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Stay safe, California: Tips for construction workers and others

The state of California's Department of Industrial Relations put what it titled the Hazard Assessment Checklist on its website.

It's 20 pages of reminders of how a workplace should - and should not - be maintained to keep it safe, and it is daunting.

While it's a one-size-fits-all list to cover just about any workplace, much of the content applies to the construction industry. It reminds employers what they must do to make sure workers go home to their families each night the way they left in the morning.

Here are a few of the tips contained on the checklist, as taken from the website:

Ladders

  • Are all ladders maintained in good condition, joints between steps and side rails tight, all hardware and fittings securely attached and moveable parts operating freely without binding or undue play?
  • Are nonslip safety feet provided on each ladder?
  • Are nonslip safety feet provided on each metal or rung ladder?
  • Are ladder rungs and steps free of grease and oil?
  • Are employees instructed to face the ladder when ascending or descending?

Hand tools and equipment

  • Are all tools and equipment used by employees at their workplace in good condition?
  • Are broken or fractured handles on hammers, axes and similar equipment replaced promptly?
  • Are appropriate safety glasses, face shields and similar equipment used while using hand tools or equipment that might produce flying materials or be subject to breakage?
  • Are jacks checked periodically to ensure they are in good operating condition?
  • Are tool-cutting edges kept sharp so the tool will move smoothly without binding or skipping?

Portable power tools and equipment

  • Are grinders, saws and similar equipment provided with appropriate safety guards?
  • Are power tools used with the correct shield, guard or attachment recommended by the manufacturer?
  • Are circular saw guards checked to assure they are not wedged up, thus leaving the lower portion of the blade unguarded?
  • Are rotating or moving parts of equipment guarded to prevent physical contact?
  • Are pneumatic and hydraulic hoses on power-operated tools checked regularly for deterioration or damage?

These are just 15 of the hundreds of reminders on the website. If you are a California construction worker, survey your workplace before you start your day, and speak up if you find conditions against the safety-first mantra. If you have been injured, an attorney with experience in workplace industry injuries can help you recoup any losses.

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