What Is A Spotter In Construction?

Most construction sites rely on large vehicles, tight spaces, equipment, and more to get the job done. These elements could be an accident waiting to happen if no one stays on top of the movements and work of others.

To help prevent accidents, OSHA regulations require one person to act as a spotter to make sure that equipment, people, and other hazards on the site do not collide. A spotter is a critical element in ensuring job site safety.

In this blog, we will explain what a spotter is and what their responsibilities are on the job site.

What Is A Spotter?

A spotter is a person who acts as the eyes and ears of the construction site. They often stand near a vehicle or heavy equipment to provide the driver with information about what is going on in their blind spots. This information is shared either verbally or through agreed-upon hand signals.

A spotter is one of the most important jobs because it plays a critical role in ensuring the safety of everyone on site. That is why OSHA requires that a spotter be present at the construction site.

Spotting For Heavy Equipment Operators

There are many different pieces of heavy equipment in the construction industry, each with its own risks and hazards. There are dump trucks, semi-trucks, cranes, forklifts, and other heavy machinery. While all of these pieces of heavy equipment must be operated by highly qualified drivers, they still need the help of heavy equipment spotters.

Forklift spotting is a great example. Forklift spotting goes beyond operating a forklift as a forklift spotter also ensures that a truck operator lifts the load properly, whether it be placing it in the correct location or ensuring it is balanced.

The forklift spotters will also act as another set of eyes and ears for a forklift driver. For instance, if the driver is carrying large steel columns, they may lose sight of the edge of the forklift. The forklift spotter ensures that nothing is in its way. And, if something gets in the way of the forklift or its load, a forklift spotter will have to make sure the forklift driver stops and reroutes.

While drivers are highly qualified individuals, they do need help. Heavy equipment spotters are an integral part of getting work done safely.

Guidelines To Being A Spotter

Maintain Constant Visual Contact

Spotters should maintain visual contact with the driver while the vehicle is moving. If the driver leaves the sight of the spotter, then the line of communication is broken. This could lead to accidents or injury. Being in the line of sight of the driver is a great way to ensure that the line of communication is never disrupted.

Watch For General Safety Hazards

Using a spotter in construction is a great way to find hazards on the construction site. As the spotter looks around to identify hazards for their basic duties, they will also notice other hazards that could impact other workers. For example, forklift spotters could identify overhead structures like overhead power lines when watching the driver lift a load. Spotters' additional duties can also include looking for fall hazards.

Stay On Task

A trained spotter needs to stay on task at all times. If they have headphones in, are texting, or conversing with a fellow employee, they are unlikely to see and stop accidents before they happen.

For example, a truck could be backing up while, unknowingly, an equipment operator is moving the arm of a digger in the same direction. If no one were to instruct drivers about the movements of others, they could collide. Spotters should stay on task at all times to protect the safety of others and themselves.

Complete Proper Training

Managers should provide spotters with thorough training before they begin spotting on the job. The OSHA has a training program to help workers familiarize themselves with the duties and safety procedures of the job.

Guidelines To Keeping Spotters Safe

While it is a spotter's job to keep everyone safe, spotter safety is also integral.

The Complete Guide To Electrical Hazards

Electrical accidents can be a life-changing experience that can cause injury, tissue damage, burns, and even death. Safe work practices should be carried out to reduce dangers and protect employees.

In this blog, we will discuss what electrical hazards are, common electrical hazards in the workplace, and how you can implement electrical safety on the job.

What Are Electrical Hazards?

An electrical hazard is a dangerous condition that can occur due to equipment failure or improper use, as well as direct contact with electrical energy.

Common Electrical Hazards

Electricity gives us the power to operate many helpful pieces of equipment, but it can be dangerous if uncontrolled. There are many safety concerns that should be considered when working closely with electricity and electrical parts. Some of the most common electrical hazards are electrical shock, burns, and fire.

Electric Shock

Electric shock occurs when a body becomes part of an electrical current, meaning electricity is flowing through a person's body. An electric shock can happen when:

Electric shock can be dangerous and potentially fatal depending on four factors: the amount of current, length of time that the current is present, the path of the current, and frequency of the current. If the combination of these factors is just right, the shock could lead to electrocution.

Electrical Burns

The most common injuries caused by electrical shock hazards are burns. Electricity can cause anywhere from minor to severe damage. You can receive three types of burns from accidents involving electricity:

Electrical Fire and Arc Blasts

When an electrical current is strong enough, it can create a blast effect from arcing. The blast can be incredibly dangerous, creating a blast force and increasing temperatures as high as 35,000°F. Arc blasts are also a danger because they can ignite fires.

Workers should know of the risk that electrical arcs and fires present. Injuries, health conditions, and electrocution are always possible.

How To Prevent Electrical Hazards In The Workplace

Electrical injuries can be severe and potentially life-threatening. It’s your job to implement electrical safety in your workplace to protect yourself and your employees. Here is what you can do to

1. Proper safety training

Make sure your workers are aware of the hazards associated with electricity and know how to stay safe. Teach them to avoid electrical outlets, wires, and cables, and to never touch an object that is plugged into an outlet if they don’t know what it is. You should also train them on how to deal with poor wiring and how to unplug appliances safely.

2. Inspect energized equipment and cords regularly

Electrical cords and equipment that are used frequently should be inspected on a regular basis, at least quarterly. Report any hazards present immediately for maintenance or repair. Frayed cords or damaged equipment should be repaired immediately by an electrician. Electrical work should always be left to professional electricians.

3. Maintain distance from high energy equipment and appliances

Workers should limit their exposure to high-energy electrical equipment. Less access to wiring, appliances, and equipment can control the risk posed.

4. Identify and reduce risks

You must complete a thorough risk assessment to identify any electrical safety concerns, both large and small. From extension cords that can be tripped over to live overhead power lines, outline what electrical sources may pose a risk, then take the necessary steps to reduce them.

5. Put an emergency plan in place

Prepare for the unexpected with an emergency safety plan. A plan will outline what your staff should do in the event of an accident. A typical safety plan should cover:

Scaffolding Safety

The Bureau of Labor Statistics' Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) reported 61 fatalities from scaffolding in 2018. Make sure your employees aren't next with scaffold safety training.

Educate Your Employees on Scaffold Safety

Scaffolding systems are popularly used in the construction industry, with over 65% of construction workers working on scaffolding every year. With this much use, workers must be educated on scaffolding safety don'ts, and scaffolding safety do's.

Workers should be properly trained by a qualified person with extensive knowledge of scaffolds. Texas Safety Solutions offers scaffolding safety training alongside our other programs. We can ensure anyone working on scaffolding will be knowledgeable on OSHA standards, safety requirements, and hazards they may face. Your employees will be able to work smart and safely after our safety training.

Learn How To Obey The Maximum Intended Load

The maximum intended load on your scaffolding work platform is not something to be ignored; the structural integrity of your scaffold frame may be compromised if there is too much weight on it. The best practice is to calculate how many people, as well as how many materials your scaffold can handle. Materials can add a lot of extra weight to a scaffold.

Texas Safety Solutions can offer professional guidance as to how you can obey the maximum weight on scaffolds. With our help, your team will be able to quickly identify how many employees, materials, and tools can be on scaffold work platforms at once.

Identify Existing & Predictable Hazards

One of the main safety tips for scaffolding is to develop a keen eye for hazards. Hazards can be pre-existing or develop during the course of the work shift. Your staff needs to learn how to identify various hazards to protect themselves from risk.

In our courses, we discuss different hazards that can arise on the scaffold. We discuss a variety of hazards, including but not limited to:

Instructors can also discuss additional hazards that are relevant to your specific industry. These hazards include physical, biological, ergonomic, chemical, and fall hazards.

From identifying scaffold planking covered by a debris net to an active power line, employees will be able to identify, document, and monitor hazards following the completion of our OSHA course.

Learn To Monitor Environmental Working Conditions

Adverse weather conditions can make a scaffold an extremely unsafe place—especially if there is heavy rain and strong winds. Environmental hazards can increase the risk of incidents or accidents to your employees. It’s a good idea to shut down your work site when the weather takes a turn for the worse.

An employee in direct supervision of the job site should be educated on environmental hazards. Our EHS and OSHA safety courses discuss environmental hazards in-depth. Register today!

Become Familiar With Scaffolding Equipment Safety Standards & Dangers

 

The key to safe scaffolding use is a safe and structurally sound scaffold. Therefore, scaffold inspection should take precedence when you first arrive on site.

Our company is proud to teach courses about scaffold structures. A qualified instructor will teach your employees about everything they need to know about the scaffold. Subject matter includes:

Your team will learn about the entire structure of your scaffold from top to bottom in our courses. They will learn about the quality, construction, and inspection of scaffolding materials to uphold safe access. Not only will it make your staff more knowledgeable, but it will also decrease the risk of an accident or incident taking place on a scaffold.

Fall Protection Is Required

When working on scaffolding, a personal fall arrest system can be the difference between life and death. The harness, anchorage, and lifeline will offer fall protection, catching a worker if they slip or fall off the scaffold platform. Yet, despite its importance, many managers and employees forget to use a fall arrest system while on the job.
Personal fall arrest systems are important for your safety and can save your life. They're also required for every scaffold type except self-contained and single-point and two-point suspension scaffolds. As a result, you must educate yourself and your employees on fall arrest systems. Your employees should know how fall protection systems work and how to set one up correctly.

We are proud to offer in-depth information on fall protection systems in our training courses. A qualified person will discuss the fall arrest system tools and their proper use to ensure your staff is knowledgeable on fall arrest systems.

Educate Employees Working On Scaffolds

Proper safety training can resolve problems related to scaffolds. Sign your team up for OSHA training to learn scaffolding safety tips. The qualified instructor will go into depth on how your staff can stay safe on the work site.

We're Committed To Keeping You Safe

Texas Safety Solutions is committed to providing quality health and safety courses to help keep you safe. Our courses align with the latest OSHA regulations and guidelines, so you can trust that you are learning the most up-to-date protocols. We also ensure to go beyond the basics of wearing your hard hat and maintaining three points of contact (two feet and one hand or one foot and two hands); keeping you safe and protected involves comprehensive and industry-specific content.

Contact Us Today

You can ensure the safety of your workers with proper training. Contact us today to register your employees for OSHA training. Scaffold safety is a large part of the curriculum.