Proposed Florida Bill Would Require Heat-Illness Training

Under a new proposed bill, Florida’s construction and agriculture employers could be required to train outdoor employees on how to avoid heat-related illnesses. This heat-illness prevention bill would set a standard for outdoor workers to be given plenty of drinking water and access to shade with 10-minute rest breaks after 2 hours of outside work.

It accompanies another bill in the Florida Senate that would also require annual training to identify signs of heat exhaustion and a period to allow workers to gradually adopt to a hot environment.

OSHA does not currently have a standard for indoor or outdoor heat exposure safety practices, except within the scopes of their general hazards section. They do recommend employers provide water, rest, and shade for workers in hot environments.

Proponents have been pushing for tougher standards, arguing Florida is one of the hottest states in the country, and when paired with the humidity it makes work unsustainable.

According to Business Insurance, “The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission sent clear signals that OSHA should adopt a standard to address heat stress risks rather than relying on the general duty clause after vacating a citation issued after the death of a 61-year-old temporary employee from complications of heat stroke.”

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Florida Thermal & Moisture Protection Course

Here is an excerpt of our 1-hour online course “Thermal & Moisture Protection: Keeping the Weather Out” with Roger Peck. Water damage is a major concern in many building projects. Keep your clients dry and your profits high with practical moisture and weather solutions.  

Why should we install vapor barriers and foundation coatings?

We need to limit ground water moisture from entering the foundation walls.  It’s a common misunderstanding that concrete is waterproof!  Concrete and mortar are not waterproof!  Think of masonry products as hard sponges!

The best way to avoid moisture problems below grade is to design and install a system that keeps moisture from saturating the soil around the home.  Through the use of proven designs we can effectively divert the rainfall away from the building before it saturates the soil around the structure.

Nothing is more effective in keeping the foundation and crawl space dry than keeping the rain water and ground water from penetrating the perimeter of the foundation.

When a high water table exists, install a footer drain around the perimeter of the foundation and drain to daylight if possible. Through the use of proven designs we can effectively divert the rainfall away from the building before it saturates the soil around the structure.

The footing drain needs to be installed as soon as possible after the foundation waterproofing. If not done soon, it may require extra hand digging due to collapse of surrounding soil from rain and loose soils around the excavation. This extra work may be ignored or done incorrectly, resulting in incorrect slope or no slope in the footer drains. Or worse, if the drain material is flexible, workers may allow the line to move up and over the obstruction, resulting in a sediment trap and causing the drain to fail prematurely!

Remember: The surface drains should never be allowed to connect to the floor or footer drains!  This means the surface water or gutter drains can only be installed after the footer drains have been covered and backfill operations have begun.

Builders License Exam Prep & State Approved Continuing Education

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2010 ADA Standards: Special Rooms, Spaces, and Elements

This one-hour course by Instructor Roger Peck will help you understand the importance of circulation pathways and ADA requirements for lodging, dining, courthouse, and public transportation facilities.

The ADA is one of the United State’s most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in mainstream life. The 2010 Standards set minimum requirements for construction design.

This one-hour video course will cover the eighth chapter of the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, Special Rooms, Spaces and Elements. The material for this course is presented by simple narration and PowerPoint video presentation, including on-site, real world video examples in various accessible buildings used by both the public and private sector.

Course Objectives:

  • Recognize the importance of adequate circulation pathways for disabled persons in special spaces and public facilities.
  • Identify the ADA requirements for lodging, dining, courthouse, and public or private building.
  • Outline at least one design strategy based on ADA standards for the construction of either a public or private building.
  • Summarize the options available to the design or building professional when designing a facility per the requirements of the ADA Standards.

Builders License Exam Prep & State Approved Continuing Education

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Investors Are Pumping Billions Into Construction Technology

The construction industry has been always been slow to adopt new technologies.  However, investors are now pouring money into new construction startups, hoping the industry is on the brink of changes.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “ Venture investment in private construction-technology companies leaped to 6.1 billion in 2018, from $352.1 million in 2016. With $4.3 billion invested as of late June, 2019 is on track to be another record year.

Construction companies have been encountering labor shortages, pushing them to look for ways to build faster and cheaper.

New money being invested in these startups are businesses looking to automate parts of the construction process and make the industry less labor-intensive. For example, Katerra Inc., a company that builds components in a factory, has raised more than $1 billion from investors.

One challenge that won’t go away anytime soon is taking new construction-technology and incorporating it into affordable housing. Unlike developers who build luxury housing, affordable housing can’t charge more for rising building costs. As the industry adopts new technology, transitioning into a more economical budget range is important for changes in affordable housing to take effect.

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Construction Company Fined after Workers Burned by Scalding Oil

Nelcon Inc, a Montana construction company, faces $261,000 in fines after three workers were burned by hot oil at an asphalt plant in Laurel last fall. The safety citation stems from an Oct. 25 incident, where Nelcon employees suffered second and third degree burns while pouring oil into a heating container used for the asphalt-mixing process. The oil heated to 450 degrees reacted with cooler oil and spilled onto the workers.

In a press release by the U.S. Department of Labor OSHA, “OSHA inspectors determined that Nelcon Inc. failed to use fall protection systems; guard machinery; provide adequate personal protective equipment; control hazardous energy; and report a work-related incident leading to in-patient hospitalization within 24 hours, as required.”

OSHA also issued a health citation that found Nelcon in violation of not providing facilities for flushing eyes and skin that have been exposed to hazardous chemicals, not properly labeling and training for hazardous chemicals.

Our OSHA and safety training courses help you stay compliant with industry regulations and codes. Learn the necessary information to ensure chemical safety in the workplace such as right-to-know information, the Global Harmonizing Information, Safety Data Sheets, and labels.

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4 Safety Practices for the Modern Jobsite

Dodge Data & Analytics (DDA), a provider of analytics and software-based workflow integration solutions for the construction industry, conducted a new study for the Center for Construction Research and Planning (CPWR).

The study asked contractors about specific practices focused on safety like reducing noise levels and fall risks, to broader practices like adopting a safe jobsite climate that includes supervisor mentorship and training.

Dodge Data & Analytics shows four safety best practices that need to become commonplace on jobsites. The study helps reveal ways that the construction industry can still improve practices to help with worker safety, health, and well-being.

For the briefness of this blog, this is how they defined different size construction companies:

  • Large companies: annual revenues of $100 million or more
  • Midsize companies: annual revenues of $10 to $100 million
  • Small companies: annual revenues below $10 million

Manage hazards before construction begins

There is a clear pattern of large companies utilizing more safety practice techniques compared to smaller companies. One area that large companies consistently perform better than smaller ones is advanced hazard planning. 42% of respondents in large companies reported that they believed their company handles advanced planning well—compared to 28% of midsize and 36% of small companies.

A similar trend appears when looking at materials-handling practices. 86% of contractors from large companies reported that they formally plan how materials will be handled once work is awarded, and 72% reported that they meet with employees for a discussion on how materials will be moved. In comparison, small and midsize companies reported they develop a formal plan for material handling, but only 54% conduct those meetings with employees.

Take advantage of online safety tools

According to the study, another way midsize and small companies can help develop jobsite safety is utilize websites and online tools that provide useful information and materials for improving safety.

Surveyors were asked if they used websites from Stop Construction Falls, Choose Hand Safety, CPWR’s Construction Solutions database, as well as the Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health. Dodge Data & Analytics states “The gap between the percentage of contractors using them and the percentage who find that they provide value suggests that wider use of these online resources could help contractors access practices and solutions, ultimately helping them improve safety on-site.”

Mentor Subcontractors on Safety Performance

Providing health and safety related mentorship to subcontractors helps with the safety climate of a project by making sure that all workers understand the safety goals and parameters. The findings found that this type of mentorship was not common practice.

58% of respondents from large companies reported this type of safety mentorship on their projects, with small and midsize companies saying 29% and 35% provide it.

Practice Lean Construction Widely

Dodge Data & Analytics describes lean construction as “The goals of eliminating waste and improving the process of construction are frequently supported by enhanced leadership and communication across the organization. These same qualities are essential to enhancing safety, and safety is also a key performance indicator of success for lean projects.”

Many contractors in the study reported that they are familiar with lean construction, which is a huge increase from 53% in a similar study conducted in 2013.  But In the current study only 21% reported implementing lean procedures at their businesses.

Dodge Data & Analytics show there is a lot of safety practices that construction companies can focus on to improve the jobsite climate. Larger companies have the resources to ensure safety practices but there are applications smaller and midsize companies could implement to improve jobsite safety.

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Construction Job Gains Outlook

The construction sector, including data from the both residential and non-residential contracting, experienced 3.5% increase in April 2019 compared to April 2018.

  • Texas added the largest state gain of employment with 32,500 jobs. Louisiana lost the most construction jobs with 8,400.
  • West Virginia had the highest annual growth in the construction industry with 33.7%. Vermont reported the biggest decline at 7.2%.

Nationwide, the job growth (excluding farm workers) increased by 263,000 over the month of April—stronger than expected from estimates in March. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that is a 41% increase, but 8 states and the District of Columbia did see a decrease.

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All 50 states increased in employment from the year-to-year average ending in April. “12 states recorded annualized growth to and/or above 1.8% in employment, which was the national growth rate.” Texas added the most with 294,200 jobs.

Builders License Exam Prep & State Approved Continuing Education

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Contractor Convicted of Cash Bribes to Mayor

A contractor and his Illinois company, Tower Contracting, were convicted for paying off then-mayor David Webb Jr. of Markham with nearly $100,000 in bribes to secure work.

The Chicago Tribune reported that a federal jury convicted Michael Jarigese and his business of 10 counts of “honest services” wire fraud and federal program bribery. Jarigese faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for serious fraud counts and Tower Contracting could face a hefty fine.

Usually in public corruption investigations the contractors are the ones who corroborate with the government and testify against politicians, but in this situation, it was the mayor who cooperated with prosecutors. Webb admitted he took a combined $300,000 from Tower Contracting and other contractors beginning in 2008. Webb had a shell company that he set up using his children’s name called “Kat Remodeling” to funnel in bribes, to make payments seem legitimate.

The federal guidelines call for Webb to be sentenced between 7-9 years in prison but if he testifies truthfully prosecutors say they will recommend 4 ½ years behind bars.

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It was highly educational on safety on which will help me and my company save lives and keep safe on the job site in everyday life. – April 17, 2018
Charlie Tregale - Massachusetts
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