Importance of Organized Laydown Yards Safety Talk
If you have ever worked on a construction site, you know just how messy they can be. One of the messiest places is typically the laydown yard. A messy laydown yard isn’t just a sight for sore eyes, it can also present a number of safety hazards for employees and the company.
In this toolbox talk, we’ll cover hazards found on laydown yards and how to eliminate them, as well as best practices for keeping laydown areas organized.
What is a laydown yard in construction?
A laydown yard (also called a laydown area) is an area on a construction site where tools, materials, equipment, and vehicles are stored temporarily when they are not in use. Laydown areas are most common on construction sites, but other industries like manufacturing or oil field operations use them as well.
Laydown yards are usually covered with rock and or gravel to ensure accessibility and safe transport and unloading of vehicles. If you are unfamiliar with where the laydown area on your jobsite is located, ask a supervisor or a coworker to show you.
Hazards Of Laydown Areas
There’s a long list of hazards that can be found on laydown yards. Most of the hazards depend on what is being stored there and the operations that are taking place on the construction site. Some of the common hazards that you should be aware of are:
Slip, Trip, And Fall Hazards
One of the most common hazards that are present when a laydown area is disorganized is slip, trip, and fall accidents. When an item is stored in a laydown area, it needs to be organized and not just thrown anywhere and everywhere. Workers should be able to navigate the yard and walk through without tripping over items that are out of place.
Equipment is often moving in and out of the laydown area throughout the day. Moving equipment presents a struck-by hazard for any worker or visitor that is in the area where it is moving.
When you are discussing hazards in the worksite, insects and animals do not normally come to mind. When you are dealing with a laydown area, however, it is common to see some critters crawling around. These can include snakes, ticks, spiders, bees, wasps, raccoons, and other wild animals who are looking for food and trying to get out of the weather. The shelter of the equipment and the materials make perfect hiding places for these little creatures.
Although construction site theft is not really considered a safety hazard, it is a common occurrence in a laydown area. Materials, pieces of equipment, and vehicles are often left unattended making them an easy target for thieves to steal what they want if the jobsite is left unsecured.
Property damage is also not considered a safety hazard, but it could lead to one. Lots of tools, materials, and equipment are stored in the laydown area and in one central location. Property damage can occur easily when vehicles or equipment is being moved. Moving vehicles can strike or run over these items if they are not stored properly and organized or if the operator is not paying attention to where they are going. If tools, materials, or equipment are damaged in the laydown area and workers unknowingly still use these, it could lead to injury.
Hazard Elimination in Laydown Areas
If you are looking for ways to make sure the laydown yard where you work is hazard-free, check out these tips for eliminating the hazards mentioned above.
Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls & Struck-By Hazards
Good housekeeping and proper organization will eliminate most of the slip, trip, and fall hazards. A laydown area that is organized and kept up will also help eliminate the struck-by accidents that could happen with workers and objects.
Preventing Biological Hazards
Biological hazards are difficult to avoid, but if you inspect your items before moving and using, you should be able to notice critters before you are bitten or injured by one.
Theft can not always be avoided, but you can help prevent it by keeping the jobsite secure and locking vehicles at all times. Keep your eyes and ears open if you hear of anything missing and never discuss with outsiders what is kept on your job site area.
Preventing Property Damage
Property damage can be reduced if you and your coworkers keep the laydown area organized and neat also. If items are where they should be, the chance of running them over or hitting them while moving vehicles or equipment is reduced.
Organization Best Practices For Laydown Yards
Most of the time, a foreman or supervisor has already organized a laydown area and has it set up the way it will work for the job site. However, it is essential that all the workers maintain the organization.
Laydown yards can be small and house a lot of materials, tools, equipment, and vehicles. There are constantly things moving in and out and around so at times it is hard to see how to set the area up to help everyone. Some of our best practices for staying organized are:
Make sure there is plenty of space between heavy equipment and materials that are moved frequently.
Place items that are not needed soon or items that are rarely used out of the way.
Make sure there are walking paths for all workers to access the areas and materials needed.
Use caution tape and barriers to keep people and visitors out of hazardous areas and where the heavy equipment may be traveling.
Discard any items that are unrepairable or simply trash to avoid clutter.
Put things where they go as soon as you are done with them–don’t wait until the end of the day.
Inspect and reevaluate the area routinely to see if the organization can be improved.
Keep Laydown Yards Organized and Safe
Laydown areas and yards are often neglected because many workers just do not see the importance of keeping them up. With neglect comes unnecessary hazards that can result in injuries to you and your co-workers that are in the area. Do your part in keeping the laydown area neat, clutter-free, and safe!
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