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Most of you probably have house cleaning responsibilities at home. For some of you, it's a regular weekly chore. Whatever the case may be, you'll agree that good housekeeping practices are important at home.

However, what we sometimes overlook is that good housekeeping is a key duty on the job, too. The orderly arrangement of work areas is vital to the safety of all workers, regardless of whether they are involved with machines and tools or with appliances and furniture.

What is Housekeeping?

Housekeeping refers to maintaining materials, work areas, and walking areas in a clean, orderly, sanitary, and dry condition.

Why is it Important?

Bad housekeeping is dangerous at any time. It leads to increased risks, production delays, property damage, and higher costs.

Falls often result from tripping over loose article such as tools left in the aisle ways and work areas. Wet spots on the floor, or trash and other articles left in the stairways also take their toll.

We have trash receptacles placed in several strategic areas, so there is no excuse for waste paper, pop bottles, or other materials being thrown on the floor. 

Let's face it. It is just a lot easier to do your job when your work area is kept neat. Keep your tools and equipment off the floor and stored in the proper places. This not only reduces tripping hazards, but protects the equipment you use to earn a living with. 

Did you ever go to your closest at home to get your golf clubs and have to pull them out from under some other articles? Things start falling all over. It's a mess. But before you blow your cool, stop and think. "How many times have I left stuff piled on top of the golf clubs when I was in a hurry looking for something else in the closet?"

 The same principles apply when storing material or equipment on the job. Take time to make the piles neat. It's unsafe to stack them too high and, if possible, it's best to keep them away from other equipment or articles that are used often. Do your best to keep things on carts or pallets that can be easily moved to limit injuries during handling. Not only think of the injury aspect of it but the efficiency of handling materials that are easily moved.

We have to be a lot like a quarterback, keeping our eyes open for changes in the defense or certain other telltale moves of opposing players. On the job, we should keep a lookout for danger signals - loose flooring, articles out of place, or other unsafe conditions. 

Real Life Scenario

Sharon, a carpenter, was doing framing for a custom-sized pace on the second story of a house. There were a lot of wood pieces, scraps, and saw dust that accumulated over the day around the saw horses, power tools, cords, and materials piles. When leaving for the day she tripped over some of the items on the floor and fell down the stairwell, injuring her neck.

  1. Name things that could have been done to prevent this incident.
  2. Does your work site have excessive quantities of lumber, debris, or flammable materials lying around?
  3. How regularly are materials organized and laced where they belong?

 In closing, I'd like to emphasize that we're all dependent on each other for safety. It's up to each of us to hold up our end of the deal. When each of us keeps their own area in order, the whole job site is a safer place to work.

  • Keep floors clean and clear of waste.
  • Keep hoses, power cords, and welding leads out of heavily-travelled walkways or areas.
  • Don't allow materials to build up.


When the word audit is mentioned, people generally think of a negative experience, and internal revenue service (IRS) tax audit or of a confrontation. However, it is possible for audits to be positive.

First, let's consider the definition of audit.

Audit: A systematic or methodical review; to examine with intent to verify.

Audits can apply to your job. From a safety standpoint there is only one way to do a job - the safe way. Safety needs to be the first consideration in everything that we do. It is possible that we may not always be doing this, so our continuing efforts to review or think about our jobs are auditing.

Contrary to an IRS audit which evaluates what we did not record, our job audit should evaluate what we did record. If we take the time to at least mentally think out the steps that we go though to perform a task, we can audit it to ensure we are safe.

Auditing Ourselves
Look at these things prior to completing a task:

  • PPE, do we have the correct eye protection? The correct gloves? Protective footwear?
  • Do we need any special PPE such as a chemical apron or a harness?
  • Is our PPE in good condition?
  • Do we have the correct tools and are they in good shape?
  • Do we know how to operate the tools or equipment?
  • Do we know how to accomplish the task safely?
  • Do we know the harmful energy sources around the area and have we isolated them?
  • Do I have the training to do this job?
  • Who is working around me?
  • Would I want my family to watch me do this task this way?

These are just a  few of the questions we should ask. However, they include some of the most important ones. Ensure you do a quick audit, prior to accomplishing a task. A more thorough one should be done if we're doing something for the first time or for the first time in a long time.

Take the time to ask yourself these questions, do not become complacent that the work is that same as it was yesterday.


Policy

Donleys policy is that a fall protection system as outlined below, is required for all employees (Self-performed and Subcontractors) working at heights greater than 6 feet and this applies to all situations including General Fall Protection, Scaffolds, Over Hand Bricklaying, Crane activities, and Steel Erection Activities.

This policy does not apply to working from ladders as long as employees maintain three points of contact and ensure that the center line of their body does not go outside of the side rails of the ladder.

Fall Protection Systems

The acceptable types of fall protection systems utilized by Blair’s and/or subcontractor employees are Barrier Systems, Personal Fall Arrest Systems, and Safety Net Systems.

Barrier Systems include:

  • Guardrail Systems
  •  Positioning devices
  •  Warning Line Systems (Only when working on a low slope roof)
  •  Controlled Access Zones (Only for leading edge, precast concrete erection work, and steel erection activities)
  • Covers. For all holes greater than 2" in the smallest direction regardless of depth.

Personal Fall Arrest Systems Include:

  • Anchorage Points
    • Single point
    • Vertical lifeline
    • Horizontal lifeline  
    • Retractable lifeline
  • Body (Full-Body) Harness
  • Connection Devices (i.e. lanyards with locking snap hooks)

Safety Net Systems include:

  • Netting with border rope
  • Connectors

Fall Protection Plans

  • This option is available only to employees engaged in leading edge work, precast concrete erection work, or residential construction work who can demonstrate that it is infeasible or it creates a greater hazard to use conventional fall protection equipment.


SAFETY REMINDER - FAILURE TO IMPLEMENT AN APPROPRITAE SYSTEM IS GROUNDS FOR IMMEDIATE DISIPLINARY ACTION INCLUDING DISMISSAL FROM TEH SITE.

Silica is a mineral compound made up of one silicon atom and two oxygen atoms.

There are other compounds that contain silicon whose names are quite similar, such as silicate and silicone. Do not mistake these for silica. They are not the same thing.

There are quartz, cristobalite, tridymite, and other rare forms of crystalline silica. Quarts is so common that the term quartz is often used to refer to crystalline silica. And sand is often used to refer to quartz.

Persons working with silica can develop a disease called silicosis. This disease is 100% preventable if appropriate steps are taken. Individuals are at risk in the workplace if: 1) the silica can become airborne, 2) the airborne particles are a certain size, 3) the worker breathes in the silica.

The Basics on Silicosis

Silicosis is a disease where scar tissue forms in the lungs are reduces the ability to extract oxygen from the air.

Symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath while exercising
  • Fever
  • Occasional bluish skin at earlobes or lips
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite

Silicosis renders the victim more susceptible to infection and diseases such as tuberculosis and lung cancer.

Smoking increases the damage. Silicosis and smoking are deadly together.

Taking Action to Protect Against Silica

You must implement the best possible permanent solution to reduce or eliminating the hazard. If such solution cannot be enacted immediately, then you are required to implement a temporary control to protect your workers until the permanent solution is put in place. The following solutions are listed in order of preference. ( depending on the work site a higher choice may actually be less effective.):

Donley's Policy

For grinding is that all grinding be done with HEPA Vacuums and a half face respirator. Don't forget to complete the Respirator Assessment form.

SAFETY REMINDER - SILICOSIS IS A DISEASE THAT IS 100% PREVENTABLE IF APPROPRIATE STEPS ARE TAKEN.

Donley’s Concrete Group held its biannual employee meeting in Raleigh last Friday.  Congratulations to Miguel Castro who was named Concrete Man in Raleigh!

Congratulations to the Universities of Shady Grove project team on achieving a Bronze Certification in the Parksmart  (formerly known as Green Garage) program. The project will be displayed amongst others at the Parksmart booth at the International Parking Institute in New Orleans.  Parksmart defines and recognizes sustainable practices in parking structure management, programming, design and technology. Industry-driven and field tested, the program complements LEED and other certifications and is administered by Green Business Certification, Inc (GBCI).

Donley’s project team switched over the gas supply at Akron Summa Hospital late on March 24 and into the morning of the 25th.  This has been an ongoing effort for a few months to establish a step-by-step process to safely perform the work, shut down a few services, and switch the Boiler House over to Fuel Oil until purges were complete. The plan was well executed, and the team was flexible enough to re-prioritize on the fly to handle unexpected rain. We are looking forward to teaming up with Shook Construction on this great project which is breaking ground on May 15th.