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HazardSpotting: A horrendously unsafe home construction job


One of our pet peeves is driving past residential construction or roofing jobs where crews are working without PPE or any form of fall protection. The crew on this home construction project has taken the term "deathwish" to a whole new level!

Here's what we see: A crudely improvised scaffold made of 2x4s: This set-up is astoundingly unsafe. All it would take is for one leg to break or fail and the whole assembly would come down like a set of dominos, taking the gentleman in the red shirt and blue cap along with it. Look at the way he's balancing by holding on to the soffit of the house. Yes, it's three-point contact all right - but not exactly safe. If he loses his balance, even for a split second, he could be seriously injured by a fall to the ground. He could potentially fall on the man in the white shirt with his back toward the camera, injuring him, too. Presumably, the main in the red shirt needs to work with his hands while standing on this 2x4 "tightrope." What then? How will he support himself? Fumbling for his hammer and nails, he could easily lose his balance. No PPE: Other than work boots, none of these workers are using PPE. No hard hats or eye protection. These guys are cowboys, convinced that an accident can never happen to them. They don't realize just how much they're tempting fate on this job. No fall protection: The two men on the steeply-sloped roof of this new house aren't wearing any fall protection. The man who is bent over is pulling a sheet of plywood up to the roof. Unfortunately, the weight of the plywood is trying to pull him in the other direction, over the precipice and down to the ground.

Ideally, they should be using some sort of a pulley system or a rough-terrain forklift to deliver the plywood to them. Not only would this be more productive than struggling with it by hand, it would also be much safer. On residential roofing jobs, we see crews working like this every day, with no fall protection harnesses or anchors to prevent them from falling. Presumably, this is because it costs too much to invest in this safety equipment. But that's nothing compared to the cost of workman's compensation for someone on your crew who fell and seriously injured himself. Trip hazards everywhere: The entire area in front of the house has plywood and dimensional lumber scraps strewn around it everywhere, creating numerous trip hazards. Don't cut corners like this crew is doing - or you may accidentally cut short your life! Looking to avoid? See: Workplace Instant Reporter Checklist #HazardSpotting is a community safety initiative that helps raise awareness about dangerous workplace safety violations, developed by MySafetySign.com and supported by VISTA Training, Inc.

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