A Hair-Raising Hazard To Avoid

Today, I share with you a construction safety hazard that can cause serious injury or even death to construction workers, yet is so common that it happens an estimated 100 times every second. That hazard is lightning. 

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), lightning is one of the leading weather-related causes of death and injury in the United States and the odds of being struck by lightning over your lifetime is 1 in 3,000! Most likely to develop on hot, humid days when outside construction activities are most likely to be taking place, thunderstorms and lightning can be very dangerous. Understanding how to protect oneself from an average 100,000,000 volts of electricity per lightning strike is extremely important.
Do’s and Don’ts If Caught In a Lightning Storm
  • Do take shelter inside a building or car and close the windows and doors. 
  • Do get off equipment immediately. 
  • Do get out of the water if you are swimming.
  • Do get out of the water if boating. If you cannot immediately get out of the water, stay low and avoid contact with the water until you can get away from it. 
  • Do not take refuge under any tall, isolated object, such as a tree. Standing under a group of trees shorter than others in the area is better than being in the open. 
  • Don’t touch electric fences, clothes lines, metal pipes,rails, telephone poles or any other conductor. 
  • Do put down any object that might conduct electricity, such as a rake, hoe or shovel. 
  • If you are outside with no way to get to shelter, do get to a low spot, make your body as low to the ground as possible but do not lay flat on the earth. Curl on your side or drop to your knees and bend forward putting your hands on your knees. If there is a group of people, spread out. If someone feels there hairs stand on end, it may mean lightning is about to strike. Stay calm and keep low.
First Aid for Lightning Strikes
If someone is struck by lightning, provide first aid immediately for any injury that is visible, and be prepared to provide CPR. And call 9-1-1 immediately!
Did You Know…
  • Rubber-soled shoes provide absolutely no protection from lightning
  • If you can hear thunder, you are within 10 miles of a storm and are within reach of lightning.
  • An automobile can offer protection by acting like a Faraday cage, provided that the occupants do not touch the metal of the care while inside.
Knowing this information will help keep you safe in a storm and may just safe your life!

William Powell III, or Billy as he as known to most, is a Regional Safety Manager for Donley’s, Inc. 
Learn more about Donley’s safety program.

Donley’s Receives Rookie of the Year Award from Predictive Solutions

Congratulations to our safety professionals for winning the Rookie of the Year Award from Predictive Solutions.  The Rookie of the Year is awarded to the client that has both obtained the highest percentage of their initial utilization goal and utilized the data to improve their overall communication of leading indicators to reduce incidents.
Representing Donley’s in the picture below is Todd Jenkins, Rich Reese and Billy Powell.  Also pictured is Grace Herrera, the process improvement leader from Predictive Solutions.  Donley’s other safety professionals not pictured are, Javier Pabon, Edward Infante, Richard Pellath, David Williams, Mark Hevener, Dominic Iachino and Bob Gates. 

In addition to our safety professionals, we extend our appreciation and thanks to all Donley’s employees and subcontractors for helping to shape our culture of safety by making it a daily focus to operate incident free! 

Donley’s Renovation and Expansion of GMU Exploratory Hall Receives LEED Silver Certification

The hard work and efforts of George Mason University’s, architect, Perkins+Will and Donley’s construction management team has led to LEED Silver certification for George Mason University’s (GMU) Exploratory Hall expansion and renovation.

LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) is the most widely-used green building rating system and recognizes projects satisfying prerequisites to earn points in categories such as materials and resources, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, and indoor environmental. Levels of certification include LEED Certified, LEED Silver, LEED Gold, and LEED Platinum. To earn LEED Silver certification, the Exploratory Hall renovation and expansion project had to earn between 50-59 points.
Led by Donley’s project executive, Ken Hendershott, Donley’s construction team assisted GMU in providing updated student services through the renovation of 100,000 sq. ft. and a 55,000 sq. ft. addition for occupancy by the College of Science. Scope of work included  dry and wet labs, department offices, classrooms, lecture halls, gathering spaces, and a new rooftop greenhouse.

Congratulations to all involved on this important certification.

Stay Hydrated to Stay Alert

On Monday of this week, the high temperature in Cleveland,
Ohio reached a balmy 88 degrees! It was a beautiful, sunny day and gorgeous
weather for May in Cleveland. It’s a reminder that summer is just about here
and now seems the perfect time to remind everyone of the importance of staying hydrated during the warmer temperatures.

Dehydration can have a pretty significant impact on the human body, especially the brain because dehydration can significantly reduce concentration and impact emotional stability.

  • Concentration & Alertness: Multiple scientific studies
    have found that individuals suffering from dehydration report feeling tired, sluggish, and that it took more effort to concentrate on tasks.
  • Mood Changes: When we are lacking fluid, we can start to feel increasingly impatient and tense. A study measuring hydration status, performance and mood changes was performed on U.S. Army officers during which they were asked to perform intense training sessions in the heat for over 53 hours. The army officers lost more than 5 pints of body fluid (through sweat) during their training. Tests of vigilance, reaction times, memory and ability to reason all showed significant impairment. When asked about their mood, they reported feeling increasingly tense, confused, tired and depressed. 

to Drink and What To Avoid

Mother Nature has provided the perfect remedy for dehydration. Water… H20… Agua. For this reason, Donley’s ensures adequate supplies of water are available on all job sites. Drinking water at regular intervals will help to replenish lost fluids before dehydration sets in, which is important because by the time you actually feel thirsty, the body’s water level is likely to already be lower than it should be.

Not a fan of plain water? Research also shows that a lightly flavored beverage with a small amount of sodium encourages people to drink enough to stay hydrated. The combination of flavor and electrolytes in a sports drink like Gatorade provides one of the best alternate choices to help you stay properly hydrated.

Avoid drinks with high sugar content such as soda and even fruit juices. These are slow to absorb into the body. Also alcohol and
caffeinated beverages should be avoided.

Many people ask how much to drink and that truly depends on your activity level and how much your body is losing fluids. In general, when you are working and sweating, you should drink at least every half-hour to ensure you are drinking enough to replace lost fluids.

It’s a pretty simple message, “Stay hydrated to keep your mind alert and to stay safe.”

William Powell III, or Billy as he as known to most, is a Regional Safety Manager for Donley’s, Inc. 
Learn more about Donley’s safety program.

Donley’s Promotes Josh Zielinski to Superintendent

Donley’s is pleased to announce that Josh Zielinski has been promoted to superintendent
of Donley’s Northeast Ohio Construction Management division.  Josh joined Donley’s
in 2011 as a co-op through the University of Cincinnati. 
During multiple co-ops with Donley’s, Josh has worked as an assistant superintendent and project engineer on key projects such as the Cleveland
Clinic Robert J. Tomsich Pathology and Laboratory Institute and Case Western Reserve University’s Siegal Lifelong Learning Center and Tinkham Veale University Center projects. Since joining Donley’s as a full-time project engineer in 2013, Josh completed assignments on multiple projects at Oberlin
College and two temporary assignments for our mid-Atlantic operations in Richmond, Virginia.

October 2014, Josh has been assigned to the Cleveland Public Square Redevelopment project and
has been heavily involved in the preconstruction planning and job setup. He
will continue there as superintendent.

According to Greg Consolo, Vice President of Construction Management, “Josh
has consistently stepped up and assumed increased responsibilities on every
assignment he has been given, and is a well- respected member of the Northeast Ohio Construction Management team.”

Congratulations Josh!

Pre-Task Planning Brings Awareness to Job-Related Hazards

Last week, I suggested developing the good habit of a Refocus Reset to reduce job-related injuries by as much as 90%. This week, I share a related statistic: over 80% of workplace injuries arises from worker behavior. 

It’s not easy to acknowledge that we all make mistakes and despite our best efforts, we all experience errors in judgment. To offset this, we try harder and tell ourselves to focus more. This is natural behavior, and yet when it comes to construction work, the tendency to over focus can be its own form of a safety hazard. You see, when we over focus on one specific task, we fail to recognize obvious hazards. To illustrate this point, I share with you the following true story.

A few years ago there was an incident where a fairly new shop worker fell into a hole in the floor and required several stitches in his leg. The opening was visibly flagged and it seemed incomprehensible that an injury could occur with such a well-marked hazard. The post incident interview went something like this: 
Interviewer: “So, you saw the caution tape?”
Worker: “Yes.” 
Interview: “Do you understand what caution tape means?”
Worker: “Oh, yes.” 
Interview: “But you stepped over the caution tape and fell into the hole?”
Worker: “Yes, that is pretty much what happened.” 

Upon further questioning, it turned out that the employee was on the end of a tag line at the time. He was so focused on keeping the plate steady that the consequences of stepping over the caution tape did not register. 
If this story seems a bit unbelievable? It’s not. Research into workplace injuries confirms that intense concentration on a specific task reduces the capacity to recognize ones surroundings and any obvious hazards. As a result, a significant number of workplace injuries have occurred. 
As a member of Donley’s Safety team, I realize I cannot stop the pressures that construction workers face on the job. I also have to acknowledge that intense focus is needed to complete our jobs because construction work can be dangerous work. However, what I can do is bring awareness to this topic and suggest ways to balance intense focus with awareness of surroundings. Again, as I mentioned last week, the 4-Second Refocus Reset is a great habit to develop to ensure awareness of the hazards around us, but there are other tools that are effective as well.
The Safe Task Analysis, or STA is one such tool. Donley’s requires all our subcontractors to complete an STA each day.  This living document is a pre-task planning tool that is updated daily so that each team member knows his/her task(s), the associated hazards, and how to control or eliminate the potential for the hazard(s) to cause harm. 
Here are a few things to keep in mind when using this tool:
  1. Everyone has input
  2. Identify task(s) for the day
  3. Identify what hazards could potentially cause an injury no matter how trivial they may seem
  4. Identify other trades working in close proximity and ask the question “Can work be safety performed around them?”
  5. Identify how to abate the hazards identified by asking “Do I have the right training,equipment, and/or material?”
  6. And lastly, if the task(s) change, start over with a new STA.
Folks, the STA is still a piece of paper; it won’t save a life. But, it will help change behaviors that will ultimate lower the percent of construction site injuries that occur.
We will never know what we have prevented from happening, but we will definitely know what we didn’t.

William Powell III, or Billy as he as known to most, is a Regional Safety Manager for Donley’s, Inc. 
Learn more about Donley’s safety program.