Work Zone Safety
Plumbing work is often done at construction sites, in or near public areas. Creating a clear work zone is an important safety requirement.
Barricades, fencing, caution tape, signs, and cones mark a construction work zone.
To ensure everyone’s safety, you must keep the public and their vehicles away from your work area.
Signs, tags, and color codes in the workplace protect workers from hazardous conditions and help them respond to emergencies.
= For signs, tags, and color codes to be effective, all workers must understand what they mean and know what action they are required to take. This reduces confusion and ensures their effectiveness.
Signals such as alarms, bells, buzzers, whistles, and horns also communicate hazards to workers.
All work sites have specific markings and signs to identify hazards. Signs can also provide emergency information.
The common types of signs found on a site are as follows:
• Danger signs
• Caution signs
• Informational signs
• Safety signs
• Safety tags
Danger signs are usually red, black, and white. They tell workers that an immediate hazard exists, such as high voltage or flammable materials.
Danger signs also have specific precautions that must be observed to avoid an accident. Examples of danger signs include NO SMOKING and KEEP OUT.
Caution signs are in yellow with black lettering. Caution signs warn workers about potential hazards or unsafe practices.
When you see a caution sign, take action to protect yourself.
Common examples include the following:
• DO NOT OPERATE.
• KEEP AISLES CLEAR.
• ELECTRIC FENCE.
Yellow is the basic color used for caution. It identifies places where physical hazards may be caused by striking against objects; stumbling, falling, tripping or being caught between obstacles.
Solid yellow, yellow and black stripes or yellow and black checkers caution workers against these hazards. Caution signs for piping systems that contain dangerous materials are also yellow. Yellow warns workers against starting machinery under repair.
Painted barriers and flags should be at the starting point or power source.
They should be displayed in a way so that workers will notice them easily on things such as electrical controls, ladders, scaffolds, vaults, valves, dryers, boilers, elevators, and tanks.
Informational signs provide general information that is not related to safety. The standard color is blue.
Common examples include the following:
• NO ADMITTANCE
• NO TRESPASSING
• EMPLOYEE ONLY
Information signs can also be black and white. These signs are used as traffic and housekeeping markers.
Informational signs identify the following types of information:
• Dead ends of aisles or passageways
• Location of trash cans
• Location and width of aisles
• Rooms or passageways
• Stairways (riser, direction, borders)
• Drinking fountains and food-dispensing machines
Safety instruction signs are used for general instructions and suggestions related to safety measures.
The background and lettering on these signs is often white and green, but they can vary depending on the message and the location of the sign.
Any letter used against the white background is in black.
Common examples of safety instruction signs include the following:
• REPORT ALL UNSAFE CONDITIONS TO YOUR SUPERVISOR
• WALK, DON’T RUN
• HELP KEEP THIS PLANT SAFE AND CLEAN.
Safety tags are used as a temporary way of warning workers about immediate and potential hazards.
They are similar to signs, but they are not designed to be used in place of signs or as a permanent means of protection.
For example, an OUT OF ORDER tag may be used on damaged equipment until it can be disposed of or repaired.
Signals are used to inform workers of potential dangers. Types of signals include alarms, bells, buzzers, whistles, horns, and hand signals.
Hand signals control vehicle traffic, guide the handling of materials, and assist equipment operators.
All workers must know what each hand signal means before it is used.
(The meaning should be confirmed between the equipment operator and the spotter or person giving the operator the signals before a task is started.)
Barricades and Barriers
Any opening in a wall, floor, or the ground is a safety hazard. There are two types of protection for these openings: guarded or covered.
Cover any hole whenever possible. When it is not practical to cover a hole, use barricades.
The two most commonly used guard methods are railing and warning barricades.
Typical warning barricades are made of plastic tape or rope strung from wire or between posts. The tape or rope is color coded red, yellow, or yellow and purple.
Red means danger.
Yellow means caution.
Yellow and purple indicate a radiation warning.
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