Safety Briefing


General Site Rules and Safety

  • Survey the work area at ground level and above you.   Always be aware of what is going on around you.   Stay clear of overhead work.
  • If you are unsure or uncomfortable about how to do something safely let the Construction Manager know.
  • Be aware of excavations or any holes in the floor.   Barricade these with bright tape or adequately cover the excavations or holes.
  • Use the buddy system to keep an eye on each other and to help each other work safely.
  • If you spot an unsafe practice, calmly point it out to the person.
  • Always be aware of what you are doing, e.g. where is the end of the board you are carrying?
  • Lifting: If something feels heavy, ask for help.   Lift with your legs not your back.
  • No children under the age of 14 are allowed on the Habitat work site.
  • Individuals 14 and 15 years old may do limited work on site such as landscaping and painting but not while construction work is going on.
  • Individuals must be at least 16 years old to participate in construction work and must be at least 18 years old to a) operate power tools, b) work on hazardous activities such as excavation and demolition or c) work at heights above 6 feet.
  • To operate power tools individuals must have adequately demonstrated competence in the proper operation of that tool.
  • If material is not being immediately discarded, all protruding nails must be removed or bent down.
  • Discarded material must be put in designated areas only.
  • Maintain Good Housekeeping.   Clean site on a daily basis, store material and supplies in carefully laid out piles to allow walkways and keep tools and equipment in safe, locked containers.

Clothing and Personal Protective Equipment

  • Wear work boots or thick-soled shoes with slip-resistant and puncture resistant soles.   No sandals, flip-flops or loafers are allowed.
  • Pants are preferred.   Roll up loose sleeves and tuck in loose shirttails.
  • Protective eye wear (safety glasses or goggles) are required while on site.
  • Hard hats are required for overhead work such as framing and demolition and for those individuals working in areas where overhead work is taking place.
  • Work gloves are highly recommended while handling wood or metal products and roof shingles and during clean up.
  • Hearing protection is recommended while using power tools.
  • A dust mask is recommended any time dust is generated from cutting, sanding, installing insulation or other similar activities.
  • Rings or other loose fitting jewelry are not recommended while participating in construction work.

Power Tool/Electrical Safety

Ladder Safety

  • Inspect all ladders before each use.   Make sure there are no cracks, broken rungs or other damaged or missing parts.
  • Only one person on a ladder at the same time.
  • Place the ladder on firm footing. Secure the top of the extension or straight ladder to the building structure.
  • Use a ladder that will reach the work. Extension or straight ladder should extend at least 3 feet above the work level.
  • Open a step ladder completely.
  • Face the ladder while climbing up or down and grip the ladder with both hands. Carry hand tools in a tool belt.
  • On a step ladder never stand higher than the 2nd step from the top.
  • Keep all ladders away from power lines.
  • Never work more than an arm’s length from a ladder. Keep your body centered between the side rails. Move the ladder when you cannot reach your work.
  • With extension or straight ladders, use the 4 to 1 rule, i.e., for every 4 feet of height move the bottom of the ladder 1 foot away from the wall.
  • Do not place the ladder in front of doorways or passageways.
  • Never use a ladder as a work platform – use scaffolding instead.
  • Never leave any tools or material on a step ladder.
  • Use the buddy system to keep an eye on each other and to help each other work safely on ladders.

Scaffolding Safety

  • All scaffolding that is elevated 6 feet or more must be equipped with a safety railing (top rail 42 inches and mid rail).
  • All scaffolding must be quipped with a toe board on each edge to eliminate the possibility that tools or debris will be kicked or pushed onto individuals below.
  • A scaffold must be designed to support four times the weight of the individuals and material resting on it.   Scaffolding components that are not designed to be compatible should not be mixed.
  • Inspect all scaffolding each day before use. Never use damaged or defective equipment and avoid rusted parts since their strength is unknown.When erecting scaffolding provide adequate sills for the scaffolding posts and use base plates.   Use adjusting screws, not blocks, when on uneven grades. Make sure to plumb and level scaffolding and to not force end braces when assembling.
  • Defective planking causes many scaffolding accidents. Put planks across the entire width of the scaffold. Use only properly graded and inspected lumber for planking. Inspect planking daily and remove those found defective.
  • Loose material and tools should not be on scaffolding floor or attached to the safety railing.

Roof Safety

  • Toe boards should always be installed before working on the roof.
  • Be aware of the roof pitch. The steeper the pitch, the greater the risk there is of falling.
  • Roof should be continually swept of loose debris such as sand, sawdust and shingle grit.
  • Be aware of items on the roof that may cause slipping or falling such as ropes, extension cords, shingles, roofing paper and loose tools.
  • Keep hand tools not in use in your tool belt at all times. Carry only the tools needed for the job. Never leave tools on the roof!
  • Make sure all roof sheathing is nailed down immediately after setting on roof.

For Additional Information, See OSHA guidelines

Emergency Information


Each job site should have a list with individual emergency contact names and telephone numbers.

Know where the First Aid kit is located.