Toolbox Talk No. 18 - Off-the-Job Safety

On Toolbox Talks, we have talked a lot about on-the-job safety. We have covered scaffolding, ladder safety, heat stress, and women's PPE. Today, we want to talk about something a little bit different: Off-the-job safety.

Every year 55,000 people die accidental deaths off-the-job. These deaths come mostly from falls, car accidents, power tool accidents, trench collapses, electric shock, and other perils. Only 5,000 people die on the job, so clearly, there is a severe disconnect. You may think that once you leave the job site, it doesn’t matter what you do, but the safety rules still apply at home. The dangers of operating a vehicle, using construction equipment, and working at heights don’t change because you are home. Injury and death can still occur off-the-job.

It may seem unnecessary and even a little excessive, but it isn’t. Off-the-job safety is paramount to ensuring safety.

We care about your safety and your well-being, and so does your employer. At WRYKER, we believe safety drastically improves the construction industry, and we want to prevent as many injuries and deaths by providing quality safety information. We hope you will read along and remember we all want a safer, happier environment on the job and at home.


Driving is a necessity for most adults in America. Over 40,000 people are killed each year in car related accidents. We need to remember to drive safety, following the roadway laws, and using our defensive driving skills. Follow the do’s and don’ts below to reduce your risk on the road.



Always wear your seatbelt

Don’t use your phone while driving

Allow yourself plenty of time

Don’t speed

Maintain a safe distance between you and other drivers. Pass on the left.

Don’t tailgate

Take an Uber, Lyft, Taxi or ride with a designated driver if under the influence

Don’t drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol


At Home Construction Projects

As construction workers, we are continually improving our homes and doing at-home projects. These projects are fulfilling and fun. Most importantly, they make our homes beautiful, comforting places to relax after a long day. We must remember to practice our safety rules while doing these at-home projects to ensure we get to the relaxing part! Nothing would be worse than getting a concussion or broken leg during an at-home project, and not only, having to miss work, but also having to sit at home in pain, rather than enjoying the fruits of our labor.

First, we need to remember our working at heights safety rules. Most often, at home, we use ladders for these height projects. We have a full article on ladder safety, but let’s review the basics.

  • The ladder should be tied off for adding stability.
  • If using a ladder on a roof, make sure it extends 3 feet above the roof.
  • Always place the safety feet on firm, solid ground.
  • Don’t step on the top rung of a step ladder.
  • Fully extend step ladder’s legs and lock the braces.
  • Be very careful around power lines or other electrical hazards. If a nearby wire is live, you should not have a ladder within 10 feet of it for an abundance of caution.
  • Inspect your ladder before each use.
  • Set up your ladder using proper ladder placement guidelines.

Second, we need to remember to use proper personal protective equipment. At work, OSHA requires us to use PPE during hazardous jobs, but at home, sometimes we simply forget to don the proper equipment.

Here is the personal protective equipment you should never forget:

  • Safety glasses when using power tools and cutting any material
  • Gloves and shoes
  • Hard hat when something may fall from above
  • Hat when it is sunny outside
  • Face mask when working with potentially harmful chemicals and materials

Healthy Habits

It is also essential to maintain healthy habits outside of the workplace to maintain your health. 1 in 25 construction workers have been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease. Along with heart disease, construction workers suffer from several diseases. The numbers of construction workers diagnosed with obesity, diabetes, and hypertension are staggering. Two in three construction workers are obese or overweight. In 2005, diabetes rose 2% among construction workers over the age of 55. 41% of construction workers 55 age or older have hypertension. While some risk factors that are out of your control influence these diseases, there are simple measures you can take to prevent these diseases and live a longer, happier life.

  1. Eating Healthily and Exercising

Eating healthy is a great way to keep yourself healthy. The CDC recommends that you eat 1 ½ to 2 cups of fruit per day and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day. Adding these vegetables and fruits into your diet can dramatically change your overall health.

Additionally, it is essential to exercise regularly. The American Heart Association found that nearly half of construction workers don’t get enough exercise. Exercise can be daunting, but we recommend starting with one walk a day. Walking is a relatively straightforward exercise, and it can be relaxing and fun. 

  1. Tobacco and Alcohol Use

1 in 4 construction workers use tobacco products regularly. Tobacco is a proven cause of many preventable deaths, such as heart disease and lung cancer. Do yourself a favor and quit. Many products can help you quit. 

It is also crucial to monitor your alcohol use. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that 16.5% of construction workers drank heavily. Heavy drinking is considered five or more drinks during one event several times a month. It is suggestive of a substance abuse issue. An occasional drink is fine, but binge drinking is incredibly dangerous and leads to all sorts of illnesses, such as cancer and addiction. Limit your alcohol usage, and if you need help, contact your local AA chapter        

  1. Regular Doctor Visits

Regularly visiting the doctor is imperative to staying in good health. Catching diseases and issues early can significantly increase your chance for recovery. Additionally, your doctor can provide extra tips and tricks on staying healthy.

Thank you for reviewing off-the-job safety with us today. Remember that taking care of yourself on the job is just as important as taking care of yourself at home. We want you to live a long, happy, and fulfilling life, so remember to care for yourself.

Wishing you a happy and safe workplace,

The WRYKER Safety Team

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