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  1. FALL PROTECTION

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    Welcome to OSHA’s Fall Prevention Campaign
    FALLS ARE THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH IN CONSTRUCTION. In 2017, there were 366 fatal falls to a lower level out of 971 construction fatalities (BLS data). These deaths are preventable.
    Since 2012, OSHA has partnered with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) – Construction Sector on the Fall Prevention Campaign to raise awareness among workers and employers about common fall hazards in construction, and how falls from ladders, scaffolds and roofs can be prevented.
    PLAN ahead to get the job done safely
    When working from heights, employers must plan projects to ensure that the job is done safely. Begin by deciding how the job will be done, what tasks will be involved, and what safety equipment may be needed to complete each task.
    When estimating the cost of a job, employers should include safety equipment, and plan to have all the necessary equipment and tools available at the construction site. For example, in a roofing job, think about all of the different fall hazards, such as holes or skylights and leading edges, then plan and select fall protection suitable to that work, such as personal fall arrest systems (PFAS).
    PROVIDE the right equipment
    Workers who are six feet or more above lower levels are at risk for serious injury or death if they should fall. To protect these workers, employers must provide fall protection and the right equipment for the job, including the right kinds of ladders, scaffolds, and safety gear.
    Use the right ladder or scaffold to get the job done safely. For roof work, if workers use personal fall arrest systems (PFAS), provide a harness for each worker who needs to tie off to the anchor. Make sure the PFAS fits, and regularly inspect it for safe use.
    TRAIN everyone to use the equipment safely
    Every worker should be trained on proper set-up and safe use of equipment they use on the job. Employers must train workers in recognizing hazards on the job

  2. WHAT IS OSHA?

    What is OSHA?

    More than 90 million American spend their days on the job. As a nation, they are our most valuable resource. And surprisingly until 1970, no uniform and comprehensive requirements existed for workplace safety and their protection against health hazards.
    How did OSHA Form?
    In 1970, Congress considered annual figures such as these:
    Job related accidents accounted for more than 14,000 worker deaths.
    Nearly 2 1/2 million workers were disabled.
    Ten times as many person-days were lost from job-related disabilities as from strikes.
    Estimated new cases of occupational diseases totaled 300,000
    In terms of lost production and wages, medical, expenses and disability compensation, the burden on the nation’s commerce was staggering. Human cost was beyond calculations. Therefore, the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1979 (the Act) was passed by a bipartisan Congress “…to assure so far as possible every working man and woman in the Nation safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our human resources.”
    What does OSHA Stand For?
    Under the Act, the Occupational Safety and Health administration (OSHA) was created within the Department of Labor.
    Simply stated, OSHA is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and is responsible for worker safety and health protection.
    Since its inception in 1970, OSHA has cut the work-fatality rate by more than half, reduced the overall injury and illness rates in industries where OSHA has concentrated its attention, virtually eliminated brown lung disease in the textile industry and reduced trenching and excavation fatalities by 35 percent.
    OSHA is administered through the Department of Labor (DOL). The DOL regulates and enforces more than 180 federal laws. These mandates and the regulations that implement them cover many workplace activities for about 10 million employers and 125 million workers.
    Who Does OSHA Cover?
    OSHA determines which standards apply to your workplace and requires you to follow these standards and requirements.
    All employees and their employers under Federal Government authority are covered by OSHA. Coverage is provided either directly by federal OSHA or through state programs. OSHA does not cover the self-employed or immediate members of farm families that do not employ outside workers.
    OSHA offers an extensive Web site at osha.gov that includes sections devoted to training, state programs, small businesses, construction, as well as interactive eTools to help employers and employees.
    OSHA also offers training programs for employers and employees to get hazard recognition. Some states currently mandate training.

  3. Renaissance for artisanal mortar

    To adapt mortar to new building materials and industrial methods, the content in walls and plaster changed during the 20th century. The change meant that knowledge of historical materials and methods for producing mortar were lost. New research at the University of Gothenburg reveals that historical binding agents and mortar can be produced and used in present-day plaster restorations.
    “We need to reclaim this knowledge to care for and preserve historic buildings constructed with other materials than those used today,” says Jonny Eriksson at the Department of Conservation at the University of Gothenburg, the author of the new thesis.
    Millennial history
    The production of plaster and mortar for buildings goes back thousands of years in Sweden. For a long time, builders made plaster and mortar using traditional techniques, but with industrialisation the process changed.
    “The change involved using new materials and methods to make mortar. At the same time the knowledge of craftspeople on how to make binding agents and mortar for bricklaying and plastering in different situations was lost.”
    The lack of knowledge first became apparent late in the 1960s because the new mortars were damaging historic buildings.
    “For long-term and sustainable maintenance of historic buildings, we need to reclaim knowledge that has been lost,” Jonny Eriksson says. “And this requires collaboration among crafts and professions such as architects, engineers and antiquarians. More craftspeople also need to be trained in research on building conservation.”
    Investigations in medieval church
    For his thesis Eriksson investigated the formation of shrinkage cracks in plaster. He has studied the feasibility of using mortar mixed with the traditional proportions in use until the 19th century. He conducted his investigations will restoring plaster on a medieval church in Tanum municipality in northern Bohuslän.
    “It became apparent that it is practical today to make and use the old-style of mortar. These mortars with a high content of binding agents need to be mixed with newly slaked lime, which is lime that has just been slaked with water,” says Eriksson.
    During the 20th century, builders discouraged this particular production process. They thought it produced defects in the plaster. Instead they recommended preparing slaked lime one to four weeks before use.
    “This was contrary to fundamental practices in the 19th century, when recommendations called for the use of newly slaked lime. The rationale was that this made the mortar more durable.”
    The research results show that the older artisanal mortar with a high content of binding agents can also be made today. It also shows that the mortar can be used for plaster without unacceptable shrinkage cracks or blisters from unslaked lime.
    “Our experiences with using these old-fashioned mortars in various construction projects indicates that the mortar has good durability. But the lime needs to be newly slaked when used and not stored after slaking nor processed to be packed in a bucket or barrel for later use, for example,” says Eriksson.
    Facts
    Slaked lime is produced by mixing lime and water. This releases energy in the form of heat, and slaked lime forms. Depending on how much water is introduced into the process, slaked lime forms as either dry powder or a wet paste. Slaked lime is used in the building materials industry and for water and flue gas treatment.
    Wet slaked lime is quicklime that has been slaked with an excess of water so that it forms a lime paste. Normally this lime is stored for some time before it is mixed with sand to make mortar. Storage is done to avoid damage.
    Newly slaked lime. Making mortar with newly slaked lime involves slaking the lime before mixing the lime with sand. In other words, the lime is used immediately and is not stored.

    Story Source:
    Materials provided by University of Gothenburg. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

  4. Scaffold Safety

    Around 65% of the construction industry work on scaffolds and experience 4,500 injuries and 60 fatalities annually in the United States alone. To prevent these staggering statistics from reocurring better safety inspections, training and controls are needed.
    There are three things to remember to ensure scaffolding safety:
    The scaffold must be built under the supervision of a competent person;
    Workers must be trained by a qualified person before they use the scaffold; and
    The scaffold and its components should be checked by a competent person and properly tagged before the start of the shift to ensure its integrity and safety.
    This article covers who are competent and qualified persons, the basic Do’s and Don’ts of scaffolding safety, usage of scaffold tags, and also includes free scaffold safety checklists to help you implement safety in your workplace using iAuditor – the world’s #1 inspection app.
    Competent and Qualified Person
    According to OSHA, a competent person is “one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions, which are unsanitary, hazardous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.” This is typically someone who holds a scaffolding high-risk work license.
    While a qualified person is one who “has successfully demonstrated his/her ability to solve or resolve problems related to the subject matter, the work, or the project.” A qualified person has the right background such as education or degree in designing safe scaffolding, for example this could be someone from the scaffold manufacturer or trained scaffold engineer.
    The Bureau of Labor Statistics cites that 72% of scaffold injuries were due to scaffold planking or support giving way, slips, or falling objects. With regular inspections performed by a competent person, adequate scaffold safety training provided by a qualified person, and compliance with local regulatory standards, these dangers can be controlled.
    Basic Scaffolding Safety Do’s and Don’ts

    Here’s a simple guide you can follow to control the hazards when working on a scaffold:
    DO’s:
    Inspect the scaffold using a checklist or mobile inspection app before the work shift and ensure it is safe and in proper working order.
    Provide proper training.
    Have a toolbox talk before beginning work.
    Wear appropriate PPE.
    Always check inspection tags.
    Know the weight capacity of the scaffold.
    Have a handhold above the scaffold platform.
    Level the scaffold after each move. Do not extend adjusting leg screws more than 12 inches.
    Use your safety belts and lanyards when working on scaffolding at a height of 10 feet or more above ground level. Attach the lanyard to a secure member of the scaffold.
    Safely use the ladder when climbing the cross braces for access to the scaffold.
    Keep both feet on the decking.
    Stay off scaffold during loading or unloading.
    Ensure planking is overlapping or secured from movement.
    Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when erecting the scaffold, under the direct supervision of a competent person.
    Be mindful of coworkers working above and below you at all times, as well as others working on the scaffold.
    Use the debris chutes or lower things by hoist or by hand.
    Chock the wheels of the rolling scaffold, using the wheel blocks, and also lock the wheels by using your foot to depress the wheel-lock, before using the scaffold.
    Always use netting to catch anything that falls.

    DON’Ts:
    Leave anything on the scaffold at the end of your shift.
    Overload the scaffold.
    Use unstable objects such as barrels, boxes, loose brick or concrete blocks to support scaffolds, increase your work height or planks.
    Work on platforms or scaffolds unless they are fully planked.
    Use a scaffold unless guardrails and all flooring are in place.
    Stand on ties, guardrails, or extensions.
    Use the scaffold if it appears damaged in any way, has been tampered with, or if there are components missing such as planking, guardrails, toeboards, debris nets or protective canopies.
    Walk on scaffold planking covered in ice, snow or mud.
    Avoid using a scaffold during adverse weather such as heavy rain, sleet, ice snow or strong winds.
    Climb on any portion of the scaffold frame not intended for climbing.
    Never climb with any materials or tools in your hand, they should be hoisted up to the scaffold separately.
    Jump from, to, or between scaffolding.
    Lean out or overreach outside the guardrails.
    Rock the scaffold.
    Throw anything “overboard” unless a spotter is available.
    Move a mobile scaffold if anyone is on it.
    Guidelines in Tagging Scaffolds
    Scaffold tags are used to protect the lives of your workers. It identifies if a scaffold is safe or unsafe for use. Follow the guidelines below when tagging scaffolds.
    Inspection and tagging of the scaffold are to be performed by a competent person experienced in the erection of scaffold.
    A unique scaffold identification tag number must be clearly identified on all tags for tracking purposes.
    All scaffolds shall be inspected after the erection per regulatory requirements.
    All scaffold identification tags wlil be of a solid green, yellow, or red color with black lettering.
    Front information displayed and completed for each tag.
    It is common practice to use the following color schemes: Green, Yellow, Red

    Green – tags will be hung on scaffolds that have been inspected and are safe for use. A green “SAFE FOR USE” tag(s), and should be attached to the scaffold at each access point after the initial inspection is complete.

    green tag

    Yellow – “CAUTION” tag(s), will replace all green “Safe Scaffold” tag(s) whenever the scaffold has been modified to meet work requirements, and as a result, could present a hazard to the user. This tag indicates special requirements for safe use. NOTE: Use of the “yellow tag” status is not intended to override the green tag system. All efforts should be made to return the scaffold to a “Green Tag” status as soon as possible.

    yellow tag

    Red – “DANGER – UNSAFE FOR USE” tag(s), will be used during erection or dismantling when the scaffold is left unattended and replace all green “Safe for Use ” tag(s) or yellow “Caution / Hazard “ tag(s) in the event a scaffold has been deemed unfit for use.

    red tag

     

  5. Protect Workers Operating and Near Forklifts

    Protect Workers Operating and Working Near Forklifts
    Forklifts are an essential piece of equipment in many workplaces, especially in warehousing and manufacturing. Although these vehicles make work more efficient, they can pose serious hazards to those operating or working near them. OSHA reminds employers and workers that these hazards can be prevented by following safe practices and ensuring that workers are properly trained.
    Taking the following steps can protect workers from forklift hazards.
    • Always wear seatbelts when operating a forklift. • Never exceed the rated load, and ensure loads are balanced. • Make sure you have enough clearance when raising and loading materials. • Watch for pedestrians and observe speed limits. • Keep a safe distance from platform and ramp edges.
    For more information on ways to keep workers safe while working with or around forklifts, visit OSHA’s Powered Industrial Trucks – Forklifts page.
    OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program offers no-cost and confidential occupational safety and health compliance assistance to small- and medium-sized businesses. Consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations. The OSHA Training Institute Education Centers offer courses for workers, employers, and managers on hazard recognition and abatement at convenient locations nationwide.
    OSHA alerts are issued on occasion to draw attention to worker safety and health issues and solutions.
    • osha.gov/forklifts • 800-321-OSHA (6742) • @OSHA_DOL

  6. Lean, Mean Construction Machine

    Eliminating overproduction, unnecessary motion, and unneeded product transportation

    At B&I Contractors’ job sites, workers aren’t perched on ladders, putting together intricate assemblies high above the ground. There are no tools or materials piled on the floor or stashed in the corner. That kind of work — the assembling, the preparing, the gathering of tools and supplies — has already been taken care of.
    B&I, based in Fort Myers, Florida, is one of a growing number of contractors across the country to adopt “lean construction” techniques: a plug-and-play approach to construction that lets workers prefab a project off-site, section by section. Then, at the job site, all that remains is putting the pieces together.
    B&I has been in business for 60 years, 30 of them as an employee-owned company. As a full-service mechanical contractor serving southern Florida, its 650 employees do everything from HVAC to piping, sheet metal, service work, plumbing, electrical, and special projects.
    Although the term “lean construction” was coined in 1993, the “lean” concept itself can trace its origins several decades earlier to the Toyota Production System and its philosophy of eliminating waste: overproduction, unnecessary motion, and unneeded product transportation. Within the past several years, those same principles have started to gain popularity in the construction industry, with the two major focuses being prefabrication and preassembly (assembling components in a controlled environment, then transporting them to the construction site in “chunks” for assembly).

    PORTABLE: Lean containers, like this lean pipe table, come in multiple sizes for various functions. “We have the lean cart and lean bin, which is 4 feet by 4 feet: you can put copper fittings in there, your sheet metal caps, adjustable elbows … so you’re no longer putting things on the ground and picking them up,” said Matt Davis, plumbing prefab superintendent.
    B&I implemented lean procedures as a strategic initiative two years ago, although Jon Castro, sheet metal department manager, said they’ve been practicing it somewhat loosely for a few years before that.
    “It’s part existential, part survival,” he said. “I really got into it because I saw that the culture and the construction world were shifting; I felt like we had to adapt if we wanted to maintain the size and profitability of the company we are, as well as the quality of work we put in. Everything’s getting more competitive.
    “The lean approach really structures you to becoming more efficient, taking that leap ahead,” he added. “A lot of folks in the industry are, ‘I’ve always done it this way, and it’s good enough.’ If there’s someone who’s not as good as that guy but getting a little better and a little better, eventually the second one’s going to pass them by, and the first guy is going to stay the same.”
    One recent B&I project that used both prefabrication and preassembly was at the six-story Cleveland Clinic Florida. In creating the clinic’s mechanical/engineering/plumbing system, B&I used a nearby off-site facility to design and put together 48 steel racks, each 20 feet long, 4 feet high, and 8 feet wide: the same width as the hospital corridor. This way, multi-trade installation could be performed at ground level, which allowed workers to build quickly, efficiently, and safely. Detailed shop drawings allowed the crew to maintain critical requirements for the location of system parts within the racks themselves.
    On installation day, B&I used cranes to lift the racks to their respective floors, then removed the casters on the racks and rolled them to their proper locations.
    “The racks were done months in advance, and we were able to build them off-site,” said Phil Murphey, sheet metal shop foreman. “When the structure got to where it needed to be, it was plug-and-play.”
    Overall, B&I’s prefabrication and preassembly strategies resulted in minimal waste, reduced cost, and a significantly shortened installation time for the Cleveland Clinic project.
    “Some of the guys were sitting in the warehouse putting things together; it’s safer than on a ladder,” Murphey explained. “Our customer and our clients are going to get better product, typically, when it’s prefab, because there’s no chance of products getting messed up in the field.”
    It’s not about the company making more money and being more efficient — it’s really about better quality for the customer and the customer’s end user, according to Castro.
    “When you’re improving your quality and reducing waste through lean, it’s a better product,” he said.
    Racks, bins, and carts are a common sight on B&I job sites, where all the materials required for the job are delivered to the site pre-packed. When it’s time to start the day’s work, everything’s at hand.
    “It’s eliminating wasteful movement, wasteful product, wasted energy,” said Matt Davis, plumbing prefab superintendent.
    Lean containers come in different sizes for different uses.

    PLUG AND PLAY: Racks, bins, and carts, like this lean cart with a table and trash can, are a common sight on B&I job sites, where all the materials required for the job are delivered to the site pre-packed. When it’s time to start the day’s work, everything’s at hand.
    “We have a couple styles of baskets,” said Davis. “We have the lean cart and the lean bin, which is 4 feet by 4 feet: you can put copper fittings in there, your sheet metal caps, adjustable elbows … so you’re no longer putting things on the ground and picking them up. Then we have a basket that’s 30 inches wide and 5 feet tall. It’s designed to fit through a standard doorframe, so you can still put a bunch of trim fittings on that cart and get it through the corridor without damaging the work that’s been done.”
    Behind the scenes, the same philosophy applies to work like creating project designs.
    “The way that I used to get my work into the shop was the old-school way: The department would decide on a design, I would have to sit down with a piece of paper and a pencil, put it back into my computer, and spit it back out for the workers to work on,” said Murphey.
    Now, they use software that converts that sketch into a usable design.
    “In the past five years, it’s gotten faster and faster,” he said. “It eliminates hours and hours of handwriting, hours and hours of work.”
    Going lean is a true team effort because it means anticipating the needs of employees whose jobs are several steps down the line.
    “Lean really isn’t done in an office meeting. Lean is done by the guys in the field. We ask the guys for feedback all the time — survey, survey, survey… toolbox talks, iPhone surveys — and we implement what they tell us.”
    — Jon Castro, sheet metal department manager, B&I Contractors Fort Meyers, Florida
    “It’s a different approach,” said Murphey. “We’re trying to make it easier for the guys in the field, so I’m always thinking of not just myself but, even though it doesn’t affect me, the best way to ship [ductwork or other materials].”
    B&I has complete and utter buy-in from upper management, Castro said. Company executives understand and see the value for the business as well as for customers. But lean is more than a company policy.
    “Lean really isn’t done in an office meeting,” he said. “Lean is done by the guys in the field. We ask the guys for feedback all the time — survey, survey, survey… toolbox talks, iPhone surveys — and we implement what they tell us.”
    And when someone comes up with a great idea, they’re given a shout-out — like a write-up in the company newsletter.
    “Typically, it’s the apprentices, guys who haven’t been doing it forever, who come up with the most creative solutions,” Castro said. “You want to highlight your guys, make them feel proud for coming up with a great idea. And the more people that are involved in it, the more people see how useful it is and jump aboard.”
    Lean processing has another side benefit: Less wasted time means technicians have more on-the-clock hours available, a major plus in an industry starved for workers.
    “Everyone’s worried about the shortage of manpower,” said Castro. “We’ve been able to meet our scary project schedules with lean processing. Plus, the customer gets it on time and better quality.”
    So far, just a handful of companies in Florida have implemented lean processing, but Castro said the business model is pushing forward in other parts of the country and among some of their larger competitors. It’s a trend B&I is excited to see taking hold.
    “There’s a real open sharing of information with lean companies,” said Murphey. “Iron sharpens iron. And I want to see the cool thing some other company’s doing that will help push us to the next level.”

  7. How to Work Safely in the Summer HEAT

    It’s Getting Hot, Hot, Hot. How to Work Safely in the Sweltering Summer Heat.
    With summer in full swing, it’s that time of year again to talk about the very real and present dangers associated with working in the heat. As with all safety and health hazards, the best game plan is prevention. Knowing the dangers of working in the sun and what to do if you become ill are vital to your health and safety. Each year, more than 65,000 people seek medical treatment for extreme heat exposure. We’ll discuss the most common heat-related illnesses and what to do if you should suffer from any this summer.
    When Are We at Greatest Risk for Heat-Related Sickness?
    The sun has the greatest intensity between the hours of 10:00am and 3:00pm Standard Time, which is also when workers are in the middle of their workday and may be exposed to the sweltering heat. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a fair-skinned person can sunburn in as few as 10-15 minutes. Heat-related illnesses can occur more quickly than you may realize, and symptoms often tend to sneak up on you rather suddenly.
    What Are the Dangers?
    There are four common medical problems caused by heat exposure: heat rash, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
    Heat rash is just what it sounds like: a rash caused by too much heat. The skin becomes irritated by excessive sweating, particularly during humid times when it can’t evaporate well.
    Symptoms & Treatment. It looks like a red cluster of pimples or small blisters and is most commonly found on the neck and upper chest, in the groin, under the breasts and in elbow creases. If possible, move to a cooler environment, at least temporarily. Keep the area dry — do not wash with water unless it is immediately toweled. You can also use a drying powder to soothe some of the feelings of irritation.
    Heat cramps are pains felt in the muscles, often with spasms, and usually in conjunction with strenuous activity. They’re often caused by a depletion of the body’s salt and fluids through excessive sweating, and can also be a symptom of heat exhaustion.
    Symptoms & Treatment. Symptoms include intermittent and involuntary spasms of larger muscles in the body. Stop activity and rest in a cool place. Drink juice or a sports beverage to replace the fluids and salts, but DO NOT take a salt pill unless directed by a doctor. If you are on a low-sodium diet, seek medical attention. Continue resting for several hours after the pain from the cramps goes away—returning to work too soon puts you at serious risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. If the heat cramps do not subside within one hour of resting, seek medical attention.
    Heat exhaustion is the beginning of the body breaking down by being unable to regulate its internal temperature.
    Symptoms & Treatment. Symptoms may include heavy and excessive sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, and fainting. Stop working immediately, get somewhere much cooler or even take a cool shower or bath, and drink cool beverages that are nonalcoholic. If clothing is heavy or tight, change into something lightweight and airy. As with heat cramps, wait several hours after the symptoms subside before returning to work. If the symptoms get worse during treatment, or if they last longer than one hour, seek medical attention. Not treating heat exhaustion can lead to the more severe heat stroke.
    Heat stroke is the most serious of the heat-related illnesses. The body’s temperature regulation system breaks down entirely, and the body is unable to cool itself. Body temperature can rise to 106°F or higher in as little as 10-15 minutes. At that point, vital organs, including the brain, can become damaged. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability without emergency treatment.
    Symptoms & Treatment. There are several warning signs of heat stroke, and not all of them need to be present: an extremely high body temperature (103°F or higher); skin that is red, hot, and dry, without sweating; a strong, fast pulse; a throbbing headache; dizziness; nausea, possibly with vomiting; confusion; and possibly unconsciousness. In the event of a heat stroke, call 911 immediately and do whatever you can to cool the victim’s temperature down as quickly as possible until help arrives.
    Prevention is key. But How?
    Drink water, water and more water. Plenty of fresh water will keep the body hydrated and cool during intense heat. Avoid sugary and caffeinated beverages as these can dehydrate the body. Employees exposed to the sun for prolonged periods of time should also take frequent breaks in the shade, rest, apply sunscreen with at least SPF 15, and wear protective gear when possible. Employers should make sure employees are aware of the threats posed by the heat and know in advance what the heat index is for the day to prepare. The heat index takes both temperature and humidity into account to give a more accurate account of how conditions will affect the body. Once the heat index gets into the 90s and above, threats start getting severe and precautions need to be raised.
    Looking for a helpful tool to track the heat index? There’s an app for that.
    Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) partnered to bring you the OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety tool — a mobile application that gives you real-time heat index and hourly forecasts for your location. This app is helpful for planning outdoor work activities and keeps you in-the-know on the current temperatures and associated risk levels. Compatible with Android and iPhone.
    Additional information
    OSHA has a site dedicated to heat exposure with plenty of important information. It can be found here: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatstress/
    OSHA also provides small business with on-site consultations for free. This is available to businesses with fewer than 250 workers at a site, and with no more than 500 employees nationwide. This is not an enforcement visit, and it will not result in penalties or citations. It merely evaluates conditions and provides information on how to mitigate potential dangers. For more information, call 1-800-321-6742

  8. Drones: Your Preflight Checklist

    Drones: Your Preflight Checklist

    Digitization is having a big impact throughout all aspects of the construction industry. While design has long been digital, the physical world itself has not. Now, drone imagery can digitize the physical world and provide builders with an accurate and up-to-date representation of a project. With this data, construction companies can measure, collaborate, communication, and put good practices in place.

    This comes at an interesting time too—as drones across all industries are beginning to take off. In fact, a report from Allied Market Research suggests the market will continue to grow at a rate of 26.2 percent between 2016 and 2022.

    At the same time, the hardware and software is advancing as well. Today, aircrafts have the ability to fly autonomously, with the help of an embedded program. Drones have new sensing capabilities, smart cameras, and new interfaces. Hybrid drones, those that possess the capabilities of both rotary and fixed wings, are also seeing some new traction.

    All of this can enable greater productivity and insight into projects for workers. Drones can help with risk mitigation, resource planning, research and excavation, urban planning, and so much more.

    Hugh McFall, product marketing manager, 3DR, says that he is seeing more construction customers using drone data to save time and money and to improve collaboration.

    “Put simply, new technologies, including drones and other robotic tools, have quickly become just another tool on the jobsite—and that’s exactly how it should be,” he explains. “Now, many construction professionals are flying drones multiple times per week and using the data—the high-resolution maps and 3D models—as a team to plan the day’s work, identify issues that need to be resolved, share progress updates to their clients, and much more.”

    He adds that this means that every morning project teams are reviewing a high-resolution map and a 3D model of their site, oftentimes captured no longer than a day before.

    This is a stark change from how the construction industry operated even just five years ago. Perhaps the next best step for many considering stepping into the era of adopting drones is to create a checklist of all the steps to ensure positive implementation of the technology initially—and ongoing success for the long run.

    Preflight Checklist

    There are a number of different steps construction companies can take to ensure safe and productive flights of drones on projects.

    Patrick Stuart, senior director of product, web, and mobile, Skycatch, offers this pro tip: the more people on a project who have access to the data, the more they will come up with the value-add uses for it. But here’s the catch: don’t try to figure it all out yourself.

    “The most successful teams have enabled their uses and use cases to develop organically by getting the entire project into the platform,” he explains.

    With that in mind, there are still a few key steps—or better yet a checklist—of things that construction companies can do in order to get the most out of drone technology on a construction jobsite.

    • First, create a corporate or project budget. Stuart suggests that it is important to specifically dedicate resources to adopting new technology. This includes both people and money.
    • Next, create a mission and set goals. He adds to consider having objectives created at the top level of an organization that aim to find a way to use new technology to directly impact the future of the business. This can include things like making bids more competitive, reducing costs, or improving safety. Once it is decided what is going to be accomplished with new technology at a company level, it will ultimately trickle down.
    • Pick a champion. McFall of 3DR says this person will need to lead adopting new technologies and expanding them across project teams. Stuart adds that this should be supported by management to ensure that teams actively seek out and implement new solutions. He points to the examples of Hensel Phelps and DPR that both have corporate councils in each region that try out different technologies and check on a nationwide level to share what they’re testing out and what they’ve learned.
    • Next, implement a preflight checklist for drone pilots to follow. This can include everything from checking the equipment prior to flight to what needs to be done after. This will help them minimize risk, improve documentation, and ensure they are flying safely, according to McFall.
    • For some, the next step is to pick a trial project. This will enable a company to check against objectives and make adjustments as necessary until the implementation of technology is successfully.
    • Then, the final step is to expand to other projects, but use the first as a golden example to ultimately train and establish corporate best practices.

    Putting All the Pieces in Place

    Implementing new emerging technologies on construction projects isn’t an easy task. Even more, it can be challenging to build an in-house drone program and start flying.

    McFall recommends adopting a complete, end-to-end solution, rather than piecing together a mix of software. He also suggests ensuring that it comes with effective training and implementation support from a dedicated customer success team.

    “Having this level of support is crucial because regardless of how easy it’s become to fly a drone, there’s still a lot to consider: airspace regulations, flying safely and effectively, understanding how to analyze, export, and use the data to the fullest,” he explains.

    Still, it is a domino effect. Once the new technology is in place, it will change the way work is being done out at the construction jobsite, creating that reality where every morning project teams are reviewing a high-resolution map and a 3D model of their site, oftentimes captured no longer than a day before.

    “Technology leads to better visibility, which leads to reduced errors, which leads to better cost and schedule, which leaders to a better relationship to the client, which leads to more new business,” concludes Stuart. In the end, everyone wins.

    https://www.conexpoconagg.com/news/drones-your-preflight-checklist/?utm_term=Drones%3A%20Your%20Preflight%20Checklist&utm_campaign=Today%5Cu2019s%20Construction%20%2526%20Tech%20Trends&utm_content=email&utm_source=Act-On+Software&utm_medium=email&cm_mmc=Act-On%20Software-_-email-_-Today%5Cu2019s%20Construction%20%2526%20Tech%20Trends-_-Drones%3A%20Your%20Preflight%20Checklist

  9. Skid Steers: The Workhorse

    Skid Steers: The Workhorse of the Jobsite

    As equipment prices rise, some construction companies are looking at skid steers as the go-to-equipment to help get the job done, as it is compact, productive, and can easily migrate from one jobsite to the next. Combine this with the fact that attachments are growing in popularity, and these machines are quickly becoming the workhorse of the construction jobsite.

    Skid steer loaders are used to perform various tasks at construction and mining sites. One of the major driving factors in the market is flexibility of skid steer loaders.

    “The versatility of skid steers continues to grow with hydraulic and non-hydraulic attachments,” explains Jorge De Hoyos, senior product manager, skid steers and compact track loaders, Kubota. “At Kubota, we’ve seen growth in attachments as multiplier in the workforce.”

    He points to the recent launch of Kubota branded attachments as evidence that it believes customers are investing more in hydraulic and non-hydraulic attachments for skid steers to minimize their purchases of other dedicated equipment, which can be done by attachments.

    “We have tripled the number of skid steer and compact track loader attachments over the last two years,” explains De Hoyos.

    He even suggests that investing in the right skid steer, combined with the correct mix of attachments, will minimize the need to purchase other dedicated equipment, boosting productivity and profit margins.

    Still, sales of skid steers will likely remain flat, as the number of attachments sold will increase exponentially. “Users are enjoying the versatility of skid steers given the increase of attachments and the increases in hydraulic horsepower.”

    These trends are also in line with recent research. According to the market research report compiled by Fact.MR, high initial investment to own skid steer loaders is restricting the market growth. However, vendors are providing financing options to increase the sale, and this also results in the minimum impact on the budget of companies to own the equipment.

    Vertical lift skid steer loaders are anticipated to witness growth throughout the forecast period, while skid steer loaders with 65-80 HP of engine power are expected to be preferred.

    Technological & Operational Advances for Skid Steers

    Increasing operator comfort, providing larger skid steer loaders, providing high lift capability, and offering units with vertical-lift are some of the focus areas in the development of skid steer loaders today.

    De Hoyos explains that in addition to power and efficiency, operator comfort has been at the forefront of innovation and design during the last five years.

    He points to Kubota’s rollup door on the skid steers, which are unique in that they can be locked in the open position so that the operator can continue to operate without removing and storing the door. Additionally, the door can be opened at any point of loader arm travel.

    Another growing trend is the technological advances that are now available on the equipment. Even just five years ago, skid steers were very mechanical in nature and more physical to operate, explains Gregg Zupancic, product marketing manager, skid steers and compact track loaders, John Deere Construction & Forestry.

    However, today, the equipment has evolved rapidly, as they have joy stick controls, are ergonomic, and have electrohydraulic (EH) controls. Zupancic explains that with controls, wires run to the hydraulic system and the software and programming tell the machine how to function based on the input.

    Earlier this year, the company announced the new John Deere G-Series mid-frame skid steers and compact track loader. Flexible control choices allow contractors to choose between standard manual foot and hand controls, EH ISO joystick controls switchable between ISO- and H-patterns, and performance package options for adjusting drive system response, boom and bucket speeds, or for setting creep mode on demand.

    Additionally, 4G JDLink Ultimate machine monitoring provides real-time data and health prognostics to suggest maintenance solutions that decrease costly downtime and protect against machine theft. Remote diagnostics enable a dealer to read codes, record performance data, and even update software without a trip to the jobsite.

    Going forward, Zupancic says the equipment will continue to advance even further. For example, there will be more grade control systems from companies like Trimble and Topcon Positioning Systems.

    These advances, and others, are changing how work is done at the construction jobsite today—and will continue to reinvent projects in the future.

    Zupancic says one of the biggest ways it is doing this is by taking away the physical nature of manually operating a machine, increasing productivity and safety.

    “A beginner operator can be more proficient with these features,” he explains. “A good operator can become great and a new operator can become more productive and safe.”

    For new operators just getting started with the equipment, he recommends familiarizing yourself with the manual and signing up for local union programs to learn how they function. He also urges the importance of safety and doing a daily walk around at the beginning of a project to check air pressure, fluids, filters, belts, and more.

    However, in the end skid steers can help diversify a business, providing good value and return on investment (ROI) to construction companies.

    De Hoyos says while many users are migrating to compact track loaders, skid steers still have a place in the workforce. “The choice may not be as application driven as it was before because the surface and conditions may dictate a wheel machine rather than a track machine. Remember that the attachments, are, for the most part, universal for both product lines.”

  10. Low-Emission Engines

    Low-Emission Engines for Construction

    For machine operators, generous torque is critical, as it provides low revs, prompt response, low fuel consumption, low life cycle costs, low power-to-weight ratio, and so much more. Now, low-emissions industrial engines are more often being used to power equipment.

    Such is the case with a new partnership between Scania and Kobelco Construction Machinery. Scania’s engines will power Kobelco’s new models of the 300t hydraulic crawler cranes. More specifically, it will supply 13-litre low-emission industrial engines for use in crawler cranes with a lifting capacity of 300 metric tons. The first product will be launched in the United States—and then worldwide.

    Scania’s 13-litre 331kW industrial engine meets the Stage IV/Tier4 final/Japan H26 emission standards without the need for a particulate filter. Customers in countries with emission standards will benefit from the low-emission engines.

    While this is one example, the trend lately is toward more low-emission engines for the construction industry. Fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions are becoming major drivers in the development of more advanced, energy-efficient internal combustion engines.

    At the same time, new technologies, as well as improvements to existing technologies, are required for diesel engines.

    The Diesel Technology Forum suggests diesel technology can help reduce petroleum consumption as well as greenhouse gas emissions. It indicates that it also provides a platform for other alternative technologies such as hybridization and the use of biofuels.

    At the end of the day, clean diesel and low-emission industrial engines can lead to a cleaner environment and a stronger economy.

    http://www.conexpoconagg.com/news/april-2018/low-emission-engines-for-construction/?utm_term=Low-Emission%20Engines%20for%20Construction&utm_campaign=Today%5Cu2019s%20Construction%20%2526%20Tech%20Trends&utm_content=email&utm_source=Act-On+Software&utm_medium=email&cm_mmc=Act-On%20Software-_-email-_-Today%5Cu2019s%20Construction%20%2526%20Tech%20Trends-_-Low-Emission%20Engines%20for%20Construction