Manual: Guidelines for a safe worksite

  • In addition to this form, all volunteers and staff will have read and signed a Release and Waiver of Liability Form prior to working.
  • Each work crew should identify one volunteer to be a safety officer—responsible for having emergency contact information for each crew and volunteer and to be aware of the location of the first-aid kit.
  • Everyone is responsible for the safety of fellow workers.
  • If you are uncertain about how to do a task or how to operate a power tool or perform a task—ask a supervisor.
  • If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe performing a task, step away and ask a supervisor for help.
  • Concentrate on your task and eliminate distractions such as horseplay.
  • Inspect all power tools, hand tools, ladders and scaffolding on a daily basis.
  • Advise your supervisor IMMEDIATELY of any unsafe or hazardous tool or condition.
  • An accident investigation and report need to be completed on all accidents even if the volunteer or staff member determines that they are not in need of medical attention.
  • The local covenant partner is responsible for setting any age restriction guidelines for types of tools that can be used and tasks that can be performed.


Proper attire

  • No sandals or open-toed shoes may be worn on site; boots are recommended.
  • Wear a shirt at all times.
  • Long pants are preferred; shorts may be worn depending on job to be performed.
  • Do not wear jewelry that might get caught in tools.
  • Do not wear loose clothing when operating power tools.


  • Lift with legs, bend knees and keep a straight back.
  • Have the appropriate number of people to lift/carry an object.
  • Do not lift more than you can handle alone; have a partner help if needed.
  • When carrying an object, watch for others to avoid hitting them.
  • Watch for tripping hazards.

Allow Time for End of Day Clean-up

  • Keep site orderly throughout the day.
  • Pick up/straighten up site at the end of each day (i.e. tools, scrap materials, etc.).
  • Return and secure all tools to prevent risk of theft.
  • Stack building materials in a safe manner.
  • Stack materials out of main traffic flow areas.
  • Remove all nails from boards that will not be used again or are scrap.

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Wear a hard hat when appropriate, or when directed by a leader/supervisor .
  • Wear goggles or safety glasses when operating any type of power nailer or saw (table saw, roto-zip, skill saw, etc) to prevent dust, debris, or flying objects from entering eye.
  • Wear gloves, long-sleeved shirts, dust masks and safety glasses when installing insulation, carrying building materials etc.
  • Wear dust mask when sanding drywall or when someone is sweeping causing heavy airborne dust.
  • Ear plugs or ear covers should be used when operating table saws, pneumatic nailers, roto-zips, etc in a confined area.


  • Use ladders for the purposes for which they were designed. Do not use ladders for skids, braces or workbenches, etc.
  • Make sure ladder size meets job demands.
  • Do not use step ladders as straight ladders, always open all four feet and lock spreaders in place on a step ladder and place in a level condition.
  • Use proper angles when using straight and extension ladders. When using a non-self-supporting ladder use the “four-to-one” rule: for every four feet of height, moves the bottom of the ladder one foot from the wall.
  • Top of extension ladders must extend a minimum of three feet beyond the supporting object when used as an access to an elevated work area.
  • Before climbing extension ladders, make sure latches are properly engaged.
  • Extension ladders must be overlapped a minimum of three rungs.
  • Keep body near the middle of the ladder. Avoid leaning off the edge of a ladder. Move the ladder frequently so as not to be tempted to lean too far.
  • Do not step on the top rung or platform on a step ladder.
  • Do not carry anything that will prevent holding on with both hands while ascending or descending the ladder. Use a tool belt, bucket or a tool bag to lift tools.
  • Only one person on a ladder at a time.
  • When climbing, always face the ladder.
  • Place your ladder on solid footing. If there is a danger of the ladder moving while you work, tie it down. If there is a danger that the ladder will be hit, barricade it. If the feet of the ladder are not level, dig the ground out under one foot with the claw of a hammer rather than raising one foot with blocks.

Utility Knives:

  • Close retractable blades when not in use
  • Cut in a direction away from your body.

Power Tools:

  • Ask for instructions if you are not experienced using power tools.

(Click here for Word version of this document that you can print and have volunteers sign, if desired.)

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