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The tool belt is the mark of a tradesman, a hard-working person who knows how to get the job done.  Even if you don’t use one at work, chances are you use a tool belt for home maintenance and renovation work.  Using a tool belt correctly will help ensure safety while working. 

Some major do’s and don’ts are:

Tool Belt DO’s
  • DO choose the right belt assembly to keep implements safe and secure
  • DO make sure the tool belt is made of a sturdy material
  • DO keep tools in correct sized pockets, pouches, and slots
  • DO balance the weight of a tool belt so the weight is equal on each side (the average tool belt should weigh 15-20 pounds)
  • DO guard all sharp tools with scabbards or sheaths
Tool Belt DON’TS
  • DON’T pack around excess supplies causing unnecessary weight
  • DON’T use the tool belt as a safety belt when working from heights
  • DON’T hang tool belt on nails, hooks or other protruding objects
  • DON’T wear belt repeatedly causing chronic discomfort and back problems
Carrying tools on a belt keeps hands free for tasks and work; just always make sure to follow the do’s and don’ts of tool belts!


During the Holiday Season, you’d probably be disappointed if the only gift you received was a box full of safety tips. Come on, admit it. What you really wanted were those miracle golf clubs that can drive a ball a mile down the fairway or a bass boat.

But let’s think for a moment. A box full of safety tips could mean a lot: 
  1. You don’t lose your vision when that steel shard hits because you’re wearing safety glasses.
  2. You have just a slight headache when that 2x4 from the third floor glances off your hard hat.
  3. When you drop a jackhammer, those steel-toed boots protect your feet.
  4. When you operate a hoe-ram all week (BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM!), those ear plugs maintain your hearing.
  5. When you stand behind the excavator and the operator suddenly puts it in reverse, you heed the back-up alarm and step out of harm’s way.
  6. When you excavate a 10-ft. trench over a major gas line, the one-call center marks the line’s precise location, allowing you to work safely.

All year long you've heard messages that remind you to "work safely…don't take short‐cuts… prevent accidents…." To do this, of course, you have to keep your mind on your work. But this time of the year, your mind may be everywhere else but on your work. You may be thinking….
How will I pay for Christmas??? It costs a fortune!
Traffic is so bad I'm a wreck every time I get where I'm going.
My relatives and their kids are going to be here for a whole week!
If I hear Alvin & The Chipmunks one more time, I'll smash the radio!

So, from the Donley's family to yours... Happy Holidays! 

And remember, one of the best gifts you can give your loved ones, is YOU returning home safe!
Donley's recent collaboration with the Cleveland Clinic, Ohio University and the DesignGroup was highlighted in the December issue of Properties Magazine.  You can find out more about the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine at South Pointe Hospital here.

Noise is unwanted sound that can effect job performance, safety, and your health. Psychological effects of noise include annoyance and disruption of concentration. Physical effects include loss of hearing, pain, nausea, and interference with communications when the exposure is severe.

Hearing protection is essential when noise exposures can't be controlled at their source. Both earplugs and earmuffs provide a physical barrier that reduces inner ear noise levels and prevent hearing loss from occurring. However, people often resist wearing these or use them incorrectly. Employees resist wearing hearing protection more than any other type of personal protective equipment.


One reason is that they don't think they really need it. But hearing loss occurs so gradually (even in intense exposures) that by the time you notice it, irreversible damage has already occurred. Another reason for not wearing hearing protection is that it can feel uncomfortable. Sometimes workers "spring" the muffs so they don't seal properly against the head, or snip off the inner portion of ear plugs leaving only the outer end to fool their supervisor. If you feel the need to do this, see your supervisor about obtaining a different type or style that fits you comfortably and correctly.

Slight initial discomfort may be expected when a good seal between the surface of the skin and the surface of the ear protector is made. The amount of protection you obtain depends on obtaining a good seal and even a small leak can substantially reduce the effectiveness of the protector. Remember to check the seal several times each day. Protectors - especially ear plugs - have a tendency to work loose as a result of talking or chewing, and must be resealed occasionally.

There are many different styles, types, and brands of ear protectors available, but when correctly fitted, they all provide similar levels of protection. The best hearing protector for you is one that fits correctly so that you can wear it properly.

SIGNS YOU MAY NEED HEARING PROTECTION

1. If it is necessary for you to speak in a very loud voice, or shout directly into the ear of a person to be understood, it is likely that the noise level is high enough to require hearing protection.

2. If you have roaring or ringing noises in your ears at the end of the workday, you have probably been exposed to too much noise.

3. If speech or music sounds muffled to you after you leave work, but it sounds fairly clear in the morning when you return to work, you are being exposed to noise levels that are causing a temporary hearing loss. In time, this can become permanent so please take care and use hearing protection.

There are a couple of frequently used sayings concerning this type of behavior, such as, “Haste Makes Waste” and “The Hurrier I Go, the Behinder I Get.” Another one which is more closely associated with safety on the job is, “Hurrying-Up Can Hurt.”


These types of accidents are easy to identify, but there are others resulting from being in a hurry that we should consider for a moment. For instance:

  • Using the wrong ladder for the job just because it is closer than the one that is the right height.
  • Not wearing safety glasses because the job will only take a second.
  • Not taking time to properly lock-out and tag machinery you want to make repairs on.
  • Carrying a heavy object without first planning a safe route.
  • Leaving water or oil on the floor for someone else to wipe up—probably with the seat of their pants.
Sometime, think back to an incident when you nearly got hurt. When you review the circumstances of the near-miss, there is a good chance that hurrying was part of your difficulty. If you took a shortcut, you probably realize, as most of us do sooner or later, the shortcut really didn’t save any time and was not worth the risk involved.

However, it should be pointed out that while hurrying unnecessarily is frowned upon, faster ways of doing things may be beneficial at times. If you think that there is a better way of doing a certain job, by all means bring it to the attention of your Supervisor. But do not proceed to use the new method or make any changes without first getting them approved.

One of the safest means of speeding up operations is through experience. As we become more familiar with our jobs, our efficiency and speed increase. But this is taken into consideration in planning jobs and how they should be handled; and then, of course, we all reach a point where increased speed through experience becomes negligible, and the danger of not remaining alert on the job grows.

Obviously, accidents cost money. So if you think that meeting the cost of living is rough now, just imagine what it would be like if you had to face expenses without a full paycheck because of a work injury. So, both physically and financially, hurrying can hurt.
In recent years women have more than proven they can drive changes in construction—which is why Constructech magazine has just announced the winners of their first annual Women in Construction award program. The award recognizes women showing leadership through: 1) involvement with technology within the construction industry, 2) contribution to helping their company grow and progress via the use of cutting edge-edge solutions, 3) influence in the growth of technology within the overall construction industry, 4) inspiration for other women in industry, technology, or her local community. 
 
Two Donley’s team members: Katie Robbins, Finance Director and Courtney Moore, Project Manager were selected as winners of the award.
 

Katie joined the Donley's team in 2011 serving as its Financial Planning and Analysis Manager. In April 2015, Katie was promoted to Finance Director and is now responsible for financial planning analysis, budgeting, forecasting and cash management, as well as strategic planning.  Additionally, Katie oversees the ConstructAssure subcontractor default insurance program and works closely with Donley's Chief Financial Officer to manage the Contractor Controlled Insurance Program and other Risk Management programs.
 
As a self-described "Process Junkie" Katie starts every project with three questions: 1. How can I make this process better? 2. How can I make this process faster? 3. How can I make the results more meaningful?
 
By looking at each project from this unique perspective, Katie has been able to extract data in ways that allow Donley's leadership to better understand what the data means which ultimately leads to better business decisions. One such area  that has seen significant growth is job-cost reporting. Advocating the use of the SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services) platform, Katie, working side-by-side with IT, demonstrated  to Donley's leadership the power of the service. Today, Donley's is able to conduct up-to-the-minute job reports measuring productivity, quality and cost as well as monitor business cash flow.
 
Another area of data analysis and review that Katie has developed has been Key Performance Indicator (KPI) reporting. One of the first projects Katie was tasked with, she mined and analyzed all available data to come up with appropriate indicators to measure  company performance. Today, KPIs measure Safety, Quality, Schedule and Cost across all jobs and is now a standard in Donley’s process library.  Donley’s ownership utilizes the KPIs to identify challenges and to plan for the future.
 
Finally, Katie developed a Weekly Executive Dashboard to monitor billings, retainage, outstanding receivables and job cost variances. This snapshot report identifies financial target areas Donley’s leadership indicated they wanted to review each week. This snapshot report has been instrumental in raising awareness of how cash flows and how the organization operates.
 
Courtney began her construction career in 2004 as a senior project engineer with a construction firm in Santa Monica, California. In 2009, she accepted a position as project manager for a Northeast Ohio-based construction manager specializing in higher education and healthcare projects. Since joining Donley’s as a project manager in 2011, Courtney has worked on high-profile projects for the Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University.
 
Courtney's philosophy regarding technology is to embrace its use in order to standardize and streamline processes to improve the client's experience with the project. She shares this philosophy by serving as a member of Donley's Technology and Process Improvement Committee. This committee is focused on investigating new construction-related hardware and software in order to provide new resources to employees to make task-management easier and to stay one step ahead of the competition.
 
Through the use of online, virtual meeting software (e.g., Blue Jeans and GoToMeeting) Courtney has been influential in opening the channels of collaboration between Donley's regional and corporate offices in order to standardize many corporate procedures. This collaboration has ultimately led to the standardization of client care provided throughout the organization.
 
Courtney openly shares her knowledge of Viewpoint by assisting/training project engineers and other project managers on ViewPoint's ERM modules such as cost accounting, subcontracts, and RFI submittals. In addition, Courtney brings this knowledge to the subcontractor community. Courtney explains, "Every day there is some level of training within the subcontractor community to get them up to speed on the software we [Donley's] use." Web-based applications such as Submittal Exchange, PlanGrid, Newforma are all utilized by Donley's and make document processes/exchange easier, but require that all team members--including subcontractors--understand the applications. Courtney works with each subcontractor to ensure they are adequately trained.
 
We are proud of the recognition that Katie and Courtney have received.  At Donley’s,  genuine people providing innovative solutions in support of our clients’ vision, budget, and schedule is part of our work.
 
The full list of 2015 Women in Construction winners can also be found in the Sept/Oct issue of Constructech magazine. The issues are available in print or by downloading the Constructech app in the iTunes App Store or Google Play.
 
Constructech magazine is where construction and technology converge. The publication influences construction professionals to unleash the business value of technology. constructech.com
Last week at the Ohio Society for Healthcare Facilities Management Fall Conference, Donley's teamed with our client Mercy Regional Medical Center and architect levelHEADS to discuss the successful Integrated Project Delivery approach recently employed at Mercy.  


The presentation highlighted the lessons learned on the project.  It also focused on the do's and don'ts to successfully implement an IPD approach.  

Interested in learning more?  You can access the full presentation here.
DonleysIPDinACTION.pdf (1.5MB)
Setting a good example is not a put-on. It's simply working safety into your daily routine at home and on the job. When we all work safely, everyone's job is safe and their future more secure.


New employees certainly benefit by seeing operations conducted the safe way. As you all know from experience, people new on the job take a while to adjust and to discover who they are in the overall set-up of the plant. New employees who have never held a job before or were employed by a firm that had a weak safety program probably will need considerable safety instruction. We will attempt to give it to them, but naturally, they also observe and seek advice and information from fellow workers. These early impressions of you and of safety operations will be at least partially formed through these contacts and observations.

On the other hand, newcomers formerly employed by a firm that emphasized safety will probably think more of you personally if you measure up to the caliber of people they are accustomed to working with.

"Don't do as I do; do as I say" is a pretty tired expression, and it got tired because we all have repeated it many times not just verbally but through our actions; and actions speak louder than words. When we leave our safety glasses resting on our foreheads rather than in place over our eyes, or when we kick an empty milk carton under a bench rather than pick it up, we're selling safety but it's a useless soft sell. Our actions are saying, "I believe in wearing eye protection but not in protecting my eyes; and I know trash can cause a tripping accident, but it isn't important enough to make me pick it up." 

There's another angle to setting good examples. Too often people dress to impress others with their good taste rather than their knowledge of safety. Wearing rings, bracelets, and other ornaments is dangerous around machinery and in many other jobs where it's possible for jewelry to be caught by moving parts of machinery, thus cause injury to the wearer. Long sleeves, floppy pant legs, and long hair can be hazardous on some jobs, too.

So we should always dress for the job. Our image as a fashion expert may suffer, but it will give way to the more important and more beneficial image of safety.

Maybe some of us feel we are already setting good examples for safety, but maybe this self-image isn't too accurate. Think just for a moment isn’t it strange that we always think about having the nice things happen to us and when we think about an accident, it's usually happening to someone else?

Accidents are a reality. Make your personal safety just as real and you'll have a good chance of not becoming the other person to whom accidents are always happening.

We also might remember that our children someday will be entering the work force. And they, like the newcomer on the job, can benefit by our actions that exemplify safety consciousness.

Most of us try to demonstrate to our kids how to cross streets or how to light matches when they're of age. If, through the years, your kids learn from you how to use a ladder correctly, or that it's good practice to keep tools in their proper places or that there's a right way to lift things, you've given them an additional opportunity for the better life the future promises.
Over the past few weeks we have been discussing some of the chemistry of hazardous materials; today I am going to expand our science curriculum into combustion.  Any program on fire prevention and safety is based on a clear understanding of how materials ignite. In order for a fire to occur, three elements are required; Oxygen, Heat, and Fuel. These elements are frequently shown as the "fire triangle."



The elements of combustion are very similar to the construction of a triangle in that all sides must come together before a fire can occur. Therefore, the goal of a fire safety program is to keep these elements apart. Since oxygen is present in nearly all industrial work situations we must separate or control the heat and fuel sources to reduce the chances of fire.

Take a look around your work areas today--and everyday--where both heat and fuel sources may be found. And remember housekeeping is important. Keep your work areas clean and organized. It is also important to know your evacuation route in case of a fire, as well as the location of the nearest fire extinguisher.