Keep wrists and arms neutral
Working with your wrist flexed back or forwards increases the chances that you'll develop carpal tunnel syndrome. Avoid working with your arms outstretched, if possible; this puts more strain on your body. And if you develop pain, swelling, tingling, and signs of an overuse injury, take the time to rest. Trying to work through the pain will only make it worse.
Many back problems could be prevented if people would lift things correctly. You probably know the drill, but just in case, here it is: Bend your knees when lifting -- bending at the waist puts too much strain on your back. Put one foot slightly in front of the other for balance, avoid twisting to the side, and you'll avoid a lot of back aches.
Balance that tool belt
If one side of your 15- to 20-pound tool belt is a lot heavier than the other side, it can pull your body out of alignment; the muscles on one side will also work overtime, causing back pain. If one side has heavier tools, try to carry nails or other weighty materials on the other side to even things out. And remember to take your tool belt off during breaks to give your body a rest.
Sit down on the job
That is, when you have to work at a lower level. It's often easier to sit on a stool than strain your ligaments by stooping at the waist. It's also better than squatting, which can strain your knees and put you in an unstable position. Move a stable stool close to your work and enjoy some solid support.
Avoid dampness when using electric tools
If you're working in standing water or have on wet clothing -- or even if there's high humidity -- wear protective equipment such as insulated rubber gloves and boots. And in hot weather or a warm environment, towel off frequently -- believe it or not, even perspiration can be conductive! Dry your hands carefully before handling flexible cords and equipment that's plugged in, and if possible, turn off the electricity before you start working. Don't run extension cords in damp or wet areas, and be especially careful on ladders or scaffolding -- even a small shock can make you lose your balance.
According to NIOSH, the best safety combination is to pair eye goggles with face shields. This will protect you from dust, chemicals, and airborne particles such as flying metal shards.
Protect your lungs
Respiratory problems, such as chronic bronchitis, asthma, and lung cancer, are common among construction workers. Wear a facemask whenever working on a job that creates dust. If you're working with paint or lacquer, use a respirator to avoid breathing in the hazardous fumes.
Wear clothes and gloves that are appropriate for the work and weather conditions. Loose clothing is dangerous around power tools. Keep your feet protected with work boots or thick-soled shoes - there are often objects that fall or nails sticking out of boards. Wearing your hard hat is a given, you should be wearing your hardhat at all times. Earplugs are often advisable for workers regarding long term care of your body.
Keep work site clean
Maintaining a clean work site contributes to the efficiency of the worker and is important in preventing accidents. Provide clear access to aisles and walkways when positioning building materials and supplies in piles. Stay on top of cleaning up all rubbish and scrap materials. Do not permit blocks of wood, nails, bolts, empty cans, pipe, wire or other materials to accumulate on the work site. Keep tools and equipment that are not being used in chests, panels or toolboxes. This protects the tools and the workers.
Poisons and toxic substances
The poisons, toxic substances, and hazardous materials that can be found most often on a work site are adhesives, solvents and surprisingly, animal feces. Special care must be taken when you come in contact with any of these substances or any unfamiliar substance. For instance, painting and cleaning solvents should be stored in labeled containers with safety instructions. Wear dust masks when working in dusty areas that could contain dust containing animal feces (such as rodent droppings).
Proper tool use
These are some of the basics of construction and yet, people often forget them. If you are using a saw, don't bind the blade of any saw. If a saw blade binds, it will kick back toward the operator. Use two hands to hold circular saws and have solid footing. Don't overreach. Keep electric cords out of the way of the saw. Never lower or carry a power tool by its cord. A three-pronged plug must be used on all electric power tools. Extension cords must not have frayed insulation or be fastened with staples, hung from nails or suspended from wires.
Scaffolding and ladders
Use a ladder that will reach the work. A ladder should reach three feet above the step off point. For every four feet of height, move the bottom of the ladder one foot away from the wall. Place ladders on solid footing. Never use an aluminum ladder in the vicinity of electrical lines and never use a ladder outdoors during inclement weather or on very windy days. Don't leave loose objects on the roof or on a ladder. Keep your tools in your tool belt at all times. Put away nails and place plywood and stack shingles so that they are stable and secure. As for scaffolding, make sure that it is elevated 10 feet or more and equipped with a safety railing. All scaffolds must be equipped with a toe board to eliminate the possibility that tools or debris will be kicked or pushed onto people below. A scaffold must be designed to support four times the weight of the workers and the materials resting on it. Scaffolding components that are not designed to be compatible should not be mixed. Inspect all scaffolding each day before using it. Never use damaged or defective equipment and avoid rusted parts since their strength is unknown. When erecting scaffolding, provide adequate sills for the scaffold posts and use base plates. Use adjusting screws, not blocks, when on an uneven grade. Make sure to plumb and level scaffolding and do not force end braces when constructing the scaffolding.
Stay focused on your job, your surroundings and be aware of others around you. Drink plenty of water and use sunscreen. Know the location of first aid kits; protective equipment, and hospital/urgent care facilities. Protect your back by bending your knees to lift and don't lift beyond your ability.
Job Site Safety
Next time you go onto a job site or into your work area, ask yourself the following questions:
WHERE’S THE NEXT ACCIDENT GOING TO HAPPEN?
By asking this question you may be able to find an existing hazard and resolve it before it becomes someone’s injury.