboards, traction
strips, footholds, handgrips, etc.
• Keep access clear of mud, snow, grease,
and other hazards that can cause slips, trips, or
• Don’t use wheel hubs, caterpillar treads, door
handles, or bulldozer tracks for mounting and
[Demonstrate 3-point contact by mounting and
dismounting from a truck, bulldozer, or other piece of
heavy equipment on site. Ask crew to try out 3-point
contact as well.]
Climbing Up and Down Ladders
Today we’re going to talk about climbing up and
down ladders. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Many
ladder accidents occur when people are getting on
or off the ladder.
To use ladders safely, always maintain three points of
contact. That means two hands and one foot or two
feet and one hand on the ladder at all times.
Three-point contact helps prevent injuries from slips
and falls.
• Put both hands firmly on the rungs before stepping
onto a ladder.
• Use 3-point contact climbing a ladder– one hand
and two feet or two hands and one foot on the ladder
at all times.
• Break 3-point contact only when you reach ground
or a stable platform.
• Always climb up and down facing the ladder.
• Keep your body between the side rails. Don’t lean
out on either side.
• Make sure that ladders extend at least 900 millimetres
(3 feet) above their bearing point at floor or
landing and that there is a clear space of at least
150 millimetres (6 inches) behind each rung.
• Don’t carry tools, equipment, or material in your
hands while climbing. Use a hoist line or gin
wheel for lifting and lowering.
• Clean mud, snow, and other slippery substances
off your boots before climbing.
[Demonstrate procedures mentioned in this talk.]

Construction would be impossible without ladders. All

kinds of ladders are used every day on the job. One of
the most common is the step ladder.
Let’s talk about hazards and precautions with step ladders.
[Use a step ladder to demonstrate the following points in
your talk.]
• Check the ladder for defects or damage
- at the start of your shift
- after it has been used somewhere else by other
- after it has been left in one place for a long time.
• Keep the area at the base of the ladder clear.
• Make sure the spreader arms lock securely in the
open position.
• Stand no higher than the second step from the top.
• Never straddle the space between a step ladder
and another point.
• When standing on the ladder, avoid leaning
forward, backward, or to either side.
• Always open the ladder fully before using it. Don’t use
an unopened step ladder as a straight or extension
ladder. The feet are not designed for this use.
• Never stand on the top step, the top, or the pail
shelf of a step ladder.
• When climbing up or down a step ladder, always face
the ladder and maintain 3-point contact.

Construction would be impossible without ladders. All • Be very careful when erecting extension ladders near
kinds of ladders are used every day on the job. One of live overhead powerlines. Never use metal or metal-
the most common is the extension ladder. reinforced ladders near electrical wires or equipment.
Let’s talk about hazards and precautions with extension • Wherever possible, use extension ladders for
ladders. access – not as work platforms.
• Choose the right extension ladder for the job. It must • When you must work from a ladder more than 3
be long enough to be set up at a safe angle and to metres or 10 feet up, wear a safety harness and tie
reach 90 centimetres or three feet beyond the bearing off to a well-anchored lifeline or other support –
point. not to the ladder.
• A two-section extension ladder should be no longer • On an extension ladder, stand no higher than the
than 15 metres or 50 feet; a three-section ladder no fourth rung from the top.
longer than 20 metres or 66 feet.
Check the ladder for damage or defects
- before you set it up
- after it has been used somewhere else
by other workers
- after it has been left in one place for a
long time.
Set the ladder on a firm level base. If the base is soft,
loose, or wet material, clear it away or stand the ladder
on a mud sill.
• Set the ladder up at the proper angle – one foot out
for every three or four feet up, depending on length.
• When the ladder is set up, there should be a clear
space of at least 15 centimetres or 6 inches behind
each rung.
• When the ladder is fully extended, sections must
overlap at least 90 centimetres or three feet.
• Never erect extension ladders on boxes, carts, tables,
or other unstable objects. Never set them up against
flexible or movable surfaces.
• Secure the top and bottom of the ladder. Keep areas
at top and bottom clear of debris, scrap, material, and
other obstructions.
• Clean mud, snow, and other slippery substances off
your boots before climbing.
• When climbing up or down, always face the ladder
and maintain 3-point contact.
• Don’t carry tools, equipment, or material in your
hands while climbing. Use a hoist line or gin wheel for
lifting and lowering.
Scaffolds 29
Planks and Decks
Scaffold planks and deck material must be inspected Laminated Veneer Lumber Planks
regularly. Your life depends on it. Here’s what to look for.
Check for
Wood Planks • separation of laminated layers—usually due to
repeated changes in moisture levels as layers
Make sure that planks are the right length and
soak up rain and dry in sun
overhang for the frame.
• cuts of any kind
Check planks for
• pressure cracks in top or bottom layer
• cracks—these can often be detected at the end
of the plank; planks with long and deep cracks • warping from wear and weather
should be discarded
• condition of cleats.
• cuts on plank edges from saws, tools, sharp
objects; planks with deep or numerous cuts Aluminum/Plywood Deck Panels
should be discarded
Check for
• worm holes, splits, knots knocked out along
• cuts in aluminum frames
edges, lots of nail holes – these can be serious
enough to discard planks • deformed, cracked, or broken fastening hooks
and hardware
• light weight—this can indicate dry rot that can’t
be seen • cracked or broken plywood
• condition of cleats—damaged cleats should be • bent, cracked, or broken rungs
removed and replaced • sliding or other locking devices in good condition.
• overhang—planks should overhang the frame no As a general rule, you should plank or deck working
less than 6 and no more than 12 inches. levels of a scaffold across their full width for maximum
support and stability.
[Demonstrate methods of inspecting planks and
panels. Ask crew to inspect sample materials on site.]
Scaffolds 30
Structural Components
Structural components of all frame scaffolds need to Braces
be inspected regularly. Otherwise components that
• Cross and horizontal braces should not be
are damaged, defective, or wrongly installed can
cracked, rusty, bent, or otherwise deformed.
make scaffolds tip over or collapse.
• Braces should be compatible with frames and
Inspection should include frames, feet, braces,
free of distortion.
connecting pins, and guardrails.
• Horizontal braces must be installed every third
Frames frame vertically and in each bay laterally.
• Uprights and cross-members should not be • Scaffolds higher than three frames must be tied
cracked, rusty, bent or otherwise deformed. into the structure.
• All connecting components should fit together
square and true.
• The working platform must be protected by
Feet guardrails.
• Adjustable base plates should work properly. • Guardrails must be compatible with frames.
Guardrails can be made of tube-and-clamp
• Plates should be securely attached to legs to
components assembled properly.
resist uplift as well as compression.
[Review the types of scaffold commonly used by your
• Where mudsills are used, base plates should be
crew. Ask your crew to inspect scaffold components
nailed to them.
and report any damage or defects.]
Connecting Pins
• Frames must be joined together vertically by
connecting pins compatible with the frames.
• Connecting pins must be locked in place to
prevent them from loosening and coming out.
• Pins must be free of bends and other distortion. If
they don’t fit, we’ll get replacements that do fit.
Equipment Fall Protection
Suspended access equipment includes swingstages, Fall-Arrest Inspection
work cages, and bosun’s chairs.
[This part of the talk should include hands-on inspec-
The basic rule is simple: there must be two independent tion of equipment.]
means of support for workers using this equipment.
If all else fails, your fall-arrest equipment is your last
Two Independent Means of Support line of defence. Make sure it works.
One independent means of support is the suspension Check your harness for
system of the stage, cage, or chair. This usually
√ approval by CSA
consists of
(Canadian Standards Association) or
- climbers ANSI (American National Standards Institute)
- suspension lines √ cuts, burns, and signs of chemical damage
- outrigger beams √ loose or broken stitching
- tiebacks √ frayed web material
- anchors √ D-ring and keeper pads free from distortion and
- counterweights. signs of damage or undue wear
√ grommets and buckles free of damage, distortion,
The second independent means of support for each
and sharp edges
worker is the fall-arrest system. This consists of
√ lanyard securely attached to D-ring by a locking
- full body safety harness snaphook.
- lanyard Your lanyard and shock-absorber should be free of
- lifeline fraying, kinking, and loose or broken threads. The
- rope grab hardware should not be deformed, rusty, cracked, or
unduly worn. All moving parts must move freely and
- lifeline
easily through their full range of movement.
- lifeline anchor.
Make sure your rope grab is working right and has
If the suspension system fails, the worker will be no damaged parts or sharp edges that could cut the
saved by the fall-arrest system. lifeline.
In some cases, the second independent means of Your lanyard should be secured to the rope grab
support can be another complete suspension system. with a locking snaphook to keep it from accidentally
On a swingstage, for instance, there would be four coming out.
outrigger beams instead of two, four suspension lines
instead of two, and so on. If one suspension system Your lifeline should be free of damage, wear, and
fails, the other will take over. This arrangement is decay. It should be protected from rubbing and
used on a tiered stage. scraping where it passes over corners or edges.

But even with two complete suspension systems you Next time we’ll talk about where and how to anchor
should still wear a full body harness and lanyard. In lifelines and suspension lines.
this case you would tie off to a stirrup on the stage or
to a line secured to both stirrups.
Equipment Tiebacks
Tiebacks are used to secure the outriggers and √ We attach the tieback to the anchor, again with
counterweights of suspended access equipment. cable clips. We make sure the tieback is taut.
The tieback holds the major components of the
suspension system together. It keeps them from What’s an adequate anchor?
being loosened or dislodged and secures them - engineered tieback systems such as eye bolts
back to an adequate anchor point. and rings
Let’s follow a wire rope tieback from start to finish. - the base of large HVAC units
The tieback runs from the thimble of the suspension - columns on intermediate building floors or stub
line back along the outrigger beam with at least one columns on roofs
half-hitch on each section. Then it loops around the
- large pipe anchorage systems
counterweight handles and extends back to adequate
(12-inch diameter or bigger)
- large masonry chimneys
Now let’s see how each part is connected.
- roof structures such as mechanical rooms
√ We secure the wire rope tieback to the thimble of
the suspension line with cable clips. - parapet clamps attached to reinforced concrete
parapet walls on the other side of the building.
√ We make a half-hitch through the handle on each
section of the outrigger beam. Even if the beam [Review tiebacks and anchorages being used on site.]
doesn’t have handles, we still use the half-hitches.
√ We run the tieback through and then back around
the counterweight handles.
Equipment Calculating Counterweights
With suspended access equipment such as Another way of saying this is that...
swingstages and bosun’s chairs, knowing the right • the distance of the outrigger beam from the fulcrum
number of counterweights to use is crucial. to the centre of the counterweights...
That’s why we should know how to calculate the • multiplied by the load of the counterweights...
number of counterweights required. • must be at least 4 times greater...
Let’s start with the design factor. For beams and • than the distance of the outrigger beam from the
weights the design factor must be 4 to 1. fulcrum to the suspension line...
This means that the effect of the counterweights • multiplied by the capacity of the climber.
holding the equipment up must be at least 4 times Let’s look at an example.
greater than the load pulling the equipment down.
[Go through the following calculations step by step
with your crew.]


Example: The beam is 18 feet long. The counterweights will require at least 2 feet of space at the end of the
beam. There is a 1-foot overhang and a supported load of 1000 lb.
X = 1 ft. Climber load = 1000 lb. Therefore 1 x 1000 = 1000 pulling down
The resisting force, including the design factor of 4 that
must be provided by the counterweights = 4 x 1000 = 4000
y = 18 ft. – 1 ft. (overhang) – 1 ft. (centre of weights) = 16 ft.
The load required by the counterweights = 4000 ft. lb. = 250 lb.
16 ft.
Assuming counterweights are 55 lb. each, number of weights required = 250 lb. = 5
If labels on an outrigger beam are missing or not readable, do not use the beam.
Remember—only use counterweights that have been specifically manufactured for the particular outrigger
beam you are using.
Rigging is only as strong as its weakest link. Cable Clips
It doesn’t matter what safe working load is stamped • Check for wear on saddle.
on a hook if the hook is cracked and twisted or
• Check that original parts are in place and in
opening up at the throat. It can’t deliver its full rated
good condition.
• Check for cracks.
That’s why inspection is vital in rigging and hoisting.
• Check for proper size of the wire rope.
Rigging hardware must have enough capacity for the
job. Only load-rated hardware of forged alloy steel
should be used for overhead lifting. Load-rated
hardware is stamped with its working load limit or WLL. • Check for wear and cracks on saddle and pin.
Adequate capacity is the first thing to look for in • Check that pin is straight and properly seated.
rigging hardware. For overhead lifting, the design
• Check that legs of shackle are not opening up.
factor must be 5-to-1.
Once the right hardware has been chosen for a job, it Hooks
has to be inspected regularly as long as it’s in service. • Check for wear, twisting, and cracks.
There are warning signs that hardware has been • Make sure that hook is not opening up.
weakened in use and should be replaced.
Cracks Inspect closely—some cracks are Turnbuckles
very fine. • Check for cracks and bends.
Missing parts Make sure that parts such as • Check rods for straightness and damage to
catches on hooks, nuts on cable threads.
clips, and cotter pins in shackle
pins are still in place. [With your crew, inspect rigging hardware in use or
stored on site and arrange for repairs or replacement.]
Stretching Check hooks, shackles, and
chain links for signs of opening
up, elongation, and distortion.
Stripped threads Inspect turnbuckles, shackles,
and cable clips.
[Using samples of hardware on site, review the
following points.]
Wire Rope 35
Wire rope in continuous service should be inspected Corrosion
during operation and at least once a week.
Difficult to detect because it’s inside the rope. Look
Damage from wear and tear can reduce rope for rust, discolouration, and pitting outside.
strength and capacity.
There are warning signs to look for during inspection.
Most of these warning signs indicate that the rope Replace rope if any wires or strands are cut or
should be replaced. burned. Damaged ends can be removed and seized.
Otherwise rope must be replaced.
Broken wires
Replace rope if there are
Look for strands opening up in cage-like clusters.
- 6 or more broken wires in one lay
Rope must be replaced.
- 3 or more broken wires in one strand in one lay
Core protrusion
- 3 or more broken wires in one lay in standing ropes.
Replace rope when inner core starts poking through
Worn/abraded wires strands.
Replace rope if outer wires
- become flat from friction
Kinks seriously reduce wire rope strength. Sections
- become shiny from wear AND with kinks should be cut off. Otherwise rope must
be discarded.
- wear exceeds 1/3 of diameter.
[Review wire rope in use on site. Ask your crew
Reduced diameter to inspect samples and arrange for repair or
replacement as required.]
Replace rope if wear on individual wires exceeds 1/3
of their diameter.

Replace 6-strand rope if stretch reduces diameter by
more than 1/16.
Wire Rope 36
Cable Clips
There’s only one right way to install cable clips when
you want to get the maximum efficiency – up to 85%
– out of a prepared loop or thimble-eye termination.
Otherwise the termination can be severely reduced in
First of all, we should remember that most cable
clips have two sections. There’s a saddle part and
a U-shaped part. [Identify parts for crew.]
Next you need the right size of clip for the wire rope
Then you need to know the number of clips required,
the amount of rope to turn back from the thimble, and
the torque needed to tighten the nuts. There are tables
that spell out all of this information [see sample].
At least three clips should be used in making any
prepared loop or thimble-eye termination for wire
rope, especially for overhead lifting.
All three clips must be installed with the saddle part on
the live end of the rope. This lets the live end rest in
the saddle so it’s not crushed by the U part of the clip.
The old rule is simple. “Never saddle a dead horse.”
The U goes on the dead end of the rope where
crushing will not affect the breaking strength of the
hoist line.
Let’s follow the installation procedure step by step.
[Demonstrate proper installation by following diagram
at right.]

Cable Clip Installation

Ground Rules
Signalling is an important part of hoisting and rigging. • Only one person should signal the operator. But
Over the years, a system of standard hand signals anyone can give the STOP signal and it must be
has evolved that is now international. obeyed immediately. [Demonstrate signal.]
If you’re going to rig a load, you also need to know
the signals for lifting, moving, and landing it. The
operation may be a simple LIFT and LOWER. Or it
may require more complicated signals.
In many cases, hand signals are the most efficient • Signals should be clear and, wherever possible,
form of communication between riggers and crane barehanded.
• The load should be directed so that it never passes
On construction sites, signalling is required in the over anyone.
following situations.
• Operators should not make a move until they
1) When the operator cannot see the load. receive and understand your signal. If contact
between you and the operator is broken for any
2) When the operator cannot see the load
reason, the operation must stop.
landing area.
• Some situations call for two signallers. For
3) When the operator cannot see the path of
instance, during a concrete pour, one signaller
travel of either the load or the crane.
may be needed to direct the lift while the other
4) When the operator is too far from the load to directs the drop.
judge distance accurately.
• Where a difficult lift demands voice communication,
5) When the crane or other hoisting device is use two-way radios instead of hand signals.
working close to live powerlines or equipment.
Hand signals have their limitations. For example, they
should never be used when distance, visibility, or noise
prevents accurate communication with the operator.
There is a signal for each action of the crane from
to STOP.
By using the correct hand signals you can get a crane
to do almost anything you want. The operator only
needs to clearly see and understand your signals.
In our next talk, we’ll run through all the hand signals
for hoisting. But first we have to know the ground
rules for signalling.
[Demonstrate, repeat, and have your crew practice the hand signals for hoisting.]
Trenching 39
Soil Types
Soil type determines the strength and stability of a TYPE 2 - Very stiff, dense. You can penetrate it with
trench. moderate difficulty by using a small sharp
Trench stability is also affected by a number of factors
such as weather, moisture, vibration, and previous - Low to medium natural moisture content,
excavation. Soil type is one of the most important medium degree of internal strength.
- Has a damp appearance after it’s excavated.
In a single trench, soil properties can sometimes vary
TYPE 3 - Stiff to firm, compact to loose in consistency.
widely from top to bottom or along its length. Even
May be previously excavated soil.
hard soil may contain faults in seams or layers that
make it unstable when excavated. - Signs of surface cracking and water
Time is also a critical factor. Some trenches will remain
open for a long period, then suddenly collapse for no - When dry, it may run easily into a well
apparent reason. defined conical pile.
Let’s take a closer look at soil types. - Low degree of internal strength.
There are four general types of soil from dry, dense, TYPE 4 - Soft to very soft, very loose in consistency,
and hard (Type 1) to wet, muddy, and unable to very sensitive to vibration and motion.
support itself (Type 4).
- Any disturbance significantly reduces
TYPE 1 - Hard, very dense. You can only penetrate its natural strength.
it with difficulty by using a small sharp
- Runs easily or flows unless completely
supported before excavation.
- Low natural moisture content, high
- Almost no internal strength.
degree of internal strength.
- Wet or muddy.
- No signs of water seepage.
- Exerts substantial fluid pressure on its
- You need mechanical equipment to
supporting system.
excavate this stuff.
[Demonstrate tests for different types. Examine soil
samples on site.]
Trenching 40
Let me give you some simple advice. Whenever possible, shoring should be installed as
excavation proceeds. If there’s any delay between
Never enter any trench more than 4 feet deep unless it’s
digging and shoring, no one should enter the
√ sloped unprotected trench.
√ shored or Trench Boxes
√ protected by a trench box. Trench boxes aren’t really meant to shore up or
support trench walls. They’re only meant to protect
Those are the three basic methods of protecting you
workers in case of a cave-in.
against cave-ins.
Boxes are capable of supporting trench walls if the
Unless the walls of the trench are solid rock, it should
space between the box and the trench wall is back-
be sloped, shored, or boxed before you get into it.
filled. Otherwise a cave-in or collapse may cause the
Sloping trench box to tilt or turn over. It’s also easier to enter
Sloping the walls is one way to keep a trench from the box if soil comes right up next to it.
collapsing. The angle of the slope depends on soil Trench boxes are commonly used in open areas
conditions. away from utilities, roadways, and foundations.
For Type 1 and 2 soils, we cut trench walls back at As long as you’re in the trench, you should stay
an angle of 1-to-1 or 45 degrees. That’s one metre inside the box and leave only when the box has to be
back for each metre up. Walls should be sloped moved.
starting at 1.2 metres or 4 feet up the wall.
For Type 3 soil, we cut walls back at an angle of
Whether the trench is sloped, shored, or protected by
1- to-1 again... but from the bottom of the trench,
a trench box, you need a way to climb in and out
not four feet up.
For Type 4 soil, slope the walls at 1-to-3. That’s 3
Trenches must be provided with ladders in the areas
metres back for every 1 metre up from the trench
protected by shoring or trench boxes. The ladder
must be securely tied off at the top, extend above the
Shoring shoring or box by at least 1 metre or 3 feet, and be
inspected regularly for damage.
Shoring is a system which shores up or supports
walls to prevent soil movement. It also helps to A ladder should be placed as close as possible to
support underground utilities, roadways, where you’re working – and never more than
and foundations. 7.5 metres or 25 feet or away.
The two types of shoring used most commonly are [Review protective system(s) used on site. Check
timber and hydraulic. Both consist of posts, wales, condition of sloping, shoring, or trench box. Are
struts, and sheathing. ladders provided for getting in and out?]
One major advantage of hydraulic shoring is that you
don’t have to enter the trench to install the system.
Installation can be done from the top of the trench.
Trenching 41
Inspecting protective systems in trenches is everyone’s If you find cracks in the ground, alert the crew and
responsibility. Sloping, shoring, and trench boxes double-check your shoring or trench box.
should be checked regularly.
It’s dangerous to overlook damage or defects in
With hydraulic shoring, look for protective systems.
• leaks in hoses and cylinders Even though the job is short-term or almost finished,
trenches can still cave in.
• bent bases
Let’s go through some inspection procedures.
• broken or cracked nipples
With hydraulic shoring, check the system for leaks
• cracked, split, or broken sheathing.
in hoses and cylinders.
Report any of these conditions to your supervisor.
With timber shoring, check for
Check timber shoring before it’s installed. Discard
• cracked or bowed sheathing
any damaged or defective lumber.
• wales crushed where they join struts
Make sure that shoring members are the regulated
size for depth of trench and type of soil. • loose or missing cleats
After installation, inspect wales for signs of crushing. • split or bowed wales
Crushing indicates structural problems and the need
• struts off level.
for more struts.
In trench boxes, look for
Always check areas near shoring where water may
have seeped in. The combination of water and • deformed plates
granular soil can lead to washout. This undermines
• bent or distorted welds in sleeves and struts
the trench wall and has killed and injured workers on
several occasions. • missing struts
Inspect trench boxes for damage, cracks in welds, • bent struts
and other defects.
• holes, bends, or other damage to plates.
During use, check the box regularly and often to
[Inspect sloping, shoring, and trench boxes on site.
make sure that it is not shifting or settling more on
Check ground conditions nearby. Refer to appropriate
one side than the other. This can indicate the
regulations and codes.]
movement of soil or water underneath.
If the box is shifting or settling, get out and tell your
supervisor about it.
The ground around trenches should be inspected
for tension cracks. These may develop parallel to
the trench at a distance of about one-half to
three-quarters of the trench depth.
Confined spaces are work areas that are Trenches, excavations, and foundations may be
considered confined spaces when
√ difficult to get into or out of
√ entry or exit is restricted
√ likely to contain a dangerous atmosphere
√ work space is cramped
√ likely to present physical hazards such as noise,
temperature extremes, cramped work conditions, √ physical hazards such as noise and operating
and operating equipment. equipment are present, and
Legal definitions may differ from one jurisdiction to √ dangerous atmospheres may be created by dust,
another. But these three basic points help to identify chemical vapours, engine exhaust, or work such
a confined space. as welding.
Since construction is not limited to new buildings and Beware of apparently harmless places that can
structures, we may run into confined spaces in other become hazardous because of the products being
locations. used there or the work being done.
In chemical and petrochemical plants, confined Basements, halls, and small rooms can be dangerous
spaces include tanks, vessels, pipes, sumps, and when poor ventilation and hazardous materials or
pits. Confined spaces in heavy industrial plants can operations combine to create atmospheric hazards.
be roasters, digesters, mixers, bins, and conveyors. Workers have been overcome and even killed by
solvent and adhesive vapours in small poorly
Sewage handling and water treatment plants include
ventilated rooms.
various kinds of confined spaces, from settling and
holding tanks to maintenance holes and wells below [With the crew identify confined spaces on the project.
floor level. Consider areas that might be potentially dangerous
as well.]
In general construction, confined spaces include
vaults, basements, caissons, unventilated rooms,
and utility tunnels.
Dangerous Atmospheres
Each year, construction and maintenance workers Make sure the equipment is able to detect what you
enter confined spaces to perform inspections, suspect. One detector can’t test for everything. Some
repairs, cleaning, and maintenance. detectors have sensors that check for oxygen content,
Dangerous atmospheres, materials, or equipment in explosive gases or vapours, and a range of toxic
the space sometimes kill or injure not only these gases. Some have only one or two sensors and may
workers but others who try to rescue them. not detect certain types of hazards.
To avoid becoming statistics, our first priority is to Check all levels of the space. Some contaminants
check for atmospheric hazards before entering any are lighter than air and accumulate near the top of
confined space. the space. Others are heavier than air and settle at
the bottom.
The dangerous types of atmosphere are
If you leave the space for a break or lunch, test
√ flammable and explosive
before you go back in. Dangerous atmospheres can
√ toxic develop without warning. Many cannot be detected
√ oxygen-deficient by smell or taste.
√ oxygen-enriched. If tests indicate a dangerous atmosphere, you must
Flammable and explosive atmospheres include NOT enter the space until it is thoroughly ventilated
- natural gas from leaking gas lines or natural sources and subsequent tests indicate the air is safe to
- methane from decaying sewage breathe.
- propane from leaking cylinders or equipment Ventilation and testing must be continued as long as
- gasoline from leaking tanks and spills you are in the space.
- solvents used for painting, cleaning, refinishing, and If the space can’t be adequately ventilated, you can
so on. only enter if
Toxic atmospheres include solvents again; also • you wear suitable respiratory protection and a full
body harness attached to a rope anchored outside
- hydrogen sulfide from decaying sewage or raw
the space and held by a worker with an alarm
- carbon monoxide from engine exhaust. • you have a means of communication with the
worker outside
Oxygen-deficient atmospheres contain less than 18%
oxygen. Breathing less and less oxygen can make • a person trained and equipped in artificial respira-
you lose judgment, coordination, and consciousness. tion and emergency rescue is available outside
Oxygen in a confined space can be displaced by the space.
other gases or used up by rusting metal, combustion, Never try to rescue a worker overcome in a confined
or bacteria digesting sewage. space unless you are trained and equipped for it.
Oxygen-enriched atmospheres contain more than Many workers trying to save their buddies have only
23% oxygen. They are rare in construction – usually become victims themselves. Call for emergency help.
related to leaking oxygen hoses or cylinders. [Demonstrate use of gas detection equipment.
Before entering any confined space where the Review types of confined spaces that may be
atmosphere may be dangerous, use properly encountered by crew and types of atmospheric
calibrated gas detection equipment. hazard that may be present.]
Physical Hazards
Confined spaces such as tanks, vats, vessels, hoppers, What can we can do to control some of the physical
and bins can hold many different hazards. hazards?
In addition to dangerous atmospheres, the spaces • Isolate the space by disconnecting supply and
present physical hazards: drain lines. Lock out and tag the lines so they
won’t be reopened while we’re working inside.
√ poor entry and exit
• Inspect the space for dangerous contents such as
√ cramped working conditions
grain or sand that could slide, shift, and bury us
√ temperature extremes inside.
√ rotating or moving equipment • Lock out any electrical, hydraulic, or pneumatic
equipment that could unexpectedly rotate, drop,
√ reactive or corrosive residues
roll, or snap shut in the space.
√ electrical hazards
• Block and secure any equipment that could move
√ uncontrolled movement of liquids or solids. because of gravity or stored momentum.
Some of these hazards involve greater risk inside a • Wear safety harnesses and lifelines to make
confined space than outside. rescue more efficient in case of an emergency.
For instance, electrical flashover can be more • Develop a rescue plan for the space and practice
dangerous in a cramped maintenance hole where to make sure that we all know what to do.
escape is severely limited than in an electrical room
• Use an entry permit system that lets us identify
with clear exits. And fire in a confined space can be
hazards and controls and keep track of who is
far more dangerous than a fire in an open work area.
[With the crew, review procedures for lockout, tagging,
and entry. Discuss any problems encountered during
entry or work in confined spaces.]
Hand Tools 45
Pliers and Wrenches
[Demonstrate key points of use and handling as the Wrenches
talk proceeds.]
• Replace damaged wrenches. Straightening a bent
General wrench only weakens it.
• Use tools for their intended purpose. Don’t use • Pull on a wrench; don’t push.
pliers as wrenches. Don’t use wrenches as
• Be prepared in case the wrench slips. Make sure
your footing is solid, your stance balanced, and
• Wherever possible, don’t expose tools to your hands clear.
extremes of heat and cold. Metal will lose its
• With adjustable wrenches, put pressure on the
temper and get brittle.
permanent jaw, not the movable jaw.
• Don’t extend the handles of tools with sleeves or
• Use the right wrench for the job. Don’t use pipe
cheater bars for more leverage and power.
wrenches on nuts or bolts. Don’t use adjustable
• Don’t confuse cushion grips with insulated handles. wrenches on pipe.
Cushion grips are for comfort only. Insulated
• On adjustable wrenches, inspect knurl, jaw, and
handles are for electrical shock protection.
pin for wear.
• Don’t hammer on the handles of wrenches or
[Review types of pliers and wrenches used by your
pliers to gain more force. The tool could bend,
crew. Inspect sample tools for evidence of wear,
break, or fly off and hit you or someone else.
damage, or misuse.]
• Use pliers with enough space between the handles
to keep palm and fingers from being pinched.
• Pull on pliers; don’t push.
• Oil regularly. All it takes is a drop of oil on the hinge.
• Use pliers that are big enough to do the job with
reasonable effort.
• Don’t use pliers to turn nuts and bolts. The jaws
can slip and damage corners and edges of nuts
and bolt heads.
Hand Tools 46
This is the most misused tool in construction. • Keep the shank of the screwdriver in line with the
We use screwdrivers for chipping, chiselling, scraping,
prying, digging, gouging, testing circuits, making • Don’t hold the material in one hand and use the
holes, stirring paint, propping doors open, and taking screwdriver with the other. The screwdriver can
the lids off cans. slip and cut your hand.
Screwdrivers are designed for none of these jobs. • Discard screwdrivers with chipped handles, bent
shanks, and twisted or excessively rounded tips.
They’re designed to drive screws. Used for that and
nothing else, a good screwdriver will last a long time. • Redress screwdriver tips with a file to get a good
straight edge.
• Use the right screwdriver for the job. This means
the right kind of tip – slot, Robertson, Phillips, • Don’t use bench grinders to restore tips. The
whatever. It also means the right size. A excessive heat can destroy temper and reduce
screwdriver too big or small for the screw can the hardness of shank and tip. Filing should be
only lead to trouble. You’ll chew up the screw done by hand.
head, damage the screwdriver, gouge the
• Use screwdrivers with insulated handles for electrical
material, or scrape your knuckles.
work. But don’t expect to be shockproof. You still
• Always drill a pilot hole before driving a screw into have to take extreme care around live circuits.
• Don’t use pliers on the handle or shank of a
• Make sure that the screwdriver handle is intact, screwdriver for more power. To remove stubborn
free of splits or cracks, and clean of grease and oil. screws, for instance, use a screwdriver with a
square shank designed for use with a wrench.
• Don’t use excess force on a screwdriver. You
should only need enough force to keep the screw- [Review types of screwdrivers used by your crew.
driver in contact with the screw. With a properly Inspect a few for evidence of wear, damage, or misuse.]
sized and drilled hole, the screw will draw itself
into the material with minimum pressure and
Basic Safety
There are some basic rules to follow with any
electric tool.
√ Make sure the tool is properly grounded or
√ Never remove or tamper with safety devices.
√ Study the manufacturer’s instructions before you
operate any new or unfamiliar electric tool. • Inspect tool cords and extension cords for kinks,
cuts, cracked or broken insulation, and makeshift
√ Before making adjustments or changing attachments,
always disconnect the tool from the power source.
• Don’t use the cord to lift, lower, or carry an electric
√ Make sure that you hold the tool firmly and have the
tool. Don’t disconnect the tool by yanking or jerking
material well secured before you operate the tool.
on the cord. You’ll damage the cord, loosen
√ When operating electric tools, always wear eye connections, and run the risk of shocks and short-
protection. circuits.
Let’s take a closer look at some of these points. • Protect tool cords and extension cords from traffic.
Run them through conduit or between planks
• The tool must be properly grounded or
along either side. If necessary, run cords
overhead above work or travel areas.
• “Properly grounded” means an approved three-
• If any cord feels more than warm to the touch,
wire cord with a three-prong plug. You should only
check the circuit for overloading.
use the tool in a three-pole outlet or receptacle.
• Report any shocks from tools or cords to your
• Never cut off or bend back the ground pin on a
supervisor. Tag the tool “Out of Service for Repair.”
three-prong plug to make it fit in a two-pole
Do not use it.
receptacle. Never use a two-prong cheater or
adapter. • Outdoors or in damp or wet locations indoors, we
must use ground fault circuit interrupters. GFCIs
• If the tool is double-insulated, it will be labelled.
detect any current leaking to ground from a tool or
There are different labels in use – a D, a D inside
cord and quickly cut off power before damage or
a square, a double square, and so on.
injury can occur. In fact, GFCIs should be used
• Make sure that the casing of a double-insulated with all electric tools, regardless of location.
tool is not cracked, split, or broken.
[Inspect sample tools and cords used on the job.
• Inspect tool cords and extension cords daily for Show labels indicating double insulation.
damage. Demonstrate and explain how a circuit-tester and
GFCI can be used to test cords, tools and outlets.]
• Keep cords clear of the tool during use.
• Replace any open front plugs with dead front
plugs. Dead front plugs are sealed. They present
less danger of shock or shortcircuit.
[Have sample drills available to demonstrate.] Don’t underestimate the continuous pressure
required to control a heavy-duty drill or hammer drill.
We operate electric drills everyday. They’re one of
The low rpm means that you must hold and maintain
the most common electric tools used in construction.
pressure while the drill slowly does the job.
The most frequent problem is using too light a drill
Take a break when you have to, especially when
for the job.
you’re up on a ladder or scaffold.
If you have to push or crowd the tool beyond its
For some kind of drilling you may even need help.
capacity you can
Never try to drill heavy timbers by yourself. If the
• burn out the motor
self-feeding auger bit digs into a knot, the sudden
• ruin the material torque can twist or wrench your arm and throw you
off balance. You need someone to hold one handle
• injure yourself.
of the drill while you hold and guide the other.
Leaning into the drill and pushing too hard can be
When drilling deep holes with any drill, it pays to
dangerous. If you lose balance or control, you can
withdraw the bit several times with the motor running.
strain your neck, arm, and shoulder muscles or fall.
This helps to clear cuttings from the hole.
The size of the drill is determined by the maximum
When you’re using a drill on loose material, securing
opening of the chuck. A 3/8 inch drill will only take
the work is half the battle.
bits or attachments with a shank up to 3/8 inch.
The general rule is HANDS OFF. Don’t hold the work
in your hand, on your knee, or against your boot
This kind of drill – trigger-controlled, variable while you’re drilling. Clamp small pieces in a vice. If
speed – is too lightweight for some jobs in you must hold larger pieces by hand, stay well clear
construction. of the drill.
The next step up is a 1/2 or 3/4 inch drill. These can When you’re drilling into something besides wood,
be one or two speed reversible models. They are your main concern should be pushing or leaning too
heavy-duty and designed to be used with two hands. hard on the drill. You can damage the tool or the
They have a second handle at the back and an work.
auxiliary handle that can be screwed into the top.
More important, you can be thrown off balance if the
This is what you want for drilling into concrete, steel, drill twists or stops.
heavy timbers, and so on.
You need a drill powerful enough for the job. And you
A heavier drill is also useful for hole saw bits and need a bit that is sharp and suited not only to the job
spade bits where the blade of the bit is considerably but to the size of the drill.
wider than the shank.
Punching a layout hole or drilling a pilot hole can
These attachments not only require power. They need make your work more accurate, efficient, and safe.
the kind of control that comes with a two-handled drill.
[Review types of drilling done by your crew. Inspect
For some work you’ll need an impact or hammer sample drills and bits used on the job.]
drill... like drilling large holes in concrete or rock with
a carboloy bit.
Sabre Saws
[Have models available to demonstrate.] • When the motor is running, never try to work a
blade in or out of a cut or lead hole.
Cutting with these saws calls for eye protection.
You should wear safety glasses with side shields. • Don’t try to make inside or pocket cuts without
Even better are goggles for dust or a face shield. first drilling a lead hole.
The sabre saw is used by many trades to cut holes in • Let the saw and the blade do most of the work.
ceilings, floors and walls and to make short, straight Don’t force the saw along or around a curve. The
cuts. It should not be used for continuous or heavy machine should turn with ease. If you have to
cutting. Use a circular saw for that. push the saw, the blade is dull or the stock is too
heavy for the saw.
The stroke of the sabre saw blade is only 1/2 inch for
the light-duty model and 3/4 inch for the heavy-duty. • Keep your free hand away from the front of the
Using this for continuous straight cutting is not efficient. saw.
The sabre saw cuts on the upstroke only. Splintering • Never reach under, around, or behind the material
will occur on the top side of the stock you’re cutting. being cut.
So you should keep the good side down.
• Make sure that the saw will clear the bench,
Clamping material is not only safe. It reduces vibration trestle, or other support.
and makes cutting more accurate.
You need two hands to maintain control, absorb
Blades come with anywhere from 7 to 32 teeth per vibration, and avoid accidental contact.
inch. For rough cutting of softwood and composition
Always make sure you know what’s on the other side
board, 7 teeth per inch will do the job best. For
of the surface being cut.
all-around work with most types of wood, a blade
with 10 teeth per inch is fine. Sawing into wires, cables, and pipes is the last thing
you want to do.
There are some basic safeguards to follow when
using a sabre saw. [Inspect sabre saws used on the job. Review
situations in which the saws should or should not
• Don’t start cutting with the blade in contact with
be used. Demonstrate external and inside cuts.]
the work. Let the saw reach full power before it
touches the work.
• Never put the saw down until blade and motor
have stopped.
• Hold the base or shoe of the saw in firm contact
with the work. This keeps the blade cutting
straight up and down and prevents it from twisting
or breaking.
[Present talk near fuel gas cylinders.] • Never drop cylinders or let them bang into each
We all know these things can take off and explode
like rockets. But fire and explosion aren’t the only • Chalk EMPTY or MT on cylinders to be returned
hazards. to the supplier. Close valves and replace
protective caps.
Leaking gas can make you dizzy or unconscious by
displacing breathable air or acting directly on your • Secure cylinders in use with rope, wire, or chain
lungs and bloodstream. to keep them upright.
Cylinders are also heavy and awkward to handle. • Never transport cylinders in the trunk of a car or in
a closed van. Escaping gas can collect in these
But construction would be impossible without
confined spaces and create the risk of explosion
compressed gas. So we have to know how to
or asphyxiation.
transport, store, and use compressed gas cylinders
safely. • Keep valves closed and cylinders capped when
not in use.
First of all, we’ve got to recognize
the hazard symbol for compressed gas. • Remove gauges and other attachments before
moving cylinders.
Cylinders are also labelled with their
contents and handling instructions. • Store cylinders in a secure area, preferably
It pays to read the WHMIS label for each of the
different cylinders you use. • Store cylinders away from heat and ignition
sources, flammable materials, and areas such as
Don’t accept or use any cylinder that’s not properly
elevators and traffic routes where they can be
knocked over or damaged.
How do we handle cylinders safely?
• Keep empty and full cylinders separate.
• Keep cylinders upright when you transport, store,
• Don’t store cylinders of different gases in the
or use them.
same area. Keep them separate.
• Move cylinders on a hand truck or dolly. Never roll
[Review labels. Check cylinders on site for proper
cylinders or hoist them by their collars. Use a
storage and use. Inspect sample cylinder and valve
hoisting cradle to lift and lower cylinders from
system for damage, leaks, and wear.]
level to level. Never use a magnet or sling for
Propane 51

Propane gas is heavier than air. If it leaks from car or in a closed van. Escaping gas can collect in
equipment or cylinders, it can accumulate in low-lying these confined spaces and create the risk of
areas such as basements, pits, and trenches. explosion or asphyxiation.
The dangers are explosion and asphyxiation. • Never roll cylinders like logs. Use a hoisting cradle
Asphyxiation means loss of consciousness and to lift or lower cylinders from level to level.
• Store cylinders where they won’t be struck by
If enough propane gas collects in a low-lying area, it falling materials or moving equipment. With snow
displaces air. Entering that area you may be overcome fence and T-bars we can make an enclosure for
and lose consciousness. storing and tying up cylinders. Store empty
cylinders on one side, full on the other.
Propane is combustible and explosive.
Concentrations in a basement or trench can be ignited • Never store cylinders in enclosed, unvented
by something as simple as turning on a light switch places such as trailers.
or an electric drill.
• Only cylinders in use should be inside a building.
If propane equipment such as a torch or heater goes That means cylinders hooked up to a heater or
out in a confined or low-lying space, we have to act other appliance. Otherwise store cylinders
quickly. outside, away from
√ Shut off gas and leave the area. - heat sources
√ Don’t go back to relight the equipment until the - ignition sources
area has been thoroughly ventilated to remove the
- other flammable materials such as wood and fuel
- other compressed gases.
√ Never enter the area without somebody standing
by to help in case you run into trouble. • Keep propane cylinders at least 15 feet, but no
more than 50 feet, away from the heaters they are
√ Don’t let propane saturate your clothing. Clothing
connected to.
remains highly flammable for some time after
exposure. It may not feel or smell unusual. But • Never expose any part of your skin to liquid
saturated clothing should be removed and aired propane. Propane under pressure is extremely
outside. cold and can cause frostbite.
The best way to prevent leaks is to handle propane Propane gas by itself is odourless. But suppliers add
cylinders and equipment properly. a strong-smelling chemical to the gas so that leaks
can be detected by smell. The stink is like rotten
• Always keep propane cylinders upright. Whether
you’re transporting, using, or storing cylinders,
make sure the relief valve is in contact with the [Review arrangements for storing, handling, and
vapour space in the cylinder. using propane on site.]
• Secure cylinders in use with rope, wire, or chain
to keep them upright.
• Never transport or store cylinders in the trunk of a

Hazards Controls
• Carbon monoxide can be deadly. It’s a clear, Wherever possible, operate engines outdoors.
colourless gas you can’t smell or taste. Its Welding machines and generators, for instance, can
chemical symbol is CO. be located outside while only the leads run into the
• In construction the major source of carbon
monoxide is engine exhaust. Gasoline, propane, When engines must be operated indoors, let’s take
and diesel engines all release carbon monoxide. some precautions.
Some types of welding may also produce CO.
√ Make sure the area is well ventilated. Keep doors
• Since CO has no taste or smell, you need special and windows open. Use fans to bring in fresh air if
instruments to detect it. Gas detectors for carbon necessary.
monoxide are available. Some are tubes that
√ Limit running time and don’t let engines idle.
change colour when CO is in the air. These can
be used only once. Others are continuous monitors √ Monitor CO levels regularly to make sure that
with a cell designed to sense carbon monoxide. ventilation is adequate.
[Demonstrate use of sample detectors.] √ Where necessary, use exhaust hoses or fans to
draw engine exhaust out of the work area.
• Carbon monoxide is dangerous because it interferes
with your body’s ability to use oxygen. In relatively √ Keep engines well tuned. They will run cleaner
small doses, carbon monoxide can kill you. and produce less CO.
• The first signs are headache and fatigue. √ Where possible, use equipment that is electrically
Increased exposure can rapidly lead to loss of powered rather than gasoline, diesel, or propane
consciousness, arrested breathing, heart failure, powered.
and death.
√ When other controls are inadequate, respiratory
protection must be worn. This means an air
supplied respirator. You need a respirator
attached to an independent supply of clean air.

Types Propane is also heavier than air. Leaking gas will

settle in low-lying areas such as basements and
Temporary heaters can be fuelled by
trenches. This can create the risk of asphyxiation
• electricity as well as explosion.
• liquids such as Number 1 fuel oil or kerosene Keep propane cylinders and tanks upright at all times.
• propane Tips with Heaters
• natural gas. √ All connections must be made by a trained,
competent worker.
√ Make sure the heater functions properly before
Electric heaters are not as common as fuel or gas
you get on with your work.
fired heaters. They’re used where heated air must be
free of combustion byproducts like carbon monoxide √ The cylinder connected to a heater must be at
and carbon dioxide. An electric heater is useful least 15 feet but no more than 50 feet away.
where we work in a closed space and the supply of Cylinder and heater must always be in the same
fresh air is limited. room so the cylinder valve can be shut down
quickly if trouble develops.
Liquid Fuel
√ Some heaters are connected by feed lines to a
Liquid fuels such as oil and kerosene provide an
centrally located bulk tank. But the shut-off valve
economical source of heat. But you need a large
must still be in the same room as the heater.
storage tank on site for a constant supply of fuel to
refill the heaters. √ Keep the flame end of the heater pointed away
from the cylinder and away from flammable
Some liquid-fuelled heaters release exhaust fumes
materials. The heat from a burner is effective
with an oily smell. This can be hard on workers in
well past the tip.
the area. It’s possible to vent the heater outdoors
and produce a large volume of heated air free of √ Make sure the heater has a supply of fresh air to
combustion byproducts. This is sometimes done to operate safely and efficiently.
heat the air over a new concrete placement in winter.
√ Test heated areas for the presence of carbon
Propane/Natural Gas monoxide.
Propane or natural gas heaters provide an economical [Inspect heaters in use on site, connections to
supply of heat. The equipment is lightweight and cylinders, and storage arrangements for cylinders.]
easy to move around on site.
Both gases are highly flammable and explosive.
Precautions are necessary with handling, storage,
and use. [Refer to SAFETY TALK on propane.]
Ultraviolet SAFETY TALKS

At some point we’ve all been burned by the sun. It’s important to protect your eyes as well.
Sunburn is the effect of ultraviolet radiation on the Ultraviolet radiation can cause cataracts and other
skin. Overexposure to UV radiation can cause skin eye damage.
Wear tinted safety glasses with UV protection.
Ultraviolet light is beaming down on us every day.
The sunlight doesn’t have to be direct. Light reflected
With less ozone in the atmosphere, the risks of
off surfaces such as sand, water, concrete, and snow
exposure have increased.
can also cause UV exposure.
When we work any time in the sun, especially in
Weather reports now include a UV index. This gives
spring and summer, we need to minimize the hazards
you an idea of how intense the ultraviolet radiation
of UV exposure.
will be under clear sunshine or light cloud.
There are two simple steps.
When the index is high – 7 or higher – you can get
1) Wear a shirt and long pants to cover most of sunburned in only 15 to 20 minutes.
your skin.
The highest exposure of the day is from noon to 2.
2) Protect the rest of your skin with
Sunscreen and glasses with UV protection should
sunscreen – number 15 or higher. Reapply the
be standard equipment for anyone working in
sunscreen generously every two or three hours.
construction during spring and summer.
Report Form

Title of Safety Talk_________________________________________________________________________

Company Project

Talk Given By Date

Crew Attending

Results of Inspection, Demonstration, or Other Activity During Talk

Signed ______________________________________ Title________________________________________

Retain copy for company records.

Construction Safety Association of Ontario



21 Voyager Court South, Etobicoke, Ontario M9W 5M7
416.674.2726 1.800.781.2726 Fax: 416.674.8866

ISBN 0-919465-88-9 V005

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