Construction sites can be hazardous areas, but they’re still a necessity for modern society. Even people passing by can be at risk of injury, to say nothing of the visitors and workers on the site.
To stay safe, there are several construction safety rules and rules to follow when you’re in such an area.
Many of these rules are universal; you must wear a certain type of clothing, protect your head, and so on. Also, these rules apply not just to construction workers but visitors too. However, construction sites in different regions may have unique rules according to their requirements. In a place like Tennessee, for instance, the climate, terrain, demographics, and other factors lead to a specific combination of construction site rules.
State-Specific Safety Regulations for Tennessee
Many construction site safety rules in Tennessee align with the United States federal guidelines. However, every construction company and worker should know certain state-specific requirements when operating in this state. Here are some of these regulations:
- The main authority for such regulations is TOSHA (Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration). It’s responsible for establishing and enforcing safety rules in workplaces regardless of their sector or industry. Construction sites also come under this category.
- Employers in the construction industry have to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to their workers
- Separate regulations for trending and excavation projects, as these may cause cave-ins and other hazards
- Electric safety regulations when handling electrical equipment
- The requirement of a hazard communication program for informing employees about potential hazards such as mudslides, landslides, or dangerous substances in the construction work
- Tennessee follows the fall protection standards outlined by OSHA, requiring employers to give training to their employees as well as safe work practices, fall protection equipment, etc.
It’s evident that anyone considering construction in Tennessee needs to stay updated on the most recent requirements. This is also important if you’re planning on hiring professionals for commercial construction services because you will need to make periodic trips to the site, and maintaining your safety in those moments is paramount.
Apart from region-specific rules, everyone connected to a construction site needs to know the basic regulations. Here are some safety rules.
1. PPE Is Essential
When you’re on a construction site, wearing your personal protective equipment is a necessity. Here are some examples of this equipment:
- Safety helmets or hard hats: These will protect the workers’ or visitors’ heads from impact in case of a falling object, tripping incident, etc.
- Earplugs: For when there are loud noises on the site
- Hi-viz or high-vision clothing: For identifying workers in a high-traffic area or in poor lighting
- Safety goggles or glasses: For shielding eyes from dust or flying particles
- Safety gloves: These might be chemical-resistant or cut-resistant, depending on the task at hand
- Shoes or boots with steel toes: These protect the toes from impact from heavy falling objects and other crushing hazards
- Masks: To protect the worker against fumes, dust, or germs
- Fall protection: This includes lanyards, anchors, or harnesses when a person is working above a certain height
2. Getting an Induction Before Working
Before starting any new job, make sure that someone gives you an induction. This refers to a kind of training that familiarizes you with the site and task. The points below will highlight the importance of induction:
- Every site has a unique set of risks and hazards
- No two construction sites are the same, so even experienced workers will need an induction before starting new work or a new project
- Inductions tell a worker what is going on in a site and what to expect so they can work as safely as possible
- Inductions are usually a legal requirement for every construction company and site, so not having one can lead to the need for a construction accident lawyer if thing go awry
- The induction will tell a worker how and where they can sign in, where they have to go, what they need to do, and what they need to avoid
3. Keep the Site Clean
Construction work creates a lot of tripping and slipping hazards. It’s unavoidably messy, which is why site-related injuries are so common.
With this in mind, every construction worker should remember the following points:
- The work areas need to be clear of potentially hazardous objects
- Areas like escape routes, access routes, and high-traffic spots should get even more attention
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4. Report Any Problems
Any potential problem, like a defect or irregularity, should come to the notice of your supervisor right away. A construction site is not the place to avoid or ignore problems.
You might have to fill out an incident report, a near-miss report, or verbally speak to the site supervisor. Once the management is aware of the issue, they can take the most effective ways to resolve it.
One important point to remember: never try to fix a problem on your own. Here are a few reasons why:
- Removing scaffold ties or guardrails can put you and other people in danger. The same goes for tampering with machine guards or any other safety equipment.
- You might get all the blame if an injury or accident happens after you tried to fix things
- If someone suffers a serious injury or fatality after you’ve tinkered with the equipment, the mental stress might stay with you forever
- Tampering without authorization can get you in legal and financial trouble
5. Clear Signage
Every site should have proper signs throughout the area. These may include valuable information such as:
- A map
- Emergency numbers
- The location of the toilets
- Exit and entry points
- First aid
- Fire protection
Once these signs are up, the construction site workers should know how to use them. There should be a separate training session on how to recognize and use such signage. Some signs may have certain instructions on them, which also require careful attention from everyone on the site.
The above list is not an exhaustive one. Construction safety rules might change depending on where you are and what the ongoing project involves. These rules and regulations are there for the safety of the workers and visitors, so it’s essential to follow them at all times.
Laws and regulations can also change and develop over the years. It’s important to check and verify the latest updates before visiting any construction site or starting any construction work. Stay on the safe side and encourage others to do the same!