Every industry has various methods and tools, but proper equipment use and training are a must to keep everyone safe and healthy. This guide will explain the reasons you should stay organized and use best practices when following trade worker safety guidelines.
1. Ensure You Have the Correct Equipment
Based on your specific working environment, you may need to supply your employees with personal protective equipment, including the following.
- Hard hats
- Safety glasses
- Steel-toed boots
- Chemical masks
Each trade relies on different PPE to keep employees safe. For instance, plumbing technicians often deal with hazardous materials, and require gloves, masks and non-slip shoes that let them move around with fundamental safety precautions. Electricians use insulated gear to avoid shocks from electrical currents. HVAC technicians often wear goggles, gloves and sturdy work boots to avoid injuries from the tasks they perform daily. These are only some examples of PPE in various trades.
Having the correct tools for the job is also an essential part of safety and success. Trying to complete a task with the wrong tool can increase the risk of injury. Untrained workers may have less appreciation for PPE and safety equipment, compared to employees with more experience. Veteran workers, managers and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are excellent resources to take advantage of when learning about safety precautions and guidelines.
2. Prepare Adequately
Thorough preparation on any job site is proactive, not reactive. Thinking about what could go wrong in any situation and planning accordingly can increase trade workers' safety.
One example of this is the first-aid facilities on large-scale labor projects. Larger-scale labor projects must follow trade worker safety guidelines by supplying approved first-aid facilities that are readily accessible for emergency use at all times. Another instance is when designated have signs reading "Danger," "Caution" or other specific instructions. This signage allows workers to prepare for what might happen in that section of the job site.
Another way trade workers can proactively prepare is by cleaning their tools after use. Doing so can decrease the risk of equipment or tool malfunction causing an injury. Leaving tools disorganized and cluttered can create more problems than solutions, so planning what tools you will need for the day to execute tasks can be a proactive way to stay organized and safe.
One frequently overlooked safety precaution includes planning for weather conditions. For example, when there is extreme heat and employees are working on their feet all day, it is essential to build in breaks and supply enough water to stay hydrated. Adequately preparing your strategies for the day and the equipment you bring can make or break your workplace safety and efficiency.
3. Follow Proper Procedures
OSHA is the entity that creates and enforces specific regulations and procedures for each industry, including requiring high-quality PPE and the correct tools for particular jobs. Companies can also implement various processes to protect employees on the job site, including scheduling regular meetings to review or update trade workers’ safety guidelines.
Many procedures have standards such as:
- Keeping the work area clean to avoid trips, slips or falls
- Wearing PPE when using power tools or doing tasks with the risk of flying, falling, splashing or abrasive objects
- Thoroughly training employees on equipment before letting people use it
- Surveying job sites to determine if there are any hazards employees need to be aware of
- Avoiding the risk of injury by always using the correct tools for the job
Ongoing training will encourage employees to follow the procedures more effectively and set trainees up to maintain their safety and success on the job site. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes, but learning from them is crucial. Often, evaluating the area, using the correct tools and not overextending or overexerting yourself will decrease the risk of injury or damage to materials. Reviewing OSHA’s training requirements can provide an excellent starting point to learn more about the procedures and training.
4. Get Proper Training
Various industries have different qualifications and training standards. Earning a certification or completing a specific degree program can give someone extensive knowledge and demonstrate their commitment to their craft.
- Top management: Some orientations should include coverage of Section 19 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Executive Order 12196 and the agency safety and health program.
- Supervisors: Sometimes, training should include specialized courses and materials that help supervisors recognize, eliminate or reduce occupational safety hazards. Training also encompasses orientations for top management.
- Laborers: Laborers receive workplace safety and health training and become knowledgeable about any specific tools or machinery they need to operate.
Safety and health inspectors also have specific training they use to ensure all laborers and supervisors are implementing best practices at work. For example, incorrect equipment use is a leading cause of workplace injuries and accidents. Correctly using tools significantly reduces the risk of injury. Skilled tradespeople should follow safety guidelines to prevent unfortunate incidents.
5. Pay Attention Even During Routine Activities
Everyone has a shared responsibility to be cautious and safe on the job site. That means workers must always give tasks their full attention, even when performing routine activities. Safety precautions may seem irrelevant with a job you've completed dozens or hundreds of times, but each piece of work deserves your undivided concentration.
The top work-related injuries come from exposure, overexertion or slips/trips/falls when coming into contact with materials, equipment or tools. By practicing awareness when lifting, climbing or walking with materials, you can become more detail-oriented when working on the job site. Reporting any dangers can increase workplace safety and should be a priority. Remember, your attention can suffer when you become complacent, frustrated or tired. Maintain safety guidelines for tradesmen, and always talk to your supervisor if you see anything that seems off or makes you feel wary.
6. Know Your Rights
Knowing your rights as a skilled tradesperson is critical for your safety and work life. OSHA’s mission is to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for workers by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.
OSHA offers excellent resources to learn more about job site safety guidelines and what your employer should be doing to protect their employees. Each worker has rights and responsibilities that include but are not limited to:
- The right to fair pay
- The right to take unpaid leave
- Child labor laws and rights
By law, employers must respect your rights. If an employer or employee must report or claim something, the U.S. Department of Labor has forms available to fill out for each specific need.
Reviewing Safety Guidelines for Trade Workers
Health and safety guidelines for tradespeople are vital on any work site to prevent injuries and improve employee morale. At Advantage Outfitters, we are proud to supply commercial equipment and accessories for cargo vans that keep workers organized when traveling between job sites. We know you rely on your work van to maintain your reputation for professionalism, and we want to help you do your job better by letting you bring all your valuable tools with you.
With equipment from Advantage Outfitters, you can arrive on the work site equipped with everything you need to complete tasks safely and efficiently. Contact us today to learn more about upfitting your trustworthy work vehicles.