Construction Safety: Talking the Talk

construction safety

Maybe the most important aspect of promoting construction safety on the jobsite is encouraging proactivity. The construction industry was primarily (and still is) developed and staffed by men. And real men keep their mouths shut, right?

Wrong. It’s time to say something when you see a potential safety hazard. If a co-worker is doing something dangerous, it’s your business. Construction safety is everybody’s business.

Seven Tips for Construction Safety Toolbox Talks

Toolbox talks are informal gatherings at which construction safety is the main topic. The leader should ensure the atmosphere is such that workers feel comfortable enough to comment or ask questions.

Here are seven tips for leading construction safety toolbox talks:

  1. Choose a Good Location – Find a quiet, low-traffic area onsite.
  2. Don’t Forget Health – Health isn’t an oh-by-the-way topic. It has a significant outcome on safety. Perhaps alternate health-and-safety topics; every other gathering, make health the focal point.
  3. Keep It Short/Simple – Your timeframe goal is 15 minutes. If it runs longer because attendees have questions and issues, allow time for those that need it and let others feel free to return to work. Stay on-topic – construction safety. Don’t use the time for other information or issues.
  4. Reinforce a Safety Culture – Encourage workers to express ideas for and concerns about jobsite safety. And if they see a red flag, speak up. On a construction worksite, silence isn’t golden. It can be deadly, in fact.
  5. Strive for Relevance – If scaffolding work is scheduled for that day, talk about safety measures for working heights.
  6. Take Attendance – Make note of attendees and document attendance.
  7. Use Visuals – If possible, adding visual media adds impact to your message.

Summer 2021 may prove to be a banner season for the construction industry. Right now, we have the fourth-highest unemployment rate, but look for that to change this summer. 

Our priority at Construction Monitor is to provide information you can use. Time management, efficiency, business development – those are topics we can speak to. Contact us for more information you can use.

And as you head into what may be one of the busiest seasons in recent history, make construction safety a topic you can speak to.

Stand Down To Prevent Falls: Construction Safety 2021

construction safety

May 3-7, 2021, was the 8th annual National Safety Stand-Down To Prevent Falls in Construction. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) promotes this week to encourage construction safety 24/7 all year, every year.

Falls are the greatest challenge to construction safety. Injuries dramatically impact workers’ lives. But families and businesses also suffer when there’s a fall-related accident.

Employers are responsible for providing safe workplaces. We also have a responsibility to provide safety education to employees at every project site. OSHA’s function is to set safety standards and guidelines for workplace safety.

What You Can Do To Promote Construction Safety

In addition to reducing fall hazards and providing safety information, another valuable measure to increase construction safety is to encourage workers to report any fall or other safety risks they see. A Safety Stand-Down is an opportunity and not an obligation because most of us feel responsible for employee safety.

Who Participates In a Safety Stand-Down?

Project managers can take advantage of this opportunity to discuss project-specific hazards and risks. It’s also a good time to document rescue plans.

Construction safety programs or “toolbox talks” can be sponsored or supported by:

  • Construction companies of every size
  • Employee interest organizations
  • General industry employers
  • Government entities
  • Highway construction companies
  • Industry institutes
  • Safety equipment manufacturers
  • Sub-/independent contractors
  • Trade associations
  • Unions

Go to the Stop-Falls Events site to learn where and when programs are available in your region or contact your regional manager. If your company has developed a fall-prevention program, needs additional information, or has suggestions, you can email oshastanddown@dol.gov or access social media sites with #StandDown4Safety.

Construction Monitor genuinely cares about on-the-job safety. If you have safety-related information we should share with construction employers or other industry-related businesses, please email Construction Monitor and we’ll promptly reply.

Building Permit Data Management

You can process large amounts of permit data through Construction Monitor’s API or automated weekly data dumps via secure FTP. To learn more, call 800-925-6085 (international 435-586-1205) or contact us.

Falls Remain Biggest Challenge to Construction Safety

construction safety

One new technology is believed to go a long way to increase construction safety. A long way up, that is. Recently, two skyscraper building projects used enhanced cocoon robotic technology to make their projects safer and faster.

A “robot” that hydraulically scales the side of a high-rise building drops walkways for workers. As workers complete the steel framework for each level, the walkways provide stability and serve as a construction safety device. After several floors have been steel-structured, the machine retracts the walkways and begins its upward trek again, leaving new walkways for workers.

Cocoon Technology Rises to the Next Level

The Self-Climbing Kokoon® can climb two floors (27´) in four hours. As its name implies, it’s completely self-climbing and no operators or additional equipment is needed for operation. It has its own built-in generator.

“Self-Climbing Kokoon provides the highest level of protection on the market,” says Italian engineering firm Despe S.p.A.

Self-Climbing Kokoon was designed to:

  • Add 35 sq. ft. of additional usable space for a building with a 700´ perimeter (and 47 square feet of advertising space)
  • Enhance access to construction operations
  • Free up your crane for other work
  • Improve construction accuracy
  • Keep workers safe
  • Offer easy access to tools, equipment, and storage
  • Prevent objects from falling
  • Provide complete perimeter protection and perform steel erection operations inside a protective cocoon
  • Save time

In Dubai, a skyscraper project used this technology to make elevator installation work easier. The device drilled holes to set anchor bolts for the elevator guide rails and landing doors.

Marketing Management With Construction Monitor

The marketing professionals at Construction Monitor believe sharing any information that promotes construction safety is helpful. We want to also improve your company’s health. Ask us how to structure a marketing plan using our building permit data and technology tools.

Call 800-925-6085 (international 435-586-1205) or contact us for more information.

Construction Safety Checklist

construction safety checklist

The American National Standards Institute and the American Society of Safety Professionals (ANSI/ASSP) revised the A10 Construction and Demolition Operations standards in addition to Fall Protection and Restraint (Z359) guidelines. We should follow their construction safety protocols.

The 2020 construction safety standards revisions were chaired by Richard Hislop. “This is more than putting a cover over a hole or placing a barricade around a hazard. This is about creating a process to manage safety.”

Basic Checklist for Construction Safety

Construction safety policies’ importance can’t be over-emphasized. Construction safety should be owned by everyone in the industry and on the job.

To download the complete form, go to Get the Checklist. Some of its project construction safety tips include:

  1. Appoint a safety/health supervisor.
  2. Develop a health/safety plan and communicate it to employees.
  3. Ensure employees are trained/aware of hazards/controls, safety/health rules required by the project-specific safety and health plan.
  4. Ensure compliance with ANSI/ASSP A10.33-2020; hazardous conditions are promptly abated.
  5. Provide employees with personal protective equipment. Ensure they are trained in its use.
  6. Train employees to safely operate machinery, tools, vehicles, and equipment.
  7. Notify workers they must be fit for duty/free from impairment from medications, illegal substances/alcohol. Assess fitness for duty before each shift.
  8. Recommend appropriate discipline if employees violate safety/health rules and provide recognition for employees who achieve safety and health goals and demonstrate valuable health and safety behaviors.
  9. Conduct/manage daily safety/health inspections. Document/correct hazardous conditions.
  10. Inspect machinery/tools, vehicles/equipment before use at the beginning of each shift to ensure they are free from hazards.
  11. Ensure workers report injuries and have access to first aid supplies.
  12. Document all work-related injuries/illnesses/near misses. Investigate/implement preventive construction safety measures.
  13. Train workers in the emergency action plan (evacuation, etc.)
  14. Stop work if imminent danger is present.
  15. Ensure employees have access to water/bathrooms.

Construction Monitor Increases Profits With Building Permit Data

You’re already managing pandemic protocols to keep workers safe. Hopefully, that’s a temporary process. But our industry’s drive to promote project safety will continue forever.

Make this the year you build your reputation for construction safety; you’ll become the company talented recruits want to join.

Construction Monitor helps companies like yours build business. And we genuinely care about your marketing outcomes. Let us know how building permits have increased your profits. And if you don’t know how to use building permit data, ask us.

Keeping Construction Equipment Cool in Hot Weather

construction equipment

It’s going to be warmer than usual throughout much of the U.S. this summer. In your continuing efforts to keep jobsite workers safe and cool, don’t neglect your construction equipment. Machinery downtime can cost.

Construction Equipment Maintenance is Vital to Our Industry

OSHA says the construction industry leads in workplace-related injuries and deaths. Many accidents are caused by equipment malfunctions that could be avoided.

It’s never too late to begin calendaring construction equipment maintenance. Review manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations. Reconstruct past maintenance for older construction equipment as you begin a new schedule. As always, when red flags are raised or regulatory agencies review a project, conscientious bookkeeping prevails. It’s proven diligence for construction companies.

  • Coolants/antifreeze levels – Improper balance can lead to problems with other fluid systems and cause inhibitors to precipitate out. This can lead to greater degradation of metal components.
  • Masonry – Hot-weather mortar work and bricklaying present special challenges. Knowledgeable, professional contractors are required; masonry pros should follow ACI 530.1-92/ASCE 6-92/TMS 602-92 Specifications for Masonry Structures.
  • Overworking can cause breakdowns – Construction workers can suffer job-related exhaustion. Your construction equipment can too. Review and post machinery limitations so all operators are aware. Breakdowns caused by overusing construction equipment can void warranties.
  • Proper storage – Groups of bored preteens see construction sites as amusement parks full of rides. Remove all keys and when possible, store equipment in a dry, covered area. Just a little dew can corrode and rust equipment systems. It also takes a toll on operating efficiency.
  • Take the time to save money – It’s tempting to add a bit of overtime to finish a job quicker. (We tell ourselves we can sleep later.) But equipment failures can cost more and waste greater time than bringing the job in under-schedule.
  • Use the right tools – Construction employees are creative. But when we modify or juryrig equipment to make-do, it can cause problems. Encourage project workers to use the right equipment for the right job and to avoid mix-and-matching accessories.

Increased use of technology is driving our industry. Contact Construction Monitor for ways to save money using lead-generating construction data.

…And keep it cool this summer.

Construction Safety Tips for 2020

construction safety tips

The COVID-19 pandemic will continue to pose cross-contamination and exposure risks for the construction industry (indeed, every industry) for potentially years to come. Construction supervisors and owner/operators will need to provide education that defines new workplace safety standards for the remainder of 2020. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has released its construction safety tips and guidelines for post-coronavirus:

COVID-19 Guidance for the Construction Workforce

  1. Discourage space invaders – Encourage workers to avoid physical contact and maintain 6-foot distancing where possible. This includes inside jobsite trailers.
  2. Encourage workers to report any safety and health concerns immediately.
  3. Face-to-face meetings – Keep jobsite meetings short and reinforce distancing practices.
  4. Keep cool – Offer shaded rest areas, plenty of water stations, and switch to nighttime work shifts if dangerously hot days pose serious health risks.
  5. Masking – Mask-wearing may be recommended but mandates are unlikely to be enforceable. Allow workers to wear masks or not unless based on community/legal requirements.
  6. Portable toilet sanitation – Construction jobsite toilet cleaning and disinfection should be increased and hand sanitizers provided. Hand sanitizers should be refilled/replaced frequently.
  7. PPE – Personal protective equipment should be used when needed, as always. Provide training in proper PPE use.
  8. Promote personal hygiene and “respiratory etiquette” – Coughs and sneezes should always be covered. If access to soap and water is limited, provide hand-sanitizer stations throughout the jobsite.
  9. Put it in writing – Construction safety diligence will be more important than ever before. Be able to show documentation that construction safety training has been completed by all workers. Document instances of best-efforts in reducing cross-contamination and disease exposure risks. Record days/times workers left the job due to illness.
  10. Use EPA-approved cleaning products – Cleaning products should meet standards for SARS-CoV-2. Alcohol-based wipes should be used on shared tools before/after use (while following manufacturer instructions for cleaning).
  11. Workaholics are no longer jobsite super-heroes – Reinforce policies to discourage workers to stay home if they are sick.

Construction Monitor LLC increases the efficiency for thousands of construction industry-related companies nationwide. To learn more about our technology tools and strategic partnerships, contact Construction Monitor today.

Important Points in the 2016 Safe Pipes Act

pipeline constructionHigh safety standards in construction don’t just protect building occupants, they also help protect the natural environment around us. The “Safe Pipes” Act, developed to protect the Great Lakes from fuel spills, is a good example of this.

Improved Planning for Pipeline Safety

This summer, President Obama signed the Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act of 2016, or PIPES Act, into law.

This act will keep the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) for oil and gas transportation safety working through 2019, while also expanding the administration’s duties.

The act has given the Great Lakes the designation of “unusually sensitive area,” so that transportation of hazardous materials in the area will be subject to higher safety standards. In addition, the Secretary of Transportation, who heads the PHMSA, will now have the power to issue emergency orders for management of the pipelines in the event of an incident that suggests a threat to public health or the environment.

The PHMSA will also be required to develop regulations for the safe construction and operation of underground facilities that store natural gas.

Aging pipes and related equipment were also taken into account. The act requires the Government Accountability Office, an independent, nonpartisan watchdog agency, to review and report on risks related to the pipelines’ age and condition.

Addressing Current Threats

As production of natural gas has grown throughout the country, so too have the problems related to transporting it. Canadian Energy firm Enbridge’s “Line 5” in particular has raised concerns. This decades-old line now carries thousands of barrels of crude oil, as well as natural gas, though the ecologically sensitive Straits of Mackinac daily.

Due to the large amount of water that flows through the Straits of Mackinac, a gas or oil spill here could have disastrous consequences for the Great Lakes and surrounding towns.

Provisions in the “Safe Pipes” act were designed to prevent potential disasters like this and mitigate the effects of any accident that does occur.

To keep up-to-date on safety standards in construction, contact us at Construction Monitor.

Understanding the Dangers of Silica Dust

silica dustBecause silica dust is nearly ubiquitous on construction sites, it’s easy to underestimate the threat it poses. By practicing conscientious silica dust safety, though, you can greatly mitigate risks of exposure without slowing down your workflow.

A Common, Yet Invisible Threat

Silica, also called quartz, is found in many construction materials, including sand, many types of rock, brick, mortar, tile, grout, drywall and asphalt. Your workers create silica dust when they cut, grind or otherwise process any of these materials.

Silica dust particles are too small to see, yet it takes only a small amount to cause health problems. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations set acceptable exposure levels at just 0.1 mg/m3.

Breathing this dust can lead to a condition known as silicosis, in which scarring occurs in the lungs and breathing becomes difficult. The condition is disabling and can be fatal.

Symptoms usually appear only after long-term exposure, but once they start, the disease will inevitably progress. There’s currently no cure. Despite the known risks, thousands of new silicosis cases are diagnosed in the U.S. every year. Silica dust is also a known carcinogen, contributing to lung cancer.

Protection for Your Workers

Good silica dust safety practices can save your workers’ lives, and these practices are neither difficult nor expensive to implement. On every project, identify all materials and tasks that could lead to silica dust exposure and devise a plan to minimize this exposure.

Use equipment with built-in dust control features, such as vacuums or water sprays, to hold down dust. Provide respirators when necessary. Designate areas for resting, eating and drinking that are away from anywhere dust is produced. Encourage workers to practice good hygiene by changing into washable or disposable work wear, showering (or at least changing into clean clothes) before going home, and parking their cars away from dusty areas.

Another option is to reduce your reliance on materials containing silica, such as by switching to aluminum oxide or silicon carbide instead of sand for abrasive blasting.

To learn more about effective silica dust safety practices, contact Construction Monitor.

Maryland Seeks to Raise Safety Standards in Construction

Construction work is well-known as being a dangerous, potentially fatal occupation. In 2016, the state of Maryland is seeking to improve construction safety in an effort to benefit workers, managers, construction companies and building owners.

safety standards in constructionReforming Maryland’s Construction Industry

A number of safety-related bills are under consideration during Maryland’s 2016 legislative session. One of the more important is HB 977, introduced by Cheryl D. Glenn (D-Baltimore). This bill “would make serious reforms to Maryland’s construction industry,” noted reporters Emily A. Gardner and Michael Belcher, writing in the Washington Post.

Maryland’s process for screening potential companies for public works construction contracts currently requires assessment of past performance, bonding and legal proceedings, according to Gardner and Belcher. Safety records or existing worksite safety plans are not considered when evaluating a company for public construction contracts.

The Proposition for Safety

The reforms proposed by HB 977 would change the current procedures to include consideration of  a company’s safety status. For example, each company bidding on a public project would be required to have sufficient health and safety plans to ensure employee safety on the job.

In addition, each company submitting bids would have to include a sworn statement of commitment to safety on each project, reported Gardner and Belcher. The contractor’s safety plan would also have to be included with the bid. After evaluation of the plan the state would then make suggestions for additional health and safety measures to be implemented on the construction site.

This proposed legislation comes as a way to improve safety standards in construction in Maryland and elsewhere. In 2014, there were 16 construction-related fatalities in the state of Maryland, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS further reports that there were about 4,000 construction-related injuries in 2014, with some 2,400 of those injuries requiring time off, changes in duties during recovery, or transfers to entirely new positions.

Construction Monitor helps builders, owners and other professionals stay up-to-date on the most recent developments throughout the industry. Contact us today for more information on safety standards in construction and how evolving standards will affect your company and your employees.

Top Tips for Preventing Construction Site Theft

Preventing construction site theft will not only save you thousands of dollars, but also protect you from delays caused by missing materials and equipment, and the hassle of replacing your losses. The most effective theft-prevention methods are some of the simplest.

preventing construction site theftKnow that everything is a potential target – Copper pipes and lumber aren’t the only items thieves are eyeing. Don’t assume something won’t be stolen just because it isn’t highly valuable or it’s difficult to move. Securing not only power tools and heavy equipment, but also tile, cables and other less expensive material goes a long way toward preventing construction site theft.

Light the premises well – Your after-hours lighting should cast even illumination over the whole area, leaving no shadows for thieves to hide in. To save energy, use low-wattage lighting connected to motion sensors. Even a soft glow draws attention to suspicious activity and a light that suddenly turns on is often enough to scare away a would-be thief.

Have material delivered just in time – The sight of valuable material lying around your construction zone attracts attention from those looking for something to steal. The longer you store those materials on site, the more time thieves have to make off with them. Schedule materials to be delivered as needed and keep detailed inventory records so you notice if something goes missing.

Lock up everything – Place materials and tools in heavy-duty sheds secured with a combination of a mortise lock and a high-security hasp with a strong padlock. A simple padlock alone offers little security. Use wheel locks or immobilizers on movable equipment to make it harder to drive them away unauthorized. Secure the site’s perimeter with fencing, high-quality locks and alarms.

Get to know the neighbors – Introduce yourself to neighboring home and business owners and take time for the occasional chat. The better your rapport with them, the more likely they are to look out for your property and alert authorities when necessary. Being neighborly also cuts down on noise and dust complaints.

For more experienced-based tips on preventing construction site theft, contact us at Construction Monitor.