Pre-Task Planning is necessary to make any construction project successful. “Pre-Task Safety and Health Planning” is necessary to promote a safer and healthier work environment for each and every task.

The Pre-Task Safety and Health Plan (PTSHP) is one active and dynamic tool to drill down a bit deeper into the specific hazards, safe work practices, and controls for a specific and oftentimes unique task or activity. Although generally required for more complex (e.g., crane lifts, industrial hygiene exposures) and higher risk activities (e.g., working at height, electrical energy exposures, struck-by, caught in or between, and confined space entry), the PTSHP can be used by contractors for nearly all tasks that a crew performs during construction and related activities (e.g., remediation).

To provide those of us involved with safety and health activities on construction and construction-related projects specific guidance on PTSHPs, The American National Standard “Pre-Project & Pre-Task Safety and Health Planning” document (ANSI/ASSE A10.1-2011) has been published. This document provides definitions, references, and guidance to owners, constructors, contractors, and safety and health professionals involved with “Pre-Project” and “Pre-Task” Safety and Health Planning.


There are a number of tools that a site safety and health professional or site superintendent can use to promote a safer work task leading to a safer project at completion. These tools include a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA), Job Safety Analysis (JSA), Activity Hazard Analysis (AHA), and the Pre-Task Safety and Health Plan. These tools are now used on projects more often than in the past.

There are also Tailgate/Toolbox safety and health meetings and plans, Safety Moments, Safe Work Observations, Safety Stand-downs, and more. The good news is that the experienced construction safety and health professional has all of these tools and more available to them to positively impact the success of a project. The challenge is simplicity and how to effectively use these tools.


Today, many contractors follow a relatively simple hierarchy of plans and procedures for the effective implementation of an overall safety and health effort, which can take different shapes and have different terminology; but basically adheres to the following process:

  1. Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) (aka the I2P2, Safety Program or HSE Program)
  2. Site (Project)-Specific Safety and Health Plans (e.g. SSHP, HASP)
  3. Activity Hazard Analysis; which are often referred to by their sister plan names, such as the Job Hazard Analysis and Job Safety Analysis
  4. Pre-Task Safety and Health Plan

The PTSHP is the one plan that, if effectively implemented and communicated, gives the construction crew safety and health information and direction immediately, and just before the task begins. The PTSHP presents information and direction, including the hazards; expectations; safe work procedures; recent changes or updates in scheduling, weather, and other pertinent factors; required PPE and tools; and importantly, it gathers their sign-off and buy-in just at the right time: immediately before a task.

Most often, an owner or prime contractor will want to see, upfront, the contractor’s Injury and Illness Prevention Program, a copy of the Site Safety and Health Plan, and copies of the contractor’s Activity Hazard Analyses.
Despite the best efforts of any safety and health professional or company-designated safety and health coordinator, these plans oftentimes do not drill down to the specific activities or tasks happening each and every day during the project. This is where the Pre-Task Safety and Health Plan can be of tremendous value.


Usually, at the beginning of each day’s work, general daily safety meetings (e.g., Tailgate/Toolbox meetings) are held with all project personnel in attendance. Meetings review the hazards posed, required project safety, and health procedures/AHAs which apply for each day’s project activities. In these project level safety meetings, you will distribute or receive information general in nature, such as emergency actions and rally points, a big picture of project hazards and requirements, ladder safety, strain and sprain prevention, stretch and flex, and discussion of recent mishaps or other incidents.


Following the general daily safety meeting, the crew supervisor (e.g., foreman, team leader), with input from the work crew, should then be tasked with communicating and implementing the PTSHP for the specific tasks planned for that day. Sometimes there is more than one PTSHP meeting if there are different and unique tasks that a crew may undertake.

The PTSHP meetings serve the same purpose as these general assembly (e.g., Tailgate/Toolbox) safety meetings, but the PTSHP meeting is held between the crew supervisor and their work crews to discuss and focus on accomplishing the task, step-by-step, reviewing the hazards and appropriate work activities, hazard communication, and personal protective equipment.

The day’s tasks, personnel, tools, and equipment that will be used to perform these tasks are listed, along with the hazards posed and required safety and health procedures, as identified in the AHA (JSA/JHA).

The use of PTSHPs better promotes worker participation in the hazard recognition and control process at the task level, while reinforcing the task-specific hazard and required safety and health procedures with the crew each day, for each and every task.


Construction takes place in a dynamic and fast-paced work environment. Despite having compliant programs and procedures, such as the IIPP, SSHP, and even AHAs in place, it’s difficult to ensure that the daily nuts and bolts of a task, including the nuances of how that task will be completed safely and as planned, are assured. The PTSHP is a relatively simple tool that drives timely safety and health attention and expectations to the task level for each and every member on that crew.

About The Author

Pete Rice, CSP, CIH, has nearly 40 years of experience with occupational safety, industrial hygiene, and environmental health programs. He is a certified safety professional, certified industrial hygienist, and environmental health specialist who is part of the course development team at, the premier on-line safety training provider to the construction industry. Pete delivers monthly Toolbox Safety Talks and can be reached at: Learn more about ClickSafety at

Modern Contractor Solutions, December 2014
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