The Safety Task Assignment (STA)

by Will Tom Gray
The safety task assignment is a procedure used to make an effective safety audit for a task before it is assigned. It is usually carried out at the beginning of each shift and often at the beginning of each assignment.

The STA is performed as a meeting held by the foreman or lead man to discuss any potential hazards of the assignment and preparations for the worksite. Most often it is accompanied with a checklist form that each participant signs to acknowledge that he has taken part in the procedure and understands the requirements.

Some of the obvious personal protective equipment checklist items are gloves, hardhat, safety glasses, ear protection, steel toes and personal fall protection. Each worksite has it's own permitting requirements but the usual ones are excavation, hot work, welding, confined space entry, concrete pouring, and line opening. There should also be plenty of space for adding additional requirements and instructions.

Before each STA the supervisor should make a thorough inspection of the work location. He should locate the fire extinguishers, alarm stations, safety showers and egress routes. He should also make note of the noise level, footing, ventilation, weather, overhead work, lighting, debris, chemicals, fall hazards, and any other health and safety factors that may be of concern. And last but not least he should consult with other crews and workers in the area to discover additional or unusual hazards.

On a construction project the landscape changes on a minute-by-minute basis while each task, craft, and worksite has it's own inherent dangers. A well-conducted STA will bring safety awareness to a new level by making each employee aware of the potential dangers and his own responsibilities. It will foster a heightened positive attitude toward overall safety that greatly benefits the company as well as the employee.