Address safety concerns during your opening remarks to volunteers working on construction or rebuilding projects. Your orientation at the start of the day should stress to volunteers that they are working on a construction site and should take all necessary and reasonable precautions to maintain adequate safety standards. You should train staff and volunteers how to use necessary equipment, and you should supervise them throughout the day. Provide immediate feedback if you witness a volunteer misusing a tool or other piece of equipment. Make sure your volunteers don’t get themselves into dangerous situations or situations that could be dangerous for the homeowner.
Below are some safety hints compiled by Rebuilding Together and used with their permission:
Require that all volunteers wear nametags (front & back). One person should be assigned as a “safety captain.” He/she should know where the telephone is, where the first aid kit is, and how to get help.
Place safety posters throughout the job site.
the job neat, cords and hoses out of the way, sawdust swept away, and debris cleaned up. Spilled paint or liquids should be taken care of immediately. Railings or banisters should be erected immediately.
Do not drive expensive or flashy cars to your job site.
Get to know co-workers by name. If you run into trouble, it is easier to get someone's attention by calling their name rather than “hey you”.
Encourage volunteers to use safety glasses, work gloves, and dust masks. Never wear loose-fitting clothing that could be pulled into the blade.
Make certain all ladders are held and secure at the bottom. Before the ladder holder leaves, come down! Don't overreach or use ladders that are too long or too short for the job. Always keep two feet on the rung.
Lift and carry slowly, carefully! Get help if need be! 1-2-3 lift; 1-2-3 go. Sounds silly and slow, but it saves your back and toes (and hospital bills).
Professionals and people who have been trained in their proper use should use power tools.
Remember that most power tool accidents happen after the material has been cut and the tool is in "wind down."
Use caution around electricity and plumbing. Reserve skilled jobs for the appropriate tradesperson. Don't work on appliances, lights, etc. with the power, water or gas on! Turn off the main power supply and label the electrical box so it won't be turned on accidentally.
Watch out for overhead power lines. If possible, have the local utility install “protective sleeves” on power lines prior to the workday.
Use tools properly. The most dangerous tool is the screwdriver because it is used incorrectly so often.
Report any injury immediately.
Accidents sometimes happen because of anger or criticism. Be considerate and stay cool.
Most accidents happen after lunch. Think about safety all day long.