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Leave Yourself an Out Toolbox Talk

Planning a way out of dangerous situations is extremely important. Brief your crews on how to leave themselves an out on the jobsite.

Leave Yourself an Out Safety Talk

Leaving yourself an out is exactly what it sounds like, never have yourself in a situation without a way out of danger. When you are on a worksite, there are many scenarios that can happen to put you in harm's way, the line of fire. When you are working in an area, you should always be aware of your surroundings and know what you would do in case of an emergency.

Which way would you go and how would you escape. Many times when accidents happen, people don’t think through those types of scenarios. If more would take the time to be more aware, some of the incidents, injuries, and fatalities that happen could be avoided.

Looking Further Into “Leaving Yourself An Out”

Defining what “leaving yourself an out” means is very simple. It’s the steps or actions that you are going to take when danger comes your way. How you will escape a situation that is going to get you injured or killed.

It can be hard to come up with a plan in the blink of an eye when you notice danger coming in your direction. That is why it is so important to have a plan before you are put into the situation. “Leaving yourself and out” can mean saving your life in a bad situation.

Examples Of “Leaving Yourself An Out”

There are so many scenarios that can happen to put you in harm's way when you are working many different jobs. Being on a construction worksite, there are even more. You are working around tools, ladders, heavy equipment, loads being carried, moving vehicles, and more.

Knowing what you will do in these unfortunate situations that can happen is very important to protect yourself and those around you. This same defense plan can help you in life while driving, and many other situations as well. Let's Look into some examples of situations where you need a “leaving yourself an out” option.

Dropped Loads

Types of heavy equipment that are used on a construction site include forklifts, cranes, and front loaders. All of these heavy equipment hazards can pose a risk for people surrounding them or below them. There should never be a time that people are close enough to be injured by the load or have a load moving above their heads.

There should always be some type of barrier that is blocking off the areas that are at risk for people to be in during loads that are carried. That way if a situation occurs that a load is dropped, no people are in harm's way. If you ever find yourself in a situation where this is occurring, you should immediately utilize your “out”.

Working Near Heavy Equipment

Many times there are construction sites that may be near moving vehicles or have someone operating a vehicle on the premises. Regular vehicles are smaller than most pieces of heavy equipment, the person operating the heavy equipment may not see a vehicle until it is too late. If you do not have a planned “out” in a situation like this, you can very easily be stuck, injured, or killed.

Having a planned “out” that you can do in an emergency situation where you see danger coming your way can be the thing that saves your life. Many things that are on construction sites are dangerous in certain situations. Accidents happen all the time, but having a plan can help them to happen even less.

two construction workers pointing at safety hazard on jobsite.

Always Be Prepared and Aware Of Where You Are Standing At

Construction sites have a lot going on all at once. That is one reason it is so important to always be aware of your surroundings and where you are standing. Look to see who is working around you and what they are doing. This way you will be able to assess if you are in direct “lines of fire”.

When you are aware of what is going on, you will be more prepared if something goes wrong and you need to get out. Always make sure that you always “leave yourself an out”. This is a lesson that can help you while you are on the job and off.

Scenarios Of Being In The Line Of Fire

There are many different times during your job on a construction site that you may find yourself in the “line of fire” and needing an “out”. Some of the most common things that can occur to someone when they catch themselves not having an out are being stuck-between, stuck-in, struck-by, or released energy accidents.

  • Stuck-in/Caught-Between - This could be pinned by a piece of heavy equipment, a load, or a vehicle that was on the construction site.

  • Struck-By - This could also be by a load that is being carried, dropped, or even a piece of heavy equipment that couldn’t see you.

  • Released Energy - This could be a burn or anything else.

All of these scenarios can result in minor injuries, major accidents, or fatalities. Having an “out” could help you to prevent some of the injuries and deaths that happen due to these situations. That doesn’t mean every time, but more often than not it could save your life.

What To Do If You See An Unsafe Situation At Work

Not everyone is going to operate under the same work ethics as you do. There are rules and guidelines put into place by OSHA, NIOSH, and the business itself, but that doesn’t mean all employees abide by them as they should. Then there are some situations where someone may not have been properly trained.

If you are on the worksite and notice that someone is either in an unsafe area, working under dangerous situations, or in the “line of fire”, you should do what you can to make the person aware of that. Attention to the problem at hand should be made aware to your employer, manager, or supervisor. All employees should do their best to protect themselves and those around them.

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