Construction Safety Manual - Habitat for Humanity of Greater Bangor

Construction Safety Manual - Habitat for Humanity of Greater Bangor


Of Greater Bangor


83 Washington Street

Bangor, ME 04401

Phone: 207-942-8977

Fax: 207-947-1245


[email protected]

Board Approved June 26, 2012

Mission of this manual:

To create safety awareness and a safe working environment for all Habitat volunteers and staff.

Home construction can be a hazardous activity. It is expected that the Habitat for

Humanity of Greater Bangor’s construction process will be completed without any accidents.

We rely tremendously on our volunteers during each build project and safety is our top priority. Each volunteer prior to participating in a build must review this safety manual and abide by Habitat’s safety guidelines.


Steps needed to create awareness and a safe working environment are:

Communicate the previous year’s safety record in accidents and near misses per house built.

Abide by all child labor laws with the respect to tools and equipment.

Communicate the current year’s record of accidents and near misses per house built

Briefly discuss recent safety incidents

Set and communicate expectations:

 Work without any accidents or near misses

 Follow the guidelines and rules

 Everyone is responsible for the safety of fellow workers

Site leaders and crew leaders play a key role in creating safety consciousness

Crew leaders need to explain the safety guidelines for the specific task to be performed

Crew leaders need to demonstrate safe usage of the tools that will be used and audit the crew’s performance

All accidents and near misses need to be reported to the site leader, crew leader, or site support volunteer

An accident investigation and report needs to be completed on all accidents and near misses, including a recommendation on how similar accidents can be prevented in the future

Volunteers must be 14 to be on jobsite, 16 to use hand tools, 18 to operate power tools.

Group Guidelines:

(For house sponsors & outside groups that volunteer on Habitat worksites):

Each work group should appoint a safety officer

Prior to participating in a build, each group must review the expectations, rules, and guidelines.





Lift with legs, bend knees and keep a straight back

Have the appropriate number of people to lift/carry an object

Do not lift more than you can handle alone, have a partner help if needed

When carrying an object, watch for others to avoid hitting them

Watch for tripping hazards

Clutter/tripping hazards:


Keep tools close to your work area

When a tool is no longer being used, place in central area, out of traffic pattern

Carry tools with the sharp edge down

Electric cords/air hoses:

Use proper length of cord, excess cord becomes a tripping hazard

Avoid "spaghetti" look of cords/ hoses on the floor

Try to place the cords or hoses out of main traffic flow walkways

Keep the floor clear of clutter

Keep all walkways clear of trash/debris

When finished with a task, clean up area

Pick up and put away tools at the end of the day

Clean up spills as they occur


Building materials:

Stack building materials in a safe manner

Stack materials out of main traffic flow areas

Never leave boards laying around with sharp nails sticking out

Uneven ground around site:

Fill holes and/or ruts as needed

Proper attire:

No sandals or open-toed shoes may be worn on site, boots are recommended

Wear a shirt at all times

Shorts are permitted, but long pants are recommended

Do not wear dangly jewelry

Do not wear loose clothing when operating power tools

Personal Protective Equipment:

Wear a hard hat when appropriate, or when directed by a leader/supervisor

Wear goggles or safety glasses when operating any type of power nailer or saw (table saw, roto-zip, skil saw, etc) to prevent dust, debris, or flying objects from entering eye

Wear gloves when installing insulation, carrying building materials etc.

Long sleeved shirt must be worn when installing insulation.

Wear dust mask when installing insulation, using roto-zip or when someone is sweeping causing heavy air borne dust

Ear plugs or ear covers should be used when operating table saws, pneumatic nailers, roto-zips, etc in a confined area



Use ladders for the purposes for which they were designed. Do not use ladders for skids, braces or workbenches, etc.

Provide a stairway or ladder for any point of access where there is a break in elevation of 19 inches or more

Make sure ladder size meets job demands

Do not use step ladders as straight ladders, always open all four feet and lock spreaders in place on a step ladder and place in a level condition

Use proper angles when using straight and extension ladders. When using a non-selfsupporting ladder use the "four-to-one" rule: for every four feet of height, move the bottom of the ladder one foot from the wall

Secure straight and extension ladders by tying off the top or securing the base

Top of extension ladders must extend a minimum of three feet beyond the supporting object when used as an access to an elevated work area

Before climbing extension ladders, make sure latches are properly engaged

Extension ladders must be overlapped a minimum of three rungs

Keep body near the middle of the ladder. Avoid leaning off the edge of a ladder.

Move the ladder frequently so as not to be tempted to lean too far.

Do not step on the top rung or platform on a step ladder

Do not carry anything that will prevent holding on with both hands while ascending or descending the ladder. Use a tool belt or a tool bag to lift tools

Only one person on a ladder at a time

If it becomes necessary to place a ladder in or over a doorway, barricade the door

Do not use metal ladders near an electrical exposure and never use a ladder outdoors during inclement weather or on very windy days

When climbing, always face the ladder

Place your ladder on solid footing. If there is a danger of the ladder moving while you work, tie it down. If there is a danger that the ladder will be hit, barricade it. If the feet


of the ladder are not level, dig the ground out under one foot with the claw of a hammer rather than raising one foot with blocks

Falling objects:

Avoid tools or personnel sliding off of the roof, install a cleate (a 2x4 or 2x6 nailed to the roof which will act as a stop if a tool or volunteer slips)

Avoid leaving tools on top off ladder when moving it

Do not leave tools or other objects on ceiling rafters

When raising and placing walls, secure immediately

When leaning objects, ensure the angle is sufficient to prevent tipping over

Using wrong or poorly maintained tools:

Use tool for the intended purpose

Use proper tool for the job being performed

All cutting tools should be kept sharp. If not, do not use it!

If a tool is broken, or in poor working condition, take it to the site supervisor and do not use it. An orange DO NOT USE tag should be attached and the tool should be placed in the bin for tools needing repairs

Lack of training:

Power tools should not be operated without proper instruction. (do not assume a person knows how to use the tool just because they say so, watch his/her performance until you are satisfied the operator is competent)


Take precautions when climbing onto or off the roof (this is where many roof related falls occur)

When roofing, wear shoes with a soft sole with tread

Loose materials and sawdust should be removed frequently from the roof surfaces

Never work on a roof alone


Guards and safety interlocks:

All guards and safety locks should be kept in good working order or the piece of equipment should be taken out of service until repaired, attach a DO NOT USE tag

Any guards or safety lock provided by the mfg. MUST NOT be removed and kept in working order

Automatic nailers:

Goggles must be worn when using autonailers

Do not point nailers at people

When clearing a jam, take the battery out

When holding an object to be nailed, keep hands at least 4'' away from nailer

Do not stand directly in front of nailer

Do not carry the tool with finger on the trigger


When working on an electric wire, check to be sure power is off or the plug has been pulled

Do not use frayed or worn electrical cords (keep in good repair)

Maintain all electrical tools in safe condition and check regularly for defects

Avoid running electrical cords through puddles of water

Do not use a ladder within 10 feet of a power line

Care should be taken to use the appropriate length cord to avoid the excess cord from creating a tripping hazard.

Try to place cords out of traffic areas where it can cause a tripping hazard. (tape cord to floor, hang on nail or wall, if possible)

Do not use plug if ground prong is broken or cut off


Never carry power tool by the cord


Use eye protection when operating saws

Use ear protection when operating saw

Use of a dust mask is optional

Box Cutters:

Wear gloves

Cut away from your body, never cut towards yourself

Do not use a dull blade, change blade if cutting edge is dull

Keep your mind on your work

Always close the cutter or retract the blade when finished

Do not carry box cutters in your pocket or aprons, unless the blades are securely covered or completely retracted

Do not use blade as a screwdriver, can opener, or as a pry bar

Only use retractable and other safety cutters, these cutters are generally safer than fixed blade cutters

Air Compressor, Lines, Air Operated Guns:

CAUTION: Compressors generate 80 to 90 PSI pressure throughout the

system Treat with CAUTION!

Guns and hoses should only be connected BEFORE the compressor is started

Guns and hoses should only be disconnected after the compressor is shut off and the air BLEED off

DO NOT connect or disconnect components while the system is charged

DO NOT depress the trigger on the gun unless the gun is pressed against a wooden surface


Gun jams should not be cleared while the system is under pressure

Blood borne pathogens:

All cuts or wounds should be cleaned and bandaged immediately

An incident report must be filled out at the time of the incident

Blood on any surface such as tools, drywall, studs, decking, etc must be flushed with chlorine bleach and wiped off immediately

Disposable gloves should be worn when blood is involved to avoid contact

Other General Precautions:

Try to avoid distractions when you are performing a task---FOCUS

Avoid horseplay, practical jokes, or other activities that may create a distraction

Try to anticipate pinch points and keep hands clear

When you hurry, your chances of an accident increase

_____________________________Board Approved


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