Bridges provide us with a way to travel over water, across highways, railroad tracks and the like. Whether it’s a bridge repair, replacement or new construction, do you know what the number one hazard to workers is? Concrete or steel, a long or short span, the greatest danger during bridge construction is the possibility of falling from one level to another.
Before you step out on the form work, walk a steel beam, climb a sheet pile, or work on a scaffold, think about the variety of exposures:
PREVENT FALLS — watch your step, wear your fall protection equipment, use it correctly and always tie off.
WATCH FOR FALLING OBJECTS — always wear your hard hat, be aware of cranes moving material and equipment in and out of the area and watch out for pinch points and crushing areas.
HOUSEKEEPING — clean up and remove trash and scrap promptly. • LADDERS — use a safe one and make sure it is the right size for the job and is always secured before climbing.
PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT — must be worn including hard hats, eye protection, fall protection, even special footwear may be required. If in doubt, ask your supervisor. If you are working over water, you are required to wear a life jacket.
ADDITIONAL SAFETY NOTES — Cover protruding rebar to prevent any worker from becoming impaled. Keep scaffolds free from tripping hazards. Be alert for slippery conditions due to oil, water, loose gravel or sand. If you must work along a public roadway, stay inside the barricades to make sure you don’t become a hood ornament on a passing vehicle. Limit the number of flammables out in the work area. Have adequate fire extinguishers available. Protruding nails left in form material can cause serious cuts and bruises, pull them out or bend them over. Never throw an object or tool to another worker. As with any other work, check all electrical and hand tools prior to use. Look out for the new person on the job.
Bridge work changes every day — what was there yesterday may have changed dramatically today. Keep a sharp eye out for the unexpected. Don’t take chances. Safety is everyone’s business.
TIE OFF AS REQUIRED TO AVOID UPPER LEVEL FALLS. ERECT GUARD RAILS AS WORK PROGRESSES. STAY ALERT AND WATCH YOUR STEP!