Job Site Visitor Safety


It’s not uncommon for non-construction team members to visit a job site. Many people have a vested interest in the project’s progress, from stakeholders to local politicians. Whether you are a veteran job site visitor or someone who has never set foot on an active construction site, these tips will make your visit safe.

Wear the proper gear

Wearing the proper safety gear is a basic requirement to enter a construction site. The Austin Company provides visitors with the necessary gear— also known as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including the following:

  • Eye protection. Prescription eyewear is automatically impact-resistant, but it’s not typically shatterproof. In addition, glasses provide only limited frontal protection, leaving space on the open sides, top and bottom for small particles to make their way to the eye. Fortunately, safety glasses that go over prescription glasses are available that meet ANSI Z87.1 requirements.
  • Hard hat. Did you know that a hard hat should fit your unique head shape? All hard hat models are designed to be adjusted to the individual’s head. The ideal fit for such headgear will leave a little breathing room between the hard shell and the internal suspension structure so that air can flow freely through the area. Standard features include sliding mechanisms that allow you to adapt the tightness at 1/8-inch intervals. When fine-tuning your fit, find a spot where the hard hat feels secure yet not painfully tight. Skin abrasions are a sign that you are not wearing your hard hat at an appropriate size. Never wear a baseball cap under the hard hat. Beanie hats and stockings may be worn if approved by the manufacturer. Hard hats usually have a five-year shelf life if it has not been dropped, received a sharp blow, or damaged.  Storing a hard hat in direct sunlight or a hot vehicle will shorten the life.  There is a clock pressed into the plastic on the inside of the hard hat that identifies the month and year the hat was manufactured. Make a note of this so you know when it’s time to replace it with a newer model. All hard hats are manufactured to ANSI Z89.1 2009 standards.
  • Safety vest. Brightly colored for a reason, safety vests can warn workers, equipment operators, and drivers that individuals are in the immediate work area. The extra visibility provides valuable time to stop or slow operations until people are out of the hazard zone.  There are three different classes of safety vests, Class 1, 2, and 3.  Class 3 has the most retroreflective striping and is required for workers near traffic or when “no visibility” or dark conditions exist. Class 2 is the most commonly worn on construction sites. Class 1 vests are usually worn in low-impact areas.

  • Proper footwear. Footwear should have heavy-duty soles made of thick material to prevent sharp objects from entering. Wear shoes made of moisture retention material to keep your feet dry and warm with little to no heels and good traction. Depending on the type of project you’re on or the owner’s requirements, a safety toe shoe or boot that meets the ASTM F2413 standard may be required. At a minimum, open-toed shoes are never acceptable on a construction job site.
  • Long sleeves. OSHA, the federal agency that sets on-the-job safety standards, does not have a dress code other than for welders. But long-sleeve shirts are recommended to prevent sunburn. Most private construction companies and unions require a minimum of a four-inch (4”) sleeve depending on the task. Sleeves should fit snugly to prevent snagging and getting stuck in moving machinery.
  • Hearing protection. If you are sensitive to noise, you may consider hearing protection when visiting an active construction site. If hearing protection is required (90 dBA or higher), signage will be posted stating what type of hearing protection is needed for one hour or more in the area. There are many different hearing protection devices, including canal caps, earmuffs, reusable earplugs, and roll-down foam. Remember, hearing loss is not reversible.

Pay attention

A job site is an active work zone full of heavy equipment and construction materials. Some common hazards you could encounter on a job site include:

  • Ground hazards — Construction sites are not level parking lots. You will be walking through a lot of dirt, and uneven ground. Be sure to watch for pallets of construction materials or other hazards like extension cords. It’s easy to scrape an ankle or trip over items if you are not paying attention to the ground. The footprint of the project is constantly changing.
  • Look up — Areas around scissor and boom lifts are always barricaded with caution or danger tape.  Yellow caution tape indicates a known hazard. Before entering and watch for equipment moving materials into place. Take care that you are not walking underneath a load or into areas where materials, equipment, or tools could fall.
  • Cones and Tapes — Caution cones and tapes are there for a reason — to keep you from getting hurt. Cones alert visitors and workers to potential danger. For example, cones are used when something is sticking up out of the ground or to provide a barricade to pieces of equipment that are dangerous. Cones are paired with caution or danger tape. Caution tape indicates there is a potential hazard and extra awareness should be used to determine what the hazard is before proceeding. Danger tape should never be crossed under any circumstances.

Stick with your guide

When escorted through a job site, don’t roam off on your own. Remember that the project representative is maneuvering you safely through the site. If you have a specific area

you want to visit (i.e., a warehouse manager who wants to see the loading docks or an engineer wanting to see where equipment is going), arrange that with the construction manager in advance.

Safety orientation and OSHA

If you are going to be making frequent visits to a job site, you may be asked to attend a site-specific safety orientation. Regardless of your role and your purpose in visiting a job site, compliance with OSHA requirements is necessary. OSHA requirements include rules applying to

  • Falls
  • Stairways and Ladders
  • Scaffolding
  • Electrical
  • Trenching and Excavation
  • Motor Vehicle Safety/Highway Work Zones

The most successful visit to any job site is when everyone goes home safe to their families. To ensure your visit is a success, arrange it in advance, stay with the guide, be mindful of your surroundings, and always wear the proper safety gear.


Director of Quality Assurance, Quality Control, and Safety

Call 256.289.4807 | Email Charlie | View Profile

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