Erosion is one of the top issues facing the construction industry today. The Department of Agriculture estimates one billion tons of topsoil are lost each year due to erosion. This issue not only causes topsoil to be displaced, but it also is the culprit for clogging waterways and damaging adjacent properties.
Erosion can be caused by many variables and each situation will most likely have a different solution. Here are seven ways to help prevent erosion on your next construction project.
1) Observe the Site
When starting a new project, it is imperative to observe the site’s slopes for any potential problems. Also, take a look at any adjacent sites to see how your project will affect that area, as well. It is ideal if you can observe the site while it is raining in order to plan accordingly.
2) Divert or Slow the Water
Water and wind are the main offenders when it comes to erosion. Before beginning construction, come up with a plan to divert or slow the movement of water. Controlling runoff waters effectively will reduce erosions and sediment issues on your construction site.
3) Don’t Disturb
Disturb the area as little as possible. Only excavate a small section at a time to reduce the risk of remediation. Even though it may take a little more time, the potential costs of erosion could end up costing you more in the long run.
4) Ground Covers
As soon as excavation is complete, it is essential to create a ground cover to help minimize erosion. The faster you can get your ground cover growing, the less erosion is possible. Check with the landscaper to see about any specified seed species to use. If seeding is not an option, plastic sheeting is helpful in shielding the soil from rain and wind. Plastic sheeting is only effective in small areas, however, and can do more damage if used in large areas.
5) Mobile Grinders & Chippers
If you are removing trees from the construction site, bring a mobile grinder or chipper to make mulch. This ground-up material works wonders as an erosion aide. This material can also be used for temporary roads and ground cover. You can use this mulch for slope stabilization or save it to blend with the soil for landscaping towards the end of the project.
6) Sediment Control
Sediment is the soil which is dislodged by water flow. Once the sediment is in fluid motion, it becomes difficult to collect and further exasperates erosion. Silt fencing, filter socks, and straw wattles are all commonly used to catch and control sediment. These control methods are not designed to handle high water pressure, so do not install them across waterways, ditches, or other areas of concentrated water flow.
7) Inflatable Dams
More and more contractors are turning to inflatable water dams for dewatering needs and erosion control. They are cost effective and cheaper than traditional methods of sandbags and earthen dams. They are easy to install in both moving and still water and conforms to the boundary of any site, providing a seal that prevents the passage of water on your worksite.
In fact, federal regulations and other applicable laws require you to have an erosion control plan to prevent soil and water from affecting other areas and bodies of water.
To learn more about how you can prevent erosion on your construction site, Contact Us.
Worker safety is critical to running a successful construction operation. Beyond regulatory compliance, your workers are a critical component of each project completion. Their skills, morale, and well-being play a major role in the quality and efficiency of your final product.
Construction Safety – The Basics
While safety in construction covers a range of topics, there are a few essential areas to consider. Your baseline for employee and worker safety is the regulations and safety guidelines lined out by OSHA and all other regulatory agencies. This is a minimum, however, and does not guarantee maximum safety for your workers. To achieve maximum safety, it will take a little more research and preparation. Get started with the following quick guide:
1) Tool Maintenance
Incidents with tools are a common source of worker injuries. Worn and broken tools eventually fail, causing serious and sometimes fatal injury. Implement and maintain a tool maintenance schedule which includes regular inspections. That way, you will find problematic tools as early on as possible. Repair or replace all worn and broken tools immediately.
2) Heavy Equipment
Getting on and off heavy equipment is another common source of worker injury. Make sure your workers are wearing proper footwear and gloves with high grip when using heavy equipment. Train them to check their boots and gloves before climbing and to clean off the mud. Look for the largest size holds for both hands and feet. If needed, use a step ladder. Don’t carry anything while climbing.
3) Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Make sure all your workers have and use all appropriate personal protective equipment. Back braces for lifting heavy objects, protective eyewear, gloves, appropriate footwear, and safety harnesses are all essential to keep on hand for each worker according to the jobs and tasks they perform.
4) Safe Loading and Unloading
Loading and unloading heavy equipment and other items is another common cause of serious worker injury. Injuries from equipment rolling over and improper lifting techniques occur frequently. Use straight ramps cleared off all objects and debris. Always leave sufficient space between the equipment and all workers in case of emergency. Train your workers in proper loading and unloading procedures to lessen the chance for serious injury.
5) Construction in Water
Construction in water presents many opportunities for danger and injury. Ensure all your workers are equipped with proper tools, safety gear, and hazard training. Consider using an inflatable bladder dam as your dewatering solution to maximize safety and efficiency.
Construction safety is essential for numerous reasons. At the end of the day, you are required by law to meet all regulatory safety requirements. Beyond that, however, when your workers feel safe, morale is higher, productivity is increased, and overall output is generally of higher quality. Safety must remain priority #1 Give your workers the best chance of success by providing, the safest, most productive environment possible.
To learn more about the use of inflatable bladder dams to increase worker safety and productivity, Contact Us.
Many industries experience different business cycles and construction is no different. As the temperatures begin to dip into the holiday months, construction projects tend to slow down. It’s important to make the most out of these slower months, however. It’s a great time to get ready for the new year.
Winter in Construction: Keeping it Hot Even When It’s Cold Out
Your major outdoor projects may be slowing down as the temperatures drop, but that doesn’t mean you need to. Take advantage of these slower months and focus on keeping your business moving forward. Get started with the following guide:
1) Look for Indoor Jobs
Interior remodeling is popular during the winter months. Focus on “interiorscaping” with things like painting, flooring, cabinetry, and lighting. Winter is especially ideal for interior painting in areas where it’s still warm enough to keep the windows open. Paint does well in cooler weather in places like the south. Be sure to involve your customers in their indoor renovations. If business is a bit slower, it’s a great time to give each project a little special attention and focus on your client relationships.
2) Hold Classes and Events
You can also use the slower months to enhance your image and credibility by hosting classes and events to share your professional knowledge and experience. The classes and events could supplement your winter income AND bring you new referrals and clientele. Look into teaching a class at a local college or for industry newcomers. Hold an event to educate consumers about popular DIY projects. Plan some open houses for consumers, brokers, and agents. And finally, attend local networking events.
3) Check In With Past Customers
Your biggest opportunity lies within your existing clientele. Your reputation is already established and your past customers know you and your work. Review your records and look for opportunities for new work. For example, maybe you updated a kitchen or bathroom over the summer, and they could use new lighting or cabinets this winter. Don’t forget to ask your satisfied customers for referrals, testimonials, and positive reviews online.
4) Meet With Your Accountant
As many people, you may only think of your accountant around tax time or concerning tax issues. For this reason, they are often an extremely underutilized resource, as their knowledge covers many other areas beyond taxes. Winter is the perfect time to let your accountant analyze and streamline other areas in your business. Work with your accountant to cut unnecessary expenses and build in a financial cushion for your business. Analyze trends in your data to develop goals and action plans for the new year. Assess the current value of your business and explore options to increase your value. Your accountant is capable of even more than this. Schedule a meeting to simply go over all the ways he or she could benefit your business and determine where you want to begin.
5) Offer Seasonal Discounts
Seasonal discounts are a cultural expectation clients always look forward to. They’re a great way to reward existing and previous clients while attracting new customers. Be careful to not let discounts and specials eat away all of your winter profits. Add some urgency to your advertising. Let consumers know it’s a limited time offer they may miss if they don’t act soon.
6) Focus on Marketing
Your busiest months likely push marketing way off your radar. When business slows, however, it’s a great time to refocus your marketing to help line up business for the new year. Focus on increasing and enhancing your social media presence and refreshing or updating all your existing pages. Winter is a great time to develop an email marketing strategy like a monthly newsletter for the new year. Run ads in all your local media outlets. Focus on gathering testimonials and reviews for your website and social media pages.
7) Catch Up on Maintenance
It’s hard to stay on top of equipment and tool maintenance and repairs during your busy months. It’s easy for things to slip in the cracks. Take some time during the winter months to catch up on all your routine maintenance. Examine all your equipment and tools and look for items that need to be replaced or repaired. When all your existing equipment is taken care of, evaluate the equipment needs for the upcoming year. If you’re in an area with heavy snowfall, consider investing in an inflatable bladder dam to protect your equipment and job sites from snowmelt flooding.
Don’t Let the Cooler Weather Slow You Down
No matter what industry you’re in, it’s vital to your continued success to make the most of your time. This is especially true in the construction industry when it comes to the winter months. Don’t let the slowing projects slow your business down. Get started making the most of your time with this winter construction guide.
To learn more about flood protection and dewatering solutions, Contact Us.
November is almost upon us again and that means winter weather is on its way. The general forecast for this winter is much colder than our previous winter but no colder than usual. Much of the northern US will see milder than normal temperatures while most of the South and West will be a bit cooler than normal.
Winter Weather Predictions for November 2017 through March 2018
It’s good to be prepared for the coming winter season. Whether in construction, oil pipeline work, or in your personal life, it’s good to have an idea of what to expect.
Cold and Snowy Winter for the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic
Winter this year for the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic is expected to be quite a bit colder than last winter, but not any colder than usual. Temperatures in the northern US are expected to be milder than average while the south and west will be mostly cooler. The precipitation levels will be above normal. Snowfall in portions of the Northeast, Intermountain region, central Plains, central Great Lakes, and eastern Tennessee to New Mexico are expected to be above normal yielding a good ski season for the Northeast.
Frigid and Dry for the Northern Plains
The Northern Plains will experience regular sub-zero levels, at times plummeting as low as -30 degrees F in the Dakotas. The recent drought trend in this region is expected to continue. States in this region will experience significantly less snowfall and overall drier conditions.
Both Dry and Cold in the Upper Midwest
Ranging eastward into the Midwest the weather is expected to remain both dry and cold. The eastern Corn Belt should experience more snow and ice than normal.
Severe in the Southeast, Tennessee Valley
Florida and Georgia will experience above normal temperatures, while Florida will be mostly dry. The Tennessee Valley into northeast Texas will see colder weather and some ice storms with increased tornado activity in February.
Snowfall in Northwest, Rockies
The Northwest and Rockies will receive abundant precipitation. La Niña is expected to be weak this year, so winter storms in the north are expected to be mild. However, snowfall is expected to be above normal.
Temperatures Up and Down for the Southern Plains
Some areas, such as Southwest Texas, will experience above normal temperatures while others will enjoy cooler temperatures. Expect freezes in late January along with dry periods and stormy weather. Storms expected in Northwest and Southwest Texas, but not more than normal.
Mildly Snowy and Wet in California, the Southwest
Central and northern California expected to be mildly snowy and wet. The Southwest is expected to see temperatures in the 90’s in early 2018.
El Niño Unlikely
There are currently no active patterns for El Niño or La Niña for this winter. This typically means we can expect neutral conditions in the Northern Hemisphere.
Snowmelt Flooding: Winter’s Last Hazard
If you’re in an area with typically heavy snowfall, as the temperatures begin to rise again a common dangerous occurrence is snowmelt flooding. As the snow melts, the ground is too saturated to absorb any more and it begins to run back to the streams, rivers, and lakes. However, the excess water causes flooding. Protect your property and job sites now by investing in an inflatable bladder dam.
Preparing for Winter
Whether your personal property or construction job sites, it’s important to take measures to prepare for the winter weather. Use this guide to this year’s winter weather predictions to get started. Be safe and keep warm.
To learn more about protecting your property and job site with inflatable bladder dams, Contact Us.
Winter is almost upon us again and with winter comes winter storms and snow in many areas. If you have projects in areas where it snows, this means it’s time to begin preparations to protect your employees and projects. Cold weather takes a toll on your body, especially when you factor in wind chill. It’s important to take the necessary precautions.
7 Important Winter Storm Preparation Tips
Cold weather, snow, and ice slow down the human body and cause project delays, challenges, and worksite hazards. While you can’t prevent every delay and storm, worker safety is essential. Give your workers the comfort of knowing you’re protecting their safety with following winter preparation tips:
1) Minimize exposure to freezing temperatures
While workers who are unaccustomed to working in freezing temperatures are the most susceptible to the health hazards of cold weather, the extreme cold affects everyone. From hypothermia and frostbite to damaged blood vessels, the potential risks are serious to severe. If there is work that that’s impossible to reschedule, which is inevitable, provide your employees with warming stations and warm beverages.
2) Prevent icy slips
Require footwear with adequate traction to reduce the risk of slipping on icy surfaces. Encourage your employees and workers to also take shorter, slower steps to help maintain balance in slippery conditions.
3) Remove snow and ice safely
Construction is dangerous enough under normal conditions without the additional hazards of snow and ice. Remove all ice and snow before beginning work and place salt or sand on large patches of ice. Cold temperatures constrict arteries which increases the risk of heart attack. For this reason, no one with existing heart attack risk factors should be involved in snow shoveling.
4) Train workers on winter illnesses and injuries
Knowing the symptoms and warning signs of cold-related illnesses and injuries is essential to keeping your workers safe. Train your workers to identify these symptoms and warning signs in themselves and in each other and to call for emergency help right away. Provide information and resources to your employees such as OSHA’s cold stress quick card, which outlines prevention and treatment of cold-related illnesses.
5) Require proper clothing and gear
Workers should dress in warm, loose layers to promote adequate blood flow. The inner layer should be well-insulated and moisture-wicking and the outer layer should be waterproof. Waterproof, insulated boots with heavy-duty traction along with warm socks are advised for foot protection. A hat and gloves with grips for extra traction are also a must.
6) Discourage caffeinated beverages
Caffeine can increase workers’ heart rates which creates a false sensation of warmth. This may deter workers from seeking additional warmth when they need it. Instead, provide plenty of water and encourage your workers to drink water often throughout each day for hydration.
7) Provide a warm area for breaks
While working outside in the cold weather is inevitable in construction, workers still need a warm place to take a break. Whether a heated area indoors or a covered area heated with portable heaters, they need somewhere to warm and hydrate their bodies. It’s also a good idea for employees to keep extra clothes, warm drinks and blankets there.
When the Snow Begins to Melt
Once the snow begins to melt, you will face another winter-related hazard that could impact your worksites. Snowmelt flooding occurs as the snow melts and the ground is hardened and cannot absorb it all. The water flows back to rivers, streams, and lakes and the excess causes flooding. Prepare now by investing in a flood barrier system, such as Hydrological Solutions’ WIPP® System, to ensure your worksites will be protected in the months leading into Spring.
Stay Safe in the Extreme Cold
Winter storms and extremely cold temperatures pose serious threats to worker safety and project completion. Take steps now to ensure your workers will be safe and your projects protected. Get started with these 7 tips for winter storm preparation.
Contact Us to learn more about worker safety during the winter and how to protect your worksite from snowmelt flooding.
The general public has become increasingly more aware of environmental concerns in all aspects of life as public policy reflects. The US government continues to regulate environmental concerns in every industry, including construction. It’s more vital than ever to keep your construction projects as environmentally friendly as possible.
How to Protect the Environment During Construction
Environmental friendly business practices are a hot topic and the strong focus of businesses in nearly every industry, including construction. The great news is that often these solutions are not only better for the environment, but they’re also better for your bottom line. Get started with the following guide:
Construction produces a large amount of waste materials, period. There’s no way around it, but you can and should look for ways to minimize the waste you’re producing. Increasing the efficiency of your operations, optimizing the use of supplies and materials, and choosing products and methods that reduce waste are all great ways to reduce the production of waste materials for all your projects. Every little bit really does add up.
Explore recycling initiatives specifically aimed at the construction industry like the EPA’s Industrial Recycling Program. This program focuses on recycling construction and demolition debris in other construction applications on site.
Efficient Energy Use
Use tools, products, and materials that promote efficient energy use. Look for ways to improve the energy efficiency of your operations, materials used, and final products. Use the Energy Star Program as a guide.
Choose Green Solutions
Look for products and materials specifically designed to be more environmentally friendly. Consider products that reduce the environmental impact of specific parts of your operations such as using an inflatable bladder dam for all your dewatering applications.
Protection of Ecological Resources
It’s important to protect the water, plant life, and animal species in the area of your project. Not only will the general public take note, but the government has regulations in place to protect the biodiversity of local ecologies. Your end goal is to complete your project with the highest quality, most efficient timeline, and the least environmental impact.
Workers save fish during Aqua-Barrier installation.
Protect the Environment AND Your Bottom Line
There is an abundance of products and services in the market today that will increase your bottom line while making your projects more environmentally friendly. Explore solutions that optimize your project efficiency while minimizing your environmental impact. Use this guide on how to protect the environment during construction to get started.
Hydrological Solutions is an industry leader in innovative dewatering solutions that improve your project efficiencies while reducing environmental impact. Contact Us to learn more about the benefits of using an inflatable bladder dam to dewater your work sites.