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Summer Help

Project Spotlight – Clark County Center for Community Health
July 2, 2018
What’s New?
August 3, 2018

Construction work usually picks up in the summer months and many people also like to go on vacation in the summer. Combined, these two situations may mean that there are temporary workers around who are new to our jobsite. Some of those people may be very experienced construction professionals. Others may be high school or college students who have little or no experience on a construction site. Even if a temporary worker is only going to be here for a couple of weeks, you have a vested interest in helping that person work safely, because if he or she has an accident, you could be the person who gets injured. So, let’s talk about how we can all help keep temporary workers and ourselves safe!

All new workers will need some help learning about this site and how we work. Whether or not there is an official mentoring program, act like a mentor to new people. As an experienced pro, you can share knowledge, answer questions, demonstrate quality work, and reinforce safe practices. It’s one thing to tell new workers how to work safely, but it’s quite another for them to see how that knowledge gets put into practice in the real world.

Young workers need attention. First, there are some tasks that people under the age of 18 are not allowed to work on. The specific rules vary from state to state, but some common prohibitions include: roofing, demolition, working where explosives are used or stored, working where you may have forgotten what it was like to be young, but keep in mind that many young workers haven’t used power tools or even been on a jobsite. They may feel intimidated or be afraid to ask questions. It’s up to you to anticipate the questions that they won’t ask and give those answers. Even if you think you sound like a broken record, keep stressing the importance of safety, even for minor tasks. Sometimes this responsibility is simple, like reminding the new worker to wear his safety glasses.

Before you start a task, talk to new workers about the basics: Explain how to identify hazards. Tell them where they’ll need fall protection. Show them which chemicals are dangerous. Remind them to always report accidents and near misses. Point out the exits. Explain what PPE is needed, where to get it, how to put it on, and where to store it. Remind them to stay hydrated and to wear sunscreen. Explain how to dress for the weather and for construction work: long pants, work boots, etc.

Don’t adopt the mindset that training summer workers isn’t worth the trouble since they’ll only be around for the season. For your own good, teach them about safety. After all, anyone who doesn’t work safely and follow the rules puts everyone on the jobsite in danger. They’re exposed to radiation, operating fork lifts and other powered equipment, and working in excavations.

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