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Construction worker safety: Refresher tips from NIOSH


Washington — A new pamphlet from NIOSH offers tips to mitigate common risks that construction workers face.

While pointing out that falls are the most common cause of death on construction sites, the resource reminds workers of elements that “don’t seem to pose a risk” – such as dust and electricity – but can be hazardous.

Other tips:

  • Secure the base of a ladder or ask someone to hold it for you while you climb.
  • Use the correct kind of ladder for each job. If you need an extension ladder, don’t use a stepladder.
  • Place the ladder at the correct angle; separate the base of the ladder 1 foot from the wall for every 4 feet high.
  • When climbing or descending a ladder, use a chain or rope to lift materials and tools instead of carrying them.
  • Dust from common construction materials may contain toxic substances; wear a respirator so you don’t breathe in dust or harmful fumes.
  • Wash your hands and face before eating.
  • Change your clothes before leaving work.
  • Check all extension cables before use to make sure they aren’t damaged.
  • Use a cable with a grounded plug and keep cables out of water – even shallow puddles.
  • Ensure metal ladders don’t come into contact with power cables.

“What would you do if you got hurt or sick and you couldn’t support your family?” the pamphlet asks. “Do not risk your safety and health at work.”

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