Overhead Hazards Toolbox Talk
Learn about common overhead hazards, how to avoid them, and what to do in the event of injury.
Overhead Hazards Safety Talk
On a construction job site, workers are subjected to many different hazards and safety concerns on an everyday basis. A hazard that some often forget about are ones that are found above their heads. Overhead hazards are dangerous and often overlooked. Some overhead hazards include dropped objects, power lines, and fixed objects.
What is an Overhead Hazard?
Generally speaking, an overhead hazard is an overhead condition with the potential to cause physical impairment to people. An overhead hazard can also be referred to as an "overhead obstruction."
A hazard is a situation that creates a threat to life, health, property, the environment, and so on. Hazards differ from risks. Risk describes the potential from a situation while a hazard can cause harm.
In a project or work environment, a hazard is anything that may affect the success of project activities or the project as a whole. Most hazards are latent but a hazardous situation can become effective and cause harm, an accident, or a disaster such as death. This is why it is important to know the hazards you and your coworkers may face on a job site.
Common Overhead Hazards
It is important that you are aware of the overhead hazards that you could come in contact with on your job site. Some common types of overhead hazards include dropped objects, power lines, and fixed objects. We will look at each of these a little closer here.
On many job sites, there will be times when work is being done overhead at a higher level. When overhead work is being done there is always a risk for dropped objects to fall and cause injuries. Even if there is no one working above you, they could have left tools or materials that could have the potential to move, shift, and fall causing injury to you or someone else. Even a small object such as a bolt can cause a major injury when dropped from a high level.
Overhead power lines and electrical wires are common to see on most work sites when doing construction work. If you were to come in contact with any of these wires it could cause significant electrical injuries that could include death. There are a large number of injuries each year with construction workers who have been electrocuted due to touching power lines with their tools and equipment or even themselves.
Fixed objects that are located near ground level or that are located near the equipment you are working with can cause injury if you are to strike it or property damage if the equipment is to strike it. This can include naturally occurring objects such as trees or objects that have been fixed to the ground such as poles.
Another type of overhead hazard are elevated loads, or some may call it, a suspended load. This happens when a load that is on a forklift, crane, or other device is rigged and lifted into the air and left there. This can include wood, metal, and pallets on a job site. The larger weight and size of the materials that are being lifted the more hazardous the surrounding area and the job you are doing becomes.
Ways to Avoid Overhead Hazards
There are tips you should take into consideration to avoid dangers that overhead hazards have on the worksite. It is important to keep yourself, your co-workers, and any visitor to a job site safe.
These are just a few tips that you can use on the job site to keep yourself safe. Your supervisor may know other ways and may advise you of safety techniques and rules that are required on the site.
What To Do If You Are Hurt
If you are injured on the job site you should always notify your supervisor immediately. If you are severely injured you or a co-worker should call 911 in order to get you the correct medical attention. If the injury is small you may be able to use a first aid kit to render aid to yourself or a coworker. Make sure the accident is properly documented in case any issues arise in the future.
It should come as no surprise that construction work is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States. Most workers are aware of the potential risks but the love of the job prevails. The most common accidents are falls, electrocutions, being struck by an object, and being stuck in between objects. It is important that you are aware of these hazards and many more when you enter a job site every day.
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