How to Use Your Senses to Assess Construction Site Safety

As you start to think about construction site safety from the vantage point of a business owner, you’ll spend a lot of time reading rules and guidelines. But once you start to master them, you’ll find that you need to be able to assess the situation regularly and quickly. If you use your five senses to your advantage, you’ll see how your natural instincts can tell you what could be wrong.

What you see on the jobsite is probably your first indicator of its safety. For most people, sight is the first or possibly the second sense they rely on to understand their surroundings. You can use your vision to evaluate the surrounding environment for each task you’ll be doing on the site. It’s important to get a 360° view, because it’s likely that there may be hazards behind you. For example, if you’re working in a busy warehouse, you should know if there will be equipment in use behind you, or people moving through with small vehicles. Working with multiple people helps to increase the likelihood that someone will see a disaster before it happens. But this isn’t guaranteed, so you’ll want to evaluate it in advance.

Sounds on the construction site can be trickier to navigate than what you see. This is because many pieces of construction equipment generate a lot of noise, and that isn’t necessarily an indicator that something is wrong. In some cases, the task you’re doing produces so much noise that you need to wear protective gear to reduce sound levels. This means that other people, who might call out to you to get your attention in case of a hazard, may not be able to get through. Tools for construction safety often use a combination of indicators, like a loud beep and a bright flashing light, to get someone’s attention even if they may can only hear or see it.

If you have ever walked into a room that had left natural gas running too long, you know the unmistakable smell. This scent exists to warn you of danger. In some cases, a bad smell is an indicator that disaster is about to strike. A strong burning smell may come as the result of a natural construction process, or it could be an accidental fire. Unfortunately, people are often trained to ignore bad smells because it is sometimes impolite to comment on them. But it’s better to make a note of them than to tune them out. Of course, for contaminants like carbon monoxide, you may not be able to smell it at all. That’s why you install things like carbon monoxide detectors to alert you, in the event that the room is not properly ventilated.

You’re less likely to rely on your sense of touch when you can see and hear clearly. But if you can’t, your sense of touch may be the difference between safe passage and a fall. Falls on construction sites are one of the most common sources of injury or even death. They’re more likely to happen in places where people cannot see clearly, or where they are distracted by the task at hand. When you’re working above the ground, make sure that you can keep both feet flat. If you start to feel that you don’t have a firm grip, you may need to use additional safety equipment or temporarily suspend work.

When to Trust Your Instincts
When you’ve got a long day of work and you’re most of the way through, it’s tempting to ignore your instincts just so you can get the job done and go home. Statistically, this is when accidents are more likely to happen. You don’t need to be on constant alert to the point that you can’t focus on the task. But you should certainly take breaks to evaluate your environment for possible hazards. That way, you can manage them before you start the task, and ensure that you leave the environment safe for the next person.

Trusting your senses is one way to keep your contracting business safe for years to come. To learn more about taking the contractor licensing exam, contact CSLS today!

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About CSLS

Contractors State License Service (CSLS) is the largest school in California devoted to the Construction professional. For over 23 years, CSLS has helped its students pass the exam to become licensed contractors in the State of California, licensing more students than any other school. From our main offices in Southern California, CSLS operates over 25 locations with full-service support and classrooms. We have grown to this extent by providing quality, professional services. In comparison, this provides 7 times the number of convenient locations than the second largest contractor school. Contractors State License Services is one of the only contractor schools in the state that is run by educators, not lawyers or people mostly interested in the bonding and insurance business. Contractors State License Services formerly operated under the oversight of the State of California's Bureau for Private Post Secondary and Vocational Education. As of January 1 2010, the new Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) came into existence replacing the BPPVE. CSLS now operates under the provisions of the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 (CPPEA), Article 4 Section 94874(f). Our Mission is simple; We can help you pass your California Contractors License Exam. Celebrating our 25th year, CSLS has helped over 120,000 students pass the California contractor licensing exam to become licensed contractors in the State of California. Additionally, we offer complete home study and online contractor’s license programs to help you pass your California contractors license exam. CSLS offers licensing classes for all types of contractor licenses, including General Engineering Contractor, General Building Contractor, Specialty Contractor, Insulation and Acoustical Contractor, Framing and Rough Carpentry Contractor, Cabinet, Millwork and Finish Carpentry Contractor, Concrete Contractor, Drywall Contractor, Electrical Contractor, Elevator Contractor, Landscaping Contractor, Warm-Air Heating, Ventilating and Air-Conditioning Contractor, and many others. For a complete list of contractor licenses, visit and tuned for more informative posts.