Worksite Safety Checklists for Volunteers

It is the responsibility of each volunteer to be aware of the General Safety checklist before beginning work, and to practice the advice therein throughout the workday. The work leader and SSO will be responsible for discussing and enforcing the rest of the checklists, as they apply to the work of the day, with the volunteers.

1. General Safety

Speak up – if something looks unsafe, it probably is. Speak to the work leader or SSO.  No volunteer should undertake any activity that they do not feel they can do safely.

Don’t lift beyond your strength, get a partner. Bend your knees, lift with your back straight.

Keep an eye on your load as you move and turn so as not to whack someone with a board.

Do not run, especially when carrying tools or materials.

Know where water and the first aid kit are located, and take frequent rest and water breaks. Fatigue leads to accidents.

Each person at the worksite is responsible for his/her own safety and should feel empowered to point out unsafe situations or behaviors involving themselves or others to a WVHFH representative.

Tell the house leader or SSO immediately in case of an injury.

Think and concentrate on your task.

If you are uncertain about how to do a task, ask the house leader.

Wear clothing loose enough to permit easy bending but not loose enough to get caught in tools.

Wear safety glasses whennailing.

Wear gloves when doing work (framing, etc.) that leads to hand injury.

Ask the house leader or SSO to explain the proper use of ladders and scaffolding when they are needed on the jobsite.

Do not operate unfamiliar tools without approval or supervision.

Volunteers during the Big Build are not allowed to operate a power tool.  After the Big Build, volunteers must be instructed on the tools they use by the Building Superintendent and use all applicable safety precautions.

2. Security and Housekeeping

Keep the area around the building clear of debris.

Keep the interior of the building, including stairs, halls, and open floor areas, free of debris.

Remove nails from scrap lumber as soon as practical.

Keep all electrical cords free of entanglement with loose materials and in good repair.

Wipe up spilled liquids on areas that may cause workers to slip.

Remove excess tools, small pieces of material, sawdust, mud and power cords that represent a potential for injury on the job site.

Stack unused lumber and building materials neatly so as to reduce the chance of tripping and to assist in accounting for materials.

Discard banding material as soon as it is removed frombundled materials.

3. Ladders

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

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.

Do not place tools or materials on ladder platforms or steps.

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

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

The top of extension ladders must extend at least 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 your body near the middle of the ladder for all work activities; leaning off the edge of a ladder leads to falls.

Never step on the top rung or platform of a step ladder.

Only one person should be on a ladder at a time.

Do not use metal ladders near an open electrical exposure (eg., a live power wire entering a house).

Do not place heavy objects on ladder platform. 

Do not place anything on ladder steps.

4. Rough-in Carpentry

There will be a  volunteer to remove nails from discarded lumber as soon as practical.

Volunteers should wear hard hats during the framing stage. Be sure to watch for materials falling from above.

Caution older volunteers not to work on jobs requiring ladders, scaffolding or heights.

Volunteers should never work on a roof alone.

5. Siding

Volunteers should move materials close to the work area to minimize carrying distances.

Volunteers should be knowledgeable in the proper use of tools for cutting the siding material, eg., hardi-plank© dulls many tools.  Volunteers should tell the person in charge of cutting with power saws, the required dimensions for installation.

Use proper respiratory devices when cutting hazardous materials, eg., hardi-plank© contains silica which is noxious if inhalein high concentrations.

6. Paint, Floor and Interior Trim

Ladder safety- ensure that the ladders are in good condition, and that there are an adequate number of appropriate size ladders.

Volunteers should be cautioned to use respiratory protection when sanding or when applying noxious materials.

Noxious paint or flooring materials should not be stored on the work site.