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Recognized Versus Unrecognized Hazards Toolbox Talk

In this toolbox talk, brief your crews on paying attention to both recognized and unrecognized hazards. Plus, learn the importance of hazard communication and reporting.

Recognized Versus Unrecognized Hazards Safety Talk

Being able to recognize hazards in the workplace is very important. There are so many different hazardous situations that can be present in many workplaces. It is important to have training about these substances. That way you are able to spot out harmful situations.

Working at a company for several years doesn’t put you at any less risk for hazardous conditions. New employees are sometimes more aware than experienced ones. That is because it is so easy to become complacent in your job. Which one do you think is more dangerous: hazards that you are able to recognize, or ones that go unrecognized?

The Dangers of Unrecognized Hazards

Are you trained to recognize jobsite hazards? That is an important part of beginning a job that different situations can be harmful. Letting things happen and go unrecognized can result in injuries or fatalities. It is very important for the safety of yourself and your fellow employees to have the proper training to be responsible on the job.

It is a common occurrence that when someone has been working the same job for many years, they get complacent. That isn’t always on purpose, it can happen without you even realizing it. For the safety of everyone working, it is vital that you stay aware of the hazards that can occur. No matter how long an employee has been on the job, all hazards should be addressed.

The Dangers of Being Complacent

There are many different dangerous situations that can happen on a construction site. Once you have attended safety training over and over again, it becomes less effective on you. Long time employees become comfortable with the risks that their job possesses.

Injuries and fatalities are two of the main hazards that can happen. When you are working in these hazardous conditions without repercussions, it begins to not affect you in the same way. In a time crunch, corners may be cut. It just takes one time for that hazardous condition to not work out.

Common Hazards Present While Working Construction

Construction work is something that goes on all hours every day. There are many different hazards that can be present on these sites. It could be the heavy equipment, tools, or individuals working from high distances. All employees should know how to spot hazardous situations and take action. Some hazards that can occur while working construction are:

Slips, Trips, and Falls

When work is being performed on a construction site, there are going to be many slip, trip, and fall hazards present such as uneven ground, materials out, and different surface conditions. Tripping over a board or piece of equipment can result in a twisted ankle.

It is important to keep a tidy work environment to cut down on the number of hazards that are present. Such as:

  • Put tools away after use

  • Parking heavy equipment in proper spaces

  • Marking uneven ground

  • Marking trenches

This can help to prevent injuries. Slips, trips, and falls are hazardous situations that can cause severe injuries. Many have endured broken bones, sprains, and strains.

Loud Noises

Loud noises are a normal occurrence on a construction site. There are bangs, clings, and dings that happen all of the time. These noises that are sharp and sudden can cause hearing problems for employees. The other hazard that is possible with noises is repetition.

If noises are unexpected and startle the employee, it can cause them to be distracted. Distraction can lead to injuries when on a construction site. Employees should wear hearing protection to help minimize damage. This can create a less hazardous situation for your hearing.


A lot of times construction zones are in an area with electrical wires—either below ground or above—creating a hazard of being electrocuted and injured. Electrocution has been the reason for many work related deaths.

It is important to take the time to recognize where all electrical wires are located. Then, take the correct electrical safety measures to be as safe as possible when working around them. Each employee would benefit from basic knowledge of working with electricity.

Heavy Equipment and Moving Vehicles

There are normally a lot of different tasks going on all at once on a construction site. That includes moving vehicles and pieces of heavy equipment. When workers are able to walk near moving equipment, it can result in struck-by incidents.

This can be avoided by having zoned areas. That way you can minimize the occurrence of someone not being noticed and getting hit. There are also hazards of these pieces of equipment tipping or rolling. If safety precautions are in place to help protect them can make these situations safer.

Collapsing Structures

There are many different scenarios for construction work. Not only are you building structures, but you are also tearing them down. There are instances that someone could be in the wrong place at the wrong time with results being a structure collapsing on them.

Employees need to know the hazards that these structures can possess. That way they can spot out a situation that needs to be addressed. Site inspections should be done and schedules should be stuck to.

construction worker working at height.

The Importance of Hazard Communication & Reporting

It doesn’t matter the number of years that you have been at your job. Reporting and taking action in hazardous conditions is important. The well-being of yourself and your coworkers is dependent on it.

Too many people have been taking these risks for a long time without a bad situation occurring. They are just that though, risks. It will only take one time of that risk not going as planned, and someone gets hurt.

There are a few ways that you can go about reporting a hazardous situation at your job. If the situation is urgent, address it at the moment. Life or death situations require an immediate response. Otherwise, notify a supervisor of your concerns. The supervisor can then proceed with the necessary actions. Then a meeting can be arranged to address the issues that are present.

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