The top four causes of construction fatalities are:
Prevent Falls (33% of all fatalities)
- Identify all potential tripping and fall hazards before work starts.
- Look for fall hazards such as unprotected floor openings/edges, shafts, skylights, stairwells, and roof openings/edges.
- Inspect fall protection equipment for defects before use.
- Select, wear, and use fall protection equipment appropriate for the task.
- Secure and stabilize all ladders before climbing them.
- Never stand on the top rung/step of a ladder.
- Use handrails when you go up or down stairs.
- Practice good housekeeping.
- Keep cords, welding leads and air hoses out of walkways or adjacent work areas.
Prevent Struck-By (20% of all fatalities)
- Never position yourself between moving and fixed objects.
- Wear high-visibility clothes near equipment/vehicles.
Prevent Caught-In/Between (18% of all fatalities)
- Never enter an unprotected trench or excavation 5 feet or deeper without an adequate protective system in place; some trenches under 5 feet deep may also need such a system.
- Make sure the trench or excavation is protected either by sloping, shoring, benching or trench shield systems.
Prevent Electrocutions (17% of all fatalities)
- Assume that all overhead wires are energized at lethal voltages. Never assume that a wire is safe to touch even if it is down or appears to be insulated.
- Never touch a fallen overhead power line. Call the electric utility company to report fallen electrical lines.
- Stay at least 10 feet (3 meters) away from overhead wires during cleanup and other activities. If working at heights or handling long objects, survey the area before starting work for the presence of overhead wires.
- If an overhead wire falls across your vehicle while you are driving, stay inside the vehicle and continue to drive away from the line. If the engine stalls, do not leave your vehicle. Warn people not to touch the vehicle or the wire. Call or ask someone to call the local electric utility company and emergency services.
- Never operate electrical equipment while you are standing in water.
- Never repair electrical cords or equipment unless qualified and authorized.
- Have a qualified electrician inspect electrical equipment that has gotten wet before energizing it.
- If working in damp locations, inspect electric cords and equipment to ensure that they are in good condition and free of defects, and use a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).
Thanksgiving Day has more than double the number of home cooking fires than an average day according to the U.S. Fire Administration. In fact, each year more than 4,000 fires occur on Thanksgiving Day.
"Unattended cooking is the leading cause of Thanksgiving Day home fires, and it's easy to understand why," said Red Cross preparedness expert Heidi Taylor. "People can easily become distracted and lose track of what's happening in the kitchen when they are enjoying spending time with family and friends."
To help prevent home fires this Thanksgiving, the Red Cross suggests the following tips:
- Keep potholders and food wrappers at least three feet away from heat sources while cooking
- Wear tighter fitting clothing with shorter sleeves when cooking
- Make sure all stoves, ovens, and ranges have been turned off when you leave the kitchen
- Set timers to keep track of turkeys and other food items that require extended cooking times
- Turn handles of pots and pans on the stove inward to avoid accidents
- After guests leave, designate a responsible adult to walk around the home making sure that all candles and smoking materials are extinguished
Even with the best preparation and precautions, accidents can happen. Thanksgiving is high time for
cooking related burns. Minor burns can be treated easily if you remember to save the butter for the rolls and
not a burn. For a superficial burn, cool the area by running it under cold water until the heat eases and then
loosely cover the burn with a sterile dressing.
--Courtesy American Red Cross
As the weather becomes "frightful" during winter months, workers who must brave the outdoor conditions face the occupational hazard of exposure to the cold. Prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures can result in health problems as serious as trench foot, frostbite, and hypothermia.
Workers need to be especially mindful of the weather, its effects on the body, proper prevention techniques, and treatment of cold-related disorders.
Personal Protective Clothing
Perhaps the most important step in fighting the elements is providing adequate layers of insulation from them. Wear at least 3 layers of clothing:
- An outer layer to break the wind and allow some ventilation (like Gore-Tex® or nylon);
- A middle layer of wool or synthetic fabric to absorb sweat and retain insulation in a damp environment. Down is a useful lightweight insulator; however, it is ineffective once it becomes wet.
- An inner layer of cotton or synthetic weave to allow ventilation.
Pay special attention to protecting feet, hands, face and head. Up to 40 percent of body heat can be lost when the head is exposed. Footgear should be insulated to protect against cold and dampness. Keep a change of clothing available in case work garments become wet.
Engineering Controls in the workplace through a variety of practices help reduce the risk of cold-related injuries.
- Use an on-site source of heat, such as air jets, radiant heaters, or contact warm plates.
- Shield work areas from drafty or windy conditions.
- Provide a heated shelter for employees who experience prolonged exposure to equivalent wind-chill temperatures of 20°F (-6°C) or less.
- Use thermal insulating material on equipment handles when temperatures drop below 30°F (-1°C).
Safe Work Practices, such as changes in work schedules and practices, are necessary to combat the effects of exceedingly cold weather.
- Allow a period of adjustment to the cold before embarking on a full work schedule.
- Always permit employees to set their own pace and take extra work breaks when needed.
- Reduce, as much as possible, the number of activities performed outdoors. When employees must brave the cold, select the warmest hours of the day and minimize activities that reduce circulation.
- Ensure that employees remain hydrated.
- Establish a buddy system for working outdoors.
- Educate employees to the symptoms of cold-related stresses -- heavy shivering, uncomfortable coldness, severe fatigue, drowsiness, or euphoria.
It has to be a terrible feeling. One moment your feet are on what seems to be a solid surface, the next moment they're in mid-air as you begin a fall to a level far below.
That's how a floor opening fall typically happens. A worker in a plant or at a construction site falls through an opening to a surface below or into industrial machinery on a lower level. Chutes for moving materials, elevator shafts and mine shafts have also taken their toll in similar worker falls.
Openings in floors and roofs are often part of the work environment during construction, renovation and demolition. They must be guarded and securely covered so no one can accidentally step in. Half measures won't do it. Many have died in incidents such as these:
- A worker cleaning up after a roofing crew picks up a piece of plywood, not realizing it covers an opening, into which he falls.
- A worker passing through a renovation site steps on a too-small covering placed over a hole and not secured. The board breaks or one end tips into the hole. The worker falls down the opening.
- Skylights and other roof features not designed to bear weight also have been the route to death for workers who stepped or climbed on them.
In industrial plants, workers have fallen from catwalks over machinery or process vessels. Holes in the runway, unguarded sides and ends have allowed workers to fall. Tanks with unguarded openings large enough for a worker to fall in have also taken many lives. Unguarded access points to fixed vertical ladders have also been the scene of fatal falls.
There are safety laws requiring certain types of guards around openings including roof openings and floor openings, smoke shafts, vehicle repair pits, loading dock edges and other openings on walking and work surfaces. Prevention of falls into water or another liquid, or into a hazardous substance or object is also regulated.
By law, temporary and emergency floor and wall openings must be guarded by rails and toe boards or a cover. The floor opening cover must be capable of supporting any load placed on it. It should be secured positively so it cannot be easily removed, and it should be labeled. The cover should go over the entire opening unless guardrails are installed.
Ladder way floor openings and platforms must be guarded by railings and toe boards on all sides except the entrance. The entrance must be arranged so the person cannot walk directly into the opening without encountering a gate or an offset area.
Guards are also required for hatchways and chute openings, skylight openings, pits and trap door openings and manhole floor openings.
Besides guardrails and nets, fall prevention and fall arrest equipment might be required for you to work safely. Learn to use the fall protection equipment and avoid hazards. Don't wait for an opening; do it now.
Donley's has been selected as one of the winners of the prestigious 2014 Build Ohio Award. One of six award winners, Donley's was honored in the New Construction Over $20 Million category for Case Western Reserve University, new Tinkham Veale University Center, which was completed in July of this year.
The Tink as it has been nicknamed, unites the Case Western
Reserve University campus—a campus long perceived as split due to its location
on two sides of a major thoroughfare in Cleveland’s University Circle. The building is centrally located on the campus, providing students a 24/7 gathering
place, a home for student organizations, a jumping-off point for campus tours,
as well as a community gathering space. With input from students on the design,
the facility houses student organization offices, a dining area, a media wall
with interactive digital display, a lounge, a separate restaurant/bar open to
the public, a 9,000 sq. ft. multipurpose ballroom, classrooms, and a variety of
The shape of the 89,000 sq. ft., two-story building is a mix
of horizontal, wedge-like shapes that stretch in three directions and sloping
green roofs rising out of the ground which create an outdoor amphitheater and social
gathering spaces. Designed to exceed the University’s required LEED Silver
standards, sustainable elements include a live roof, recycled carpet tiles and
terrazzo flooring, radiant floor heat, chilled beams, and a double-glass
curtainwall that reduces energy use through an innovative engineering system, while
helping to maintain interior temperatures.
Serving as the construction manager on this project,
Donley’s had the opportunity to work with architect Perkins + Will to construct
this modern 21st century collegiate hub on a site that at first
glance appeared quite large, but was actually constrained in all four
directions. Additionally, a large green space covering an underground parking
garage adjacent to the site was unusable for construction equipment traffic and
materials laydown, but had to remain accessible to students throughout
construction for outdoor activities. Undocumented underground utilities and
steam tunnels dating back to the 1920’s also added to the intrigue of constructing
this progressive expression of higher education architecture.
Donley's received its bronze and green marble Build Ohio Award during the 23rd annual Build Ohio Celebration on November 14, 2014 in Columbus, Ohio.
Almost 20 years ago Bring Your Child To Work Day was introduced as a way to show our kids what we do when we head off to work. In the construction industry, we can take this same idea and make it a daily part of our work day. How? By changing the way we think about our work.
Often times we are so caught up in meeting deadlines and schedules that the focus is on getting things done so we can move on to the next item on the list. We tend to forget the real reasons we go to work each day: our families. Our families don't care that we got A, B, and C completed on our task list, they care that we come home at the end of each day.Donley's cares about that too and so, as you go out to work today, we challenge you to change the way you think about your job:
- Do your various tasks as if your child (or grandchild) was next to you and you were teaching them the correct way to do it. When you stop and think about the various things you do, would you teach your child to do it the way you are? Are there are some tasks you perform on a regular basis that you would find unsafe if you saw your child performing the task in the same way? Let's face it, we all are guilty of "do as I say, not as I do" because we think we can perform the task faster or because we've done it before without incident. But the truth is it's just a matter of time before something will happen. Ultimately, the odds are not in your favor.
- The second challenge is a bit harder. We challenge you to keep that perspective in each task you perform every day. After a while, this new perspective will become the norm, rather than those old habits and shortcuts you used to take.
Need additional inspiration? Take a picture of your children, grandchildren--or whatever motivates you to work safer (wife, parent, dog, cat, etc.)--and tape it inside your hard hat. Every time you put that hard hat on, you will receive a constant reminder that the real reason--the best reason-- to work safe is waiting for you to come home.
Our Regional Safety Director, Javier Pabon, shares his reason to work safe. We would love to hear about yours!