7 Overlooked Job Site Safety Rules That Can Save a Life

To protect your crew, follow the Boy Scouts motto, “Be Prepared,” as you head out to your next installing job

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Your tailgate safety meetings probably focus mainly on the major hazards involved with onsite system installation work, like operating heavy equipment and trench shoring. But don’t forget about these seven basic safety issues that are easily overlooked:


Particular care should be taken when lifting heavy or awkward items. Tools and equipment to assist with lifting specific items are available, but the tools must be in good condition. The following steps should be practiced to avoid personal injury:

  • Do not lift more than can be handled comfortably. (U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards set a limit of 50 pounds per person.)
  • Store heavier objects at waist height rather than on the floor.
  • Use the buddy system whenever possible.
  • Establish a solid footing and good balance before lifting.
  • Get as close to the load as possible when lifting or carrying.
  • Keep the back straight, grip the object firmly and use the legs (not the back) to provide lift.
  • Never carry a load that is too large to see over or around; use a hand-truck, cart or dolly instead.


Cellphones can be lifesavers in an emergency. However, casual use on the job site is a tremendous distraction. If a company has no official policy regarding cellphone use on the job, workers tend to make and receive calls without regard to consequences. This effectively becomes the policy and is a potential safety issue. Company policy should clearly indicate casual cellphone use is not approved during work time. The policy should also address earphones and personal music devices since use of these on the site is clearly inappropriate. 


Uneven surfaces, slopes and ditches are often the norm on sites where systems are being installed. Workers can trip and fall. Equipment can become unstable and tip over. Both the operator and other crew members working nearby must be aware of this and position themselves to avoid injuries. Open access ports should be taped off or barricaded to prevent falls.


Trees can also be a hazard. Branches can whip back and cause serious injury. Trees may fall, especially if vegetation near them was removed prior to construction. Look overhead for large dead limbs that could drop. Poisonous and rough vegetation are typically found in wooded areas but can be an issue on any site. Poison ivy, poison oak, berry bushes and thorny vines are examples. It is important to be able to identify plants that may pose hazards.  

Insects and snakes

Look for biting or stinging insects such as bees, hornets, wasps, scorpions, black widow spiders, brown recluse spiders, mosquitoes, biting flies or fire ants. Insect repellant should be available to ward off mosquitoes that may carry infectious disease. If any employees are subject to anaphylactic shock as a result of a bee or hornet sting, this information should be common knowledge among crew members. Kits for administering this type of first aid should always be available and someone on site should be familiar with how to respond to such a situation. 

Snakes, poisonous or not, may surprise employees and result in injuries. If an employee is bitten by a poisonous snake, prompt first aid should be administered followed by seeking professional medical attention.

Weather conditions

Excessive heat and cold cannot be ignored as they can cause severe illness or even death. Hydration is important no matter what the season and clean drinking water must be available at all times. 

Excessively wet or dry soil conditions influence excavation activities because of their effect on soil stability. Heavy downpours that occur on the day of installation will obviously shut down the job, but a downpour that occurred the day before must also be considered. Cease working during electrical storms. 

Crew health conditions 

It is important that when working on job sites that supplies are available to assist with known health conditions. This could include having an EpiPen, or generically an epinephrine auto-injector for an employee allergic to bees or a high carbohydrate snack for someone with low blood sugar due to diabetes.


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