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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.


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.


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.


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.

24 Apr

Virginia CM Win!

posted by: Administrator (0)

Congratulations to our Richmond, Virginia office on the Construction Management win for John Tyler Community College, a part of the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) located in Chester, VA.


John Tyler Community College will gain a comprehensive renovation of 37,350 sq. ft. at Bird Hall and 26,000 sq. ft. at Nicholas Student Center, and a 24,500 sq. ft. addition to the Nicholas Center, on the College's Chester Campus. This project will support the College’s STEM-H and workforce development programs. The 47-year-old campus will be able to look forward to the positive reconfiguration and refurbishment of their spaces. These updates and additions will improve programmatic function, increase classroom and lab space, and enhance the quality of academic, administration, and public service facilities.


Donley’s is excited to begin work with VCCS, JTCC and Grimm & Parker to transform the Chester Campus to meet the current and future needs of VCCS and JTCC. We are looking forward to building new spaces that support learning and create a positive impact on current and future students, the community, faculty and staff.  

Fall Protection

A fall protection system ( i.e. guardrail system) must be installed on all scaffolds with a working height greater than 6 feet.

  • Top rails must be between 38-45 inches above the platform
    • capable of supporting at least 200 pounds applied in a downward or outward direction.
  • Midrails - installed midway between the toprail and the platform surface
    • capable of supporting at least 150 pounds applied in a downward or outward direction.
  • Cross-bracing is not acceptable as and entire guardrail system, but is acceptable for a toprail when the crossing point of the two braces is between 38 and 48 inches above the work platform and for midrails when between 20 inches and 30 inches above the work platform. 

Personal fall arrest systems used on scaffolds are required when the guardrail system is incomplete or does not provide adequate protection. Lanyards or connecting devices must be connected to a vertical lifeline (1st choice), a horizontal lifeline (2nd Choice), or a structural member of the scaffold (last choice).

Falling Object Protection

Toeboards must be installed on work platforms  where materials or tools will be in use. Toeboards must be installed not more than 1/4 inch above the platform and securely fastened and be at least 3 1/4 inches in height. They may be made of solid material or mesh with opening no greater than 1 inch. Toeboards must be capable of withstanding at least 50 pounds applied in a downward or outward direction. 

Additional protection from falling debris and other small objects must be provided in areas where personnel will be in the vicinity of scaffolds. Such protection may be in the form of: 

  • Barricades to keep personnel out of a hazardous area,
  • screens which are erected between the toeboard and the handrail of the work platform,
  • debris nets to catch material before they hit the ground, or
  • canopy structures made of solid materials.

Large or heavy materials stored on the scaffold platform must be located away from edges of the work platform and secured, if necessary.