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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.

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. 

What 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 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.

Since 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!

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.
Furthering its mission to "provide greater access for patients, and catalyze the transformation from acute cate to comprehensive care," MetroHealth broke ground this morning on its new Brecksville Health Center. (See photo below.)

Assisting MetroHealth in realizing it's vision, Donley's, along with MBE and EDGE-certified partner G. Stephens Inc., has been selected by MetroHealth to provide CM at Risk services on this new 60,000 sq ft. comprehensive ambulatory and health center. The facility will include: medical office space, lab spaces, a retail pharmacy, a compounding pharmacy, imaging services, an emergency department, and an ambulatory surgery center and is scheduled to be completed by July 2016.

Serving MetroHealth is our project team comprised of Jay Waddell, LEED AP - Senior Project Manager; Tim Carter, GA/C - Project Superintendent; Mary Beth Ianiro - Assistant Superintendent; John Rivera, GA/C - Lead Project Engineer; Minyon Patton, Project Engineer (GSI); and William Powell III, CHST - Regional Safety Director. Furthermore, we are delighted to once again collaborate with Perspectus Architecture and CBLH Design who are providing professional design services on this  fast-track project.

There is a significant opportunity to reduce job-related injuries by as much as 90% and most of us aren’t even aware of it. And, it is surprisingly simple to do and takes very little time. What is this hidden gem of safety? It’s called a Refocus Reset and it takes all of four seconds to complete.

First instituted on CN Rail, the Refocus Reset was part of a strategy to reduce the number of serious incidents—including many amputation injuries—they were experiencing. Upon further examination,CN Rail found that their employees were well-versed in safety rules and procedures, but were simply not focused on the task at hand. Even well-rested employees got caught up in the routine of the day and when performing familiar activities found themselves daydreaming or thinking about other things. You see, with routine tasks, it is usually not the task itself but some small thing you did not anticipate that causes an incident. Perhaps you did not notice the debris in front of the tool you were going to pick up. Or perhaps you did not notice somebody placed something on the part you were about to pick up.

It is easy to imagine the different activities we do every day and how easy it would be to apply a Refocus Reset. For example, getting in a forklift and having a quick look around. In those few seconds, we change our thinking from where we are going to focusing on the area, road conditions, other vehicles, etc. In other words, we refocus our attention.

Seriously, all it takes is four seconds to reduce your chance of injury. We encourage you to make it a habit to Refocus Reset before starting your next task.

Simply stated, unguarded protruding steel reinforcing bars are a serious construction site hazard. Even if you just stumble onto an unguarded rebar you can impale yourself, resulting in serious internal injuries or death. Minimize this danger by guarding all protruding ends of steel rebar with rebar caps or wooden troughs, or bend rebar so exposed ends are no longer upright. 

It may take a little more time to cap each bar, but isn’t that time well spent compared to the time spent recovering from an impalement injury? Furthermore, OSHA Standards requires that rebar "be guarded to eliminate the hazard of impalement." 

Despite OSHA’s requirement, it’s important to be aware that not all guards provide that level of protection. In fact, in some circumstances,  the force of a fall can cause rebar to push clear through a plastic cap and still cause impalement. Fall protection/prevention equipment is the first line of defense when employees are working at any height above exposed rebar, but you must still have the rebar guarded to minimize the risk of injury.

Exposed, unguarded rebar is a serious job site hazard and can cause significant bodily harm. Take the time to minimize the opportunity for an injury to occur and cap ‘em!

In construction, portable power tools are used every day and can present their own set of dangers. Minimize potential safety issues by making it a habit to start with a tool inspection before you plug in. 

  • Does the tool have a damaged or cracked housing, power source, or bits/accessories?
  • Does the tool have a dull blade? Dull blades are often more dangerous than sharp blades.
  • Are there missing guards or protective devices?
  • Is the unit leaking gasoline, oil, or other fluids?
  • Does the tool appear to be in poor condition?
  • Does the tool have a 3 wire cord, if not is it double insulated?
  • Are there any potential tripping hazards in the work area?
  • Is the work area clean?
Follow the inspection with these twelve best safety practices to ensure you stay safe during tool operation:
  1. Ensure you are wearing the correct PPE
  2. You should always wear eye protection
  3. Use the proper tool for the job
  4. Use tools with a three wire plug and make sure connections are tight
  5. Disconnect tool before making adjustments or repairs.
  6. Follow the manufacturer's instructions
  7. If unsure about use, ask a supervisor or coworker
  8. Insure tools are not pointed at or operated in close proximity to other individuals
  9. Use spark resistant tools when working near a fuel source
  10. Do not use excessive force to cut/drill through hard materials
  11. Never place your hand behind the material you are working on when the tool could push through
  12. Gasoline/Mixed Fuedl powered tools must be off and cool when re-fueled, use only in well ventilated areas

Where is the nearest fire extinguisher to you right now? Where is the closest portable fire extinguisher at your normal work area?

In case of a fire, knowing the answers to these two questions is very important because we all know that every second counts.

What is even more important, however, is the answer to this question, "Is the fire extinguisher ready for use?"  Do YOU know if your unit is ready for use? If you can answer yes to these six questions… great! If you answer no or I don’t know to any of them, then it’s time for a fire extinguisher inspection.
  1. Is the extinguisher charged fully?
  2. Is it damaged?
  3. Is it the proper type extinguisher for the hazards in your area?
  4. Is the unit hung properly?
  5. Is it blocked?
  6. Has it been hydrostatically tested in the past 5-12 years?

So, just how important is an inspection? It can be a matter of life or death:

A man was killed when he used a portable fire extinguisher to put out a small fire. Corrosion on the bottom of the fire extinguisher was serious enough that the extinguisher case ruptured when activated. The parts struck the employee in the chest causing his death.

A similar incident occurred in 1988. This fire extinguisher had a rubber boot or cap to protect the bottom of the cylinder case. Moisture had seeped in between the rubber and outside cylinder wall and caused the cylinder to corrode inside the boot. Over time, this corrosion weakened the cylinder and it ruptured when the internal CO2 cylinder was activated. Other extinguishers of this type have been found to have the same type of corrosion underneath the rubber boot.

In-depth inspection and testing of fire extinguishers are critical. Especially if your fire extinguishers have rubber or plastic boots or caps and are located in potentially corrosive environments such as:
  • Outside, unprotected from the weather
  • Wet or damp environments
  • Near marine facilities or other waterfront buildings, especially those located near salt water

Fire extinguishers should be inspected at least once per month.  There are companies that provide this type of service and a quick internet search will find those in your area. However, we believe that safety is everyone’s responsibility, so we encourage you to take a look at the extinguisher in your work area. Let someone know if you see signs that it is damaged or uncharged so it can be taken out of service and a replacement installed.

One more thing… safety is 24/7 so don’t forget the fire extinguisher at home. It should be inspected too.