Starting a new exterior building project is exciting, and while it is easy to skip ahead in your mind and think about how great the finished product is going to look, it is also very important to properly plan out your project in terms of budget, design, and most important, safety.
Taking the time to review and understand key safety measures can go a long way to making sure that your project is properly completed without having to sacrifice the quality of the installation and the health and safety of yourself and those working with you.
Here are four key safety tips to keep in mind when starting any exterior building project.
1. Understand Your Materials
With any construction project, there are usually a number of products and materials made from chemical substances that are needed to complete the job. It is always important to know and understand what these materials are and how to use them properly to avoid any hazardous situations.
Material Safety Data Sheets or MSDSs are documents that contain the potential hazards of chemical products and information on how to work with them safely. While it is the responsibility of employers to provide all applicable MSDS sheets to their employees, it is also a good idea for anyone working with a potentially harmful substance to research and learn about the materials on their own. There are a number of internet sites where consumers can research the MSDS for chemically based products.
(Click here for a list of MSDS sheets for vinyl siding and other related building products manufactured and distributed by Mitten).
2. Read your Instructions
Whenever you purchase exterior building products, always carefully read the manufacturer’s assembly and installation instructions. While this task isn’t always the most exciting, improper installation can lead to the product failing, the warranty voided and potential injury to the installer or homeowner.
The days of losing the instructions and ‘winging it’ are long gone since most detailed installation guides are readily available on manufacturer’s websites.
3. Wear Protective Equipment
Nobody starts an exterior building project thinking they are going to be injured, however according to the Association of Workers' Compensation Boards of Canada in 2011 249,111 Canadian workers were injured on the job resulting in lost time; 27,652 of those workers were from the construction industry.
One of the best ways to prevent injury on the job site is to wear proper protective equipment that has been approved by recognized standards organizations such as the CSA. Proper safety boots, eyewear, gloves, eye protection, harnesses, hardhats and other important safety gear should be worn at all appropriate times and properly inspected on a daily basis.
4. Be Smart in Extreme Temperatures
Installing exterior building products obviously requires work to be done outside. In the instance of severe heat or cold, it is very important to take precautions against the effects of extreme temperatures on the body.
Heat stroke, heat exhaustion, frostbite and hypothermia are the most severe results of prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures, and it is important for outside workers in any sector to take the necessary precautions.
When working in extreme heat take increased work breaks, reduce work load/pace, wear a hat and sunscreen, stay hydrated, and void direct sunlight when possible.
When working in extreme cold dress in layers of clothing, avoid sweating, drink warm sweet drinks or soup, have warm shelter accessible, and use a buddy system.
Before you start any exterior building project it is always recommended that you consult all applicable building codes and permits to ensure your installation meets the minimum acceptable level of safety set by your local government bodies.