Three construction workers in hard hats standing on a construction site conducting land surveying safety procedures.

Prioritizing Land Surveying Safety: Protocols, Equipment, and Training Essentials

Land surveyors perform an essential role when it comes to mapping out construction sites. They ensure that everything goes to plan and by mapping out the area prepare the land for further construction. However, they too are exposed to various hazards even though they are not involved in the actual construction.

There are many hazards that they may come across and land surveying safety is an element of the job that has to be taken seriously. Fortunately, all of these problems are easily avoidable, especially when one follows all the necessary land surveyors regulations.

Safety in land surveying is a priority that each surveyor has to consider first, even before they embark on a task. Not to mention the additional safety gear needed and procedures that have to be followed. All of that and so much more will be explained in our comprehensive land surveying safety guide.

What are the Safety Measures for Surveying?

A professional land surveyor usually facilitates the measurement of a certain piece of land by directing and organizing his colleagues. These tasks often involve elevation measurements, drawing the lines and contours of a construction project, mapping, land division, recording data, and even some mining. As you can see, this is all serious stuff and safety precautions in surveying need to be taken so that everyone comes out unscathed.

The thing is that land surveyors work on a variety of outdoor projects, some of which come with their very own risk factors. Surveyors need to be aware of the hazards and risks that come with surveying a certain patch of land under specific conditions.

One of the main precautionary measures that needs to be taken is land assessment. In that sense, it needs to be determined if the construction project complies with zoning codes and requirements. Determining the possible setbacks, possible land restrictions, and easements will guarantee the legality of a project.

By complying with these rules, not only is harmony between the workers achieved, but it also safeguards the interests of the property owner who wants everything to be handled properly and workers to be unharmed.

Land Surveying Safety Procedures

Land surveying for construction projects can be particularly tricky and requires high levels of safety. Surveyors have to be cautious at all times and to make sure that they follow the necessary procedures at all times. Sometimes, even driving to a construction site requires you to take the necessary precautions.

Once there, people working on the site will need to follow some of the given procedures.

  • Wearing the correct safety gear: Surveyors have to protect themselves by wearing the correct safety gear for a particular job. This mainly includes having the correct footwear, hard hats, goggles, and safety gloves. However, since every construction site is different, each one will come with its safety regulations and requirements for proper protective gear.
  • Establish communication plans: If you are working in a remote area where communication via cell phone may be interrupted, you need to find an alternative way to establish communication with your colleagues. Carrying walkie-talkies or two-way radios with you is usually the best way to go.
  • Dealing with insects or animals: When working outdoors, there is a great possibility that you will run into some animals or insects. In such a case, necessary precautions need to be taken to secure the working area from these factors.
  • Working in the outdoors: Most of the time, surveyors will be exposed to a variety of elements when measuring outside. Rain, winds, and harsh weather conditions will cause you a lot of problems if you are not prepared enough. Sometimes, you simply need to put on some sunscreen if the sun is too hot.

Identifying the Main Hazards

The simplest way to go about establishing safety is to identify the potential problems before arriving at the site. Determining risk assessment in land surveying before starting with the project will save you a lot of time It will also prevent unwanted problems from occurring once the actual surveying starts. 

Here are the elements that you need to be cautious of.

  • Traffic Accidents: Surveryors will oftentimes work in areas with heavy traffic. Boundaries need to be established with barricade tapes to protect the site that is being surveyed as well as the people working within it.
  • Electrocution: Sometimes a survey will be made in the vicinity or around power lines. This happens more often than you think. It represents a massive risk for the people involved. Make sure to identify any live wires and determine the existence of any power lines or cables before entering the site.
  • Hazardous Substances: Asbestos, lead, and various toxic chemicals all represent potentially dangerous substances if one comes in contact with them. If these substances are present at a construction site, proper protective equipment needs to be worn.
  • Falls and Trips: Most of the time, surveyors work on uneven terrains, slippery surfaces, heights, or scaffolding. It can be tricky to maneuver around those. But if you are careful and wear the proper protective footwear, you will be able to work safely in those conditions.
  • Equipment Malfunction: Carrying sophisticated instruments like total stations or laser scanners in various kinds of terrains and not being careful about them may lead to equipment damage. This may not only result in imprecise measurements. But also may lead to people getting hurt if faulty equipment is used.

Personal Protective Equipment Hazard Assessment

A basic personal protective equipment (PPE) hazard assessment helps the workers evaluate exactly what they are going up against on the field. By completing a baseline survey, hazard levels can be easily identified and proper land surveying safety measures taken.

A PPE hazard assessment involves the following.

  1. Evaluating the work process and identifying uncontrolled hazards.
  2. Selecting the proper PPE needed for the given situation.
  3. Assessing the needed documentation for the required PPE.
  4. Training workers so they can react based on the PPE hazard assessment.

Land Surveying Safety Equipment

When it comes to safety in land surveying it doesn’t get much easier than simply wearing the proper safety equipment. Personal protective equipment (PPE) comes in a variety of forms and all of them serve to provide the necessary protection for a surveyor in the field in a variety of situations.

Type of Protection

PPEs Used

Eyes & Face Protection:

  • General safety goggles
  • Impact goggles
  • Chemical splash goggles
  • Laser safety goggles
  • Face shield

Head Protection:

Hand Protection:

  • Leather gloves
  • Thinner disposable gloves
  • Wire mesh gloves
  • Chemical resistant gloves
  • Electrical safety gloves
  • Insulated gloves

Respiratory Protection:

  • Dust mask
  • Surgical mask
  • Cloth mask
  • Respirators
  • Powered aid-purifying respirators
  • Self-contained breathing apparatuses

Skin & Body Protection:

  • Disposable sleeves
  • Scrubs
  • Coveralls
  • Disposable gowns
  • Cooling vests
  • Safety vests
  • Lab coats
  • Reflective clothing
  • Flame-resistant coveralls
  • Aprons

Fall & Impact Protection:

  • Full body harness
  • Shock-absorbing lanyards
  • Anchors
  • Locking carabiners
  • Self-retracting lifelines with swivels

Foot & Leg Protection:

  • Foot/shin guards
  • Knee pads
  • Shoe covers
  • Safety shoes
  • Slip-resistant shoes

Hearing Protection:

  • Ear plugs
  • Ear muffs
  • Canal caps

Levels of Protection Against Workplace Hazards

If you want to truly follow all the proper land surveyors regulations, that means that environmental workers have to contact the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to determine the level of PPEs that need to be used. Several protection levels exist, and each one comes with its characteristics that will have to be obeyed for full protection to be achieved.

  • Level A Protection: Comes with the highest risk of hazard exposure. Consequently, it requires the highest levels of respiratory, eye, and skin protection. 
  • Level B Protection: This level requires the highest level of protection, but a lower level of outer and inner layer for skin protection. This is usually the case with areas that have ambient atmospheric vapors or gasses in lower concentrations.
  • Level C Protection: Here workers know the type of airborne substances they are dealing with. They know exactly what the concentrations of elements is in the air and the necessary air-purifying respirators to use.
  • Level D Protection: This is the lowest level of protection and basically requires a minimum amount of PPEs used. It should offer adequate protection in areas where there is no contamination. 

Developing a Land Surveying Safety Strategy

In order to be certain that you and your colleagues are going to be secure on a site at all times, you will need to establish and develop a strategy to improve land surveying safety procedures. Here is how to go about it.

  1. Establish safety training for surveyors - Regardless of the experience level of the workers, safety training should be an integral part of any survey. Basic safety programs usually cover risk assessment, hazard identification, safe work practices, and emergency response procedures.
  2. Personal Protective Equipment - Employers need to provide access to surveyors to proper land surveying safety equipment depending on the required tasks.
  3. Risk Assessment Safety Plans - Risk assessment in land surveying should be conducted even before a project starts. It should result in plans that will mitigate risks in the field.
  4. Communication and Collaboration - Communicating clearly in the field is crucial for everyone’s safety. Surveyors and all the people involved should have regular meetings to share the situation in the field and provide valuable safety insight to all the people involved.
  5. Continuous Improvement - Surveyors should actively participate in the development of safety procedures. Their experience could be crucial in creating future strategies, incident investigations, and regular safety audits should be conducted regularly so as to determine the necessary changes within one’s strategy.

Training Essentials for Land Surveyors

Safety training for surveyors should be conducted regularly or before going to a site. First of all, it is necessary to train workers on the hazards identified in the PPE hazard assessment. It is also important to attend various refresher courses.

No matter the years of experience a surveyor has, it is always necessary to attend a safety assessment or development strategy before the survey starts. It also helps in a worker’s professional development. 

Training programs usually involve the ability to identify hazards in the field, being able to conduct risk assessments yourself, know the best safety practices to protect you and your colleagues, as well as know all the emergency response procedures to react properly in a specific situation. Surveyors should oftentimes attend various refresher courses to keep themselves on their toes. That way they will always be ready to react in any kind of situation in the field.

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