By Tim McElroy
First and foremost, Pre-Task Planning (PTP) keeps people safe. It can also improve performance and the outcome of the job.
Here’s how PTP works:
1. Before the start of any task or job, the supervisor/employee (or whoever is in charge of the project) needs to identify three main things:
- The task(s) that need to be completed that day.
- The potential hazards that could be involved in the completion of those tasks.
- The corrective measures that will be put in place to avoid/mitigate the identified hazards.
For example, let’s say the project task is to flat saw a six inch thick slab of concrete. One of the first things that need to be done is for the supervisor or person in charge of the project, to walk the site with the customer (and walk the site solo) to identify potential hazards, such as:
- Underground services: Typically when cutting concrete, Penhall Company Concrete Cutting Professionals are continually exposed to gas lines, water lines or electrical lines that could be under the concrete or asphalt or imbedded in the concrete.
- Traffic: If the work is conducted on a street or near an area where people are driving, the crew needs to determine what kind of barriers or work area delineations needs to be put in place to protect the safety of the workers and drivers.
- Pedestrians: Work that is conducted in public areas can expose both workers and bystanders to harm (e.g. flying objects, slip/trip hazards, exhaust fumes, etc.).
2. Once all the potential hazards have been identified, measures must be put in place to control the hazards.
- Underground services: Call 511 (number for dig alert) and have someone come out and identify what’s underground and where it’s at.
- Traffic: Put a truck between worker and traffic; delineate the work area using cones, etc.
- Pedestrians: Use spotters to keep unauthorized person out the work area; vacuum slurry water immediately; etc.
3. Pre-Task Planning is also applied to the tools and equipment used on the job and the personal protective equipment (PPE) that the crew wears and uses.
It’s important to remember that PTP should also be applied to tools, machinery, and personal protection equipment (PPE). Identifying the potential hazards related to equipment and verifying that corrective measures are in place is an essential part of ensuring safety, productivity, and morale.
For instance, if a blade is used, one of the corrective measures to prevent someone getting cut would be to use a blade guard and to inspect the structural integrity of the blade guard.
In addition, if a situation changes while the job is underway, all workers must take a “time-out and stop work,” to conduct a new PTP to evaluate the changing hazards and to assess whether the existing corrective measures will sufficiently mitigate the hazards, or if new corrective measures need to be implemented.
Here are a few examples of questions that operators should ask themselves during their PTP process to validate that the equipment is in good condition and functioning properly before it gets to a customer’s location or job site.
- Does the engine have oil?
- What is the hydra drive fluid level? Is that sufficient?
- Does it lift and lower smoothly?
- Are the blade guards in place?
Small Gas Powered Equipment:
- Is the oil level sufficient?
- Is the On/Off switch working properly?
- Is the battery and connections functioning properly?
- Is the engine oil level ok?
- Are the remote and override switches ok?
- Are there any leaks?
- Is the GPM flow adjusted to match the tool?
- Is the PSI adjusted to match the tool?
- Is the carriage tight on the mast?
- Does the carriage have all the handles and rack gear? Are they ok?
- Are the base adjusters in place?
- Is the tire pressure adequate?
- Are the tires in good condition? What about the rims?
- Do the springs have defects?
- Is the pintle eye in good condition?
- Is the ball/pintle hitch attached and locked?
- Is the coupler in place?
- Are the lights working?
- Is the carriage tight on the track?
- Are the output/blade shaft threads ok?
- Are the factory guards in place and ok?
- Are the blade flanges and keyway ok?
- What is the condition of the hoses? Is it sufficient?
- What is the condition of the electric cables and plugs?
- Are there any cracked swivels?
Hand Saw/Chop Saw:
- Are the factory blade guards in place?
- Is the output/blade shaft ok?
- Is the trigger clean and operating freely?
- Is the proper blade guard installed?
- Is the blade/core free of cracks?
- Is the blade flat and positioned to run at the selected RPM?
- Does the saw/shaft speed match the blade specified RPM?
- Is the blade rotation correct?
- Is the core bit RPM set to match the diameter and application?
4. Who is responsible for Pre-Task Planning?
All employees on the job.
If the job is a contract job or a job that is managed by a supervisor, the supervisor will create his/her hazards list and corrective measures. Then, during the morning “Pre-Task Planning” meeting, the supervisor will review the days plan, hazards and corrective measures and then seek input form the crew and ask if there’s anything on the PTP that they think has been left out or overlooked or needs to be added. This gives the employees the opportunity to contribute to the planning on the project that they will be working.
However, if an hourly service employee is working independently on a job, they will create their own PTP documents.
For example, here’s a list of potential hazards Penhall employees should be aware of and suggested recommendations for what corrective measures to put in place.
Want to print the list and take it with you?
Pre-Task Planning is a vital part of proactive safety. But it’s not enough to just identify the hazards. Actual steps must be taken to avoid – or at least significantly reduce – the hazard.