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.
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.
Flooding often happens along with many other storm-related events. For this reason, floods remain the #1 natural disaster in the U.S. Flooding can happen without warning and the damage is swift and devastating. The impact to life and property can seem beyond repair. Use the following guide to help prepare your family and property for flooding this year.
Flood Preparedness: The Basics
It’s never a good idea to walk or drive through flood waters, even if you think it’s only a few inches. 6 inches is enough for moving water to knock you off your feet. It only takes 2 feet to move your vehicle. Just don’t do it. At the first chance of flash flooding, move somewhere higher. If you are in your vehicle and the water is rising around you, take every precaution. If the water is not moving, abandon your vehicle to higher ground. It is extremely dangerous to exit your vehicle into moving floodwaters. Additionally, be smart where you park your car during heavy rainfall. Rivers and other streams are prone to flooding quickly. To be safe, just turn around.
What to do During a Flood Watch
When a flood watch is issued in your area, it means the conditions are good for flooding. You need to be aware. Keep your radio or tv turned on and tuned into a reliable source for weather updates and emergency information. Explore your surroundings for higher ground you could reach quickly, maybe even by foot. Take inventory of your emergency kit and make sure you have plenty of everything including a flashlight, batteries, a first aid kit, and extra cash. Be ready to turn off your electricity and gas at the main switch when instructed.
What to do During a Flood Warning
When a flood warning is issued in your area, it means flooding is already happening or will happen soon. You need to take action. Move immediately and remain on higher ground. Listen to emergency instructions and be ready to evacuate if directed. Do not drive or walk through flood waters, no matter how low you think they are.
What to do After a Flood
Wait for instructions from authorities to return safely to your home. Take photographs of any damage to your property for insurance claims. When you are out and about, watch for debris and eroded roads and pathways. Avoid standing water and driving through areas still flooded. Remember, there is a chance for electrocution due to downed power lines and other electrical hazards.
Before the Flood
It is a good time to make sure you are prepared in the case of heavy flooding. Make sure you have a flood emergency plan and be sure to restock your emergency kit. Look into your area emergency plans and locate places of higher ground should you need to evacuate. Flood insurance is a good protection to have, but keep in mind it only works after flood damage has already occurred. For flood prevention, consider purchasing a flood barrier. They are easy to deploy and store, and will prevent flood waters from damaging your property.
Be Prepared. Stay Dry.
You never know when flooding could happen in your area. Floods accompany many other storms and the damage they bring is devastating. Use this guide to know what to do before, during, and after flooding occurs. Contact Us for more information on flood preparedness and the use of flood barriers for prevention.
The holidays are upon us again, a time for food, family, and fun. Unfortunately, it can also be a time for fire. We use more electricity, fire fireworks, put dead trees in our homes, and cook more than any other time of the year. All of these activities increase the chances for a fire in the home.
Protect your home and family this holiday season with the following fire safety tips:
Holiday Fire Safety Tips to Keep Your Family Safe
The extra activity and decorations that accompany the holidays present opportunities for fire that normally aren’t there. For this reason, it’s a good idea to take a little extra precaution.
Be safe in the kitchen as you prepare meals for friends and family. Cooking is a significant cause of holiday fires, mainly due to food left unattended. With everything going on, it’s easy to get distracted. It’s best to never leave the kitchen if you have food that is in the oven or on the stove. If you have to step out for a moment, take an oven mitt or wooden spoon with you to remind you to come back soon. Keep flammable items away from hot surfaces and never use your oven to heat the house. Double check that all heating appliances and surfaces are turned off when you’re finished. Also, make sure you keep a fire extinguisher rated for all types of fires in your kitchen.
Be safe with candles you put out to add ambiance to holiday festivities. Candle fires increase significantly during the holiday months. When you place candles out, keep a space of at least a foot around them. Make sure nothing that will burn is near them. Make sure no flames are left unattended and blow out all candles before going to bed at night. You may consider flameless LED candles for worryless ambiance.
Be safe with your Christmas tree in the house this year. Live Christmas tree fires aren’t very common, but they are dangerous when they occur. Buy a tree that is fresh cut with needles intact and water it every day. Keeping it well-watered will go a long way in protecting it from fire for about 4 weeks. It is important once the holidays are over to discard of your tree quickly for this reason. Also keep it away from sources of heat and high-traffic areas.
Be safe as you decorate for the holidays. Lights, garlands, and extension cords all pose potential fire safety threats. Inspect your light strings for frayed and cracked wires or broken sockets and replace any you find. Do not use more than three strings of lights end to end. Do not leave your lights up year-round, exposed to the elements and animals who may chew on wires. For decorations such as garlands, make sure they are nowhere near sources of heat such as a fireplace or furnace. Make sure your extension cords are in good condition and properly rated for indoor and outdoor use.
Be safe with your kids as they celebrate the holidays. The number of fires and deaths caused by children playing with fire during the holidays increases significantly. It’s easy to leave matches or other lighting devices laying around unattended. Take extra precaution to make sure all such items are put away well out of reach. Kids are curious and unaware of consequences by nature. Keep them, and all of your family, safe by keeping matches and other devices out of their reach.
Celebrate With Food, Family, and Fun
Keep all the fire contained and be safe this year with these holiday fire safety tips. We wish you and your family a happy and safe holiday season.
Hydrological Solutions provides cost effective flooding and dewatering solutions. Contact Us for all your dewatering and flood barrier needs.