Safety on job sites is always of paramount importance. One of the critical aspects in ensuring that no staff are injured is the proper use of yellow and red barricades.
On most job sites there are typically two types of barricades: yellow and red. Yellow barricades require caution, however the area can be entered when care and appropriate safety precautions are taken.
Areas barricaded with red ropes (or tapes) are designated as highly dangerous and should never be entered except by those individuals that have been permitted to work in those areas. Should someone else need to enter a red roped area, they need to contact the person in charge of setting up the red barricade and obtain his/her permission before entering the area. This may require a review of the job safety analysis (JSA), participation in a safety briefing, and/or a written acknowledgement by the visitor that he/she understands the dangers present in the red barricaded area.
This leads us to the importance of clearly marking barricaded areas. All sides of a barricaded area should display a warning sign and provide the name and contact details of the individual responsible for that area. On occasion, we have seen red barricades with warning markings on only one side. Such a situation is unacceptable as warning signs need to be posted on all four sides – we cannot stress this enough. The warnings need to be highly visible and catch workers’ and visitors’ attention. It’s a simple step that saves lives.
It is essential to be aware of one’s surroundings at all times, because one can be in the direct line of where equipment is moving or being used.
When I started out in this industry, I was told to “Stay out of the line of fire.” What does this mean? Activity on a construction site is happening throughout the day and sometimes 24-hours a day when there are multiple shifts. Crews are focused on getting their jobs done efficiently and effectively, so there can be frequent changes when cranes and other heavy equipment are being used constantly. It is essential to be aware of one’s surroundings at all times, because one can be in the direct line of where equipment is moving or being used.
How do you stay out of the line of fire?
- Check your surroundings constantly.
- Watch for barricades. Be aware of their locations. Secure permission before entering red barricades.
- Have a plan before you do a task. Take the time to think about how you will do something in the safest way possible.
- Communicate your plan to others.
Remember, being aware, polite, and friendly goes a long way in maintaining a safe site. If you see someone leaning over a ladder or a handrail, go and talk to them. Tell them “Please be safe. I care.” Discuss safer ways of doing the task. They will thank you. I know I did when I started my career when a supervisor approached me and respectfully made me aware of site hazards.
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