Toolbox Safety Tip 32

Slips and Falls 

There are various ways to suffer slips and falls while working.  You can slip and lose your balance, you can trip over objects left improperly in your walkway, or you can simply fall from an elevated position above the ground.

To avoid slips and falls, be on the lookout for foreign substances on walkways.  Watch for deposits of water, grease, oil, sawdust, mud or debris.  Even small quantities are enough to make you fall.  Do not go too fast; walk safely and avoid changing directions too sharply.

Beware of tripping hazards.  Trash, unused materials, and any object left in areas designed for pedestrian traffic invites falls.  Extension cords, tools and other items should be removed or properly barricaded off.  If equipment or supplies are left in walkways, remove it.  Keep passageways clean of debris by using trash barrels; but if you use them and miss, PICK IT UP!

Walk where you are supposed to walk.  Short cuts through machine areas invite accidents.  Concentrate on where you are going – horseplay and inattention leave you vulnerable to unsafe conditions.

The worst falls are from elevated positions like scaffolding and ladders.  They result in serious injuries and death.

Learn and practice safety and the proper use of scaffolding.

When climbing, use a ladder of proper length that is in good condition.  Keep it placed on a firm surface.  Keep the ladder’s base one foot away from the wall for every four feet of height.  Do not overreach – always have control of your balance when working from a ladder.  Never climb a ladder with your hands full, and always carry tools in proper carrying devices.  Make sure the ladder extends three feet above the landing and is properly tied off.

When using a scaffold, be sure it is properly assembled according to the manufacturer’s specifications.  Check carefully for defects.  Standing and working planks should be level and clean.  Use toe boards to prevent tools from falling, and workers from slipping.  Work only with

people who practice scaffold safety.

Slips and falls occur every day.  The extent of injuries and their recurrence can be minimized through proper safety knowledge and attitudes.

Practice safety…..DO NOT learn it through “Accidental Experience”.

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Toolbox Safety Tip 48


The ladder is one of the most frequently used pieces of equipment on the job.  They are also a tool that we use improperly and lead to many severe injuries.  Major factors contributing to ladder accidents are:

Climbing or descending improperly.

Failing to secure or tie-off the ladder at the top or failure to secure the ladder at the bottom.
Using broken or damaged ladders.
Carrying objects while climbing or descending.

Generally, commercial ladders are constructed properly and of sound material.  However, after they have been in use for some time; they are often damaged by rough handling, being struck by heavy objects, and other causes.  Failure to report a defect on the part of anyone using a damaged ladder may cause serious injury.

Follow these safety rules for ladders:

You will hear many arguments about the best way to climb a ladder.  Many people say, “Use the hands on the rungs.”  Others say “Grip the side rails.”  Everyone agrees that either method is fine, as long as you use BOTH HANDS.

Too often, ladders are not secured either at the top or at the bottom.  It takes only a few minutes to tie off a ladder.  Set ladders at the proper angle.  Ladders should be set at a 1 to 4 pitch.  (That’s 1 foot out for each 4 feet of height.)  Ladders must be long enough to extend AT LEAST 3 FEET above the landing and tied-off.

When it is necessary to get tools and/or materials from the ground up to the work level, or down again; do not carry them on the ladder.  Use a hand line to haul them up or let them down.  Ladders are an important tool in construction, use them safely.

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Toolbox Safety Tip 28


There are several precautions against accidental grounding that we all should observed when using portable electric tools. Check your tools for these conditions:

Defective or broken insulation.

Improper or poorly made connections to terminals.
Broken or otherwise defective plugs.
Loose or broken switches.
Sparking brushes.

If any of these conditions exist, have the tool repaired before using it; or report it to your supervisor.  Do not use the defective tool. 

A couple of other safety rules are important, too.  Do not attempt to repair or adjust portable electric tools while they’re plugged in.  Do not use portable electric tools in the presence of flammable vapors or gases, unless they are specifically designed for such use.

Some people believe that low voltage shocks can’t harm them.  Actually, these low voltage jolts can be fatal.  The severity of a shock is measured by three factors –

The quantity of current flowing through the body.

The path of the current as it passes through the body.
The duration of the current.

Faulty tools can be responsible for an accident.  Tools should receive proper care so they will not become faulty.  They should always be returned to their proper place, should be handled with care, and should be inspected regularly.

To reduce the hazard of electric shock, third-wire grounded or approved double-insulated tools must be used.  Any extension cords you use must have three-pronged plugs.  These approved types of accessories should be used at home as well as work.

There are three factors involved in accidental grounding mishaps which should be recognized.  All of these factors are contributed by people.  They are a lack of knowledge of safety precautions, ignoring hazards, and neglect.

Again, it’s important to check your tools before using them.  If they appear to be broken, defective, or in poor condition; report it to your supervisor.  Do not use the tool until it has been approved for further use.



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