If EMS Was In The Construction Industry


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If EMS Was In The Construction Industry

Submitted by Bill Degnan on Tue, 01/07/2020 - 20:13

An advantage to having come to EMS from a Construction background is that one can view safety from a different perspective. In EMS, the paperwork is after action. In Construction, it is said that when the weight of the paperwork exceeds that of the project, the construction phase may begin. No less true for construction safety. Before a task can begin, a Job Hazard Analysis must be produced and approved and it is briefed with the workers before any new phase of work. Over the years, some of us assembled our own version of "The JHA From Hell". This document, when submitted to the General Contractor, would send the message that we knew our business, we would work safely and, instead of looking for gaps in our analysis, the GC could better use their time tuning up their own JHAs, lest somebody would make unfavorable comparisons.

Here is a line item, taken to the level of ridiculous. [Mobile readers may prefer to view the tables in Landscape mode to see all five columns. --ed]

Task to be performed Hazard Engineering controls to remove or reduce hazard PPE to remove or reduce hazard Remarks
Sharpening carpenters' pencil

Worker could be cut or stabbed by knife (if used).

Eye may be exposed to foreign body (shavings).

Worker may slip/fall on dropped pencil.

Flat carpenters' pencils will be the only style permitted on the job. They are less likely to roll off a surface or under foot.

Safety Pencil sharpeners will be furnished at gang boxes and at established Safety Glass Cleaning Stations. Pre-phase instruction will include the locations and safe operation of sharpeners.

Each worker will be furnished with sufficient pre-sharpened pencils, each shift to reduce the necessity of field sharpening. These will be turned in, daily to be refurbished by support staff under proper conditions.

Prior to sharpening, the worker shall establish that the immediate area is clear of personnel who are not required for the task.

Proper housekeeping will apply to any resultant shavings.

Pencils which are too short to be of practical use, or are otherwise damaged will be RED TAGGED  and retired from service.


Safety Glasses (ANSI Z81), Work Gloves, Safety Shoes, Face Shield (Optional addition See Note 1)


Note 1: In addition to basic eye protection)

Procedures will be briefed prior to each construction phase (where pencils may be present)  and periodically, at the weekly toolbox safety meeting. Attendance will be recorded.


No one goes to this extreme. But it does give a framework  for analysing our tasks and thinking about to perform them safely.

Who, in your organization, gives any thought to the tasks you perform and the reduction of hazards? Who benefits from the reduction of risk?

Let's get you started with one task.

Task to be performed Hazard Engineering controls to remove or reduce hazard PPE to remove or reduce hazard Remarks
Parking Ambulance at a scene call

Person or equipment  could be struck  or run over during backing.

Whenever practical, vehicles should be parked without backing and in such a way that they can depart also without backing.

If there is no alternative, ground guides shall be used, whenever they can be reasonably deployed.

Vehicles will be equipped with a working audible backup alarm.


Ground guides shall wear Hi-Viz outerwear and during reduced visibility, use a hand-held light or traffic wand for signaling.

At an MCI, if sufficient resources are available, use traffic cones to establish drive-through parking lanes at at Casualty Collection and Ambulance Staging area(s).

A Marshaller should be used to facilitate vehicle movement.

If you would like a template to do your own JHAs, email jha@onscene.us.