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Site Safety – Working Near Power Lines

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Before any work begins, be sure everyone working with you or who will be in the area knows where overhead and underground lines are located.

Power lines are not insulated, so if you touch one with your body, your equipment, or your tools, you or someone else in the immediate area  could become seriously injured or killed.  Electrical accidents can happen even without direct contact.

Nominal Voltage Phase-to-Phase –  Minimum Working Distance in Feet

0 to 50,000  –  10 ft

Over 50,000 to 200,000  –  15 ft

Over 200,000 to 345,000  –  20 ft

For assistance with determining voltage and safe working distances please contact Eversource.

Connecticut: 888-544-4826

Eastern Massachusetts: 888-633-3797

Western Massachusetts: 800-880-2433

New Hampshire: 800-362-7764

Whether you operate heavy equipment or use ladders and handheld tools on the jobsite, it’s critical that you keep a safe distance from all power lines and electrical equipment while you work—at least 10 feet, and possibly more depending on voltage.

Before beginning work:

  • Call Eversource to determine voltage and safe working distances (see OSHA Minimum Safe Working Distances chart for phone numbers in your state).
  • Assess and document your surroundings, searching carefully for overhead power lines, poles, and guy wires, as well as lines that may be obscured from view by trees or buildings.
  • Always assume that all nearby overhead, underground, and building service lines are energized.
  • If you will be digging, ensure safe excavations by first calling 81 l—the toll—free underground hazards hotline.

Avoiding Crane, Ladder, and Overhead Hazards  

  • Before beginning any overhead work involving cranes, derricks, aerial lifts, loaders, scaffolding or ladders, call Eversource in your state to verify voltage ratings at your location and safe working distances from power lines and equipment (see OSHA Minimum Safe Working Distances chart). In addition:
  • Be sure to comply with all OSHA requirements and applicable state and federal safety regulations, including OSHA’s crane standard (For complete details, visit: www.osha.gov/SLTC/cranehoistsafety/standards.html).
  • Be sure to use tape, signs, or barricades to keep workers and equipment the required distance away from power lines and equipment.

When working with cranes or derricks:  

  • Keep all parts of the crane (cab, boom, load line, etc.) load at least 20 feet away from the line, and always assume the line is energized.
  • Partner with a dedicated spotter on the ground to help you stay clear of overhead lines, and make sure it’s your spotter’s only responsibility until your work is complete.
  • Keep vehicles clear of the work area, especially high-rise equipment like long—bed dump trucks and concrete mixers that can come in contact with overhead power lines.

When working on ladders or using long tools:  

  • Call Eversource to determine voltage and safe working distances.
  • Maintain a safe distance of at least 1 0 feet from overhead power lines carrying up to 50 kV. If you are unsure of the voltage, contact Eversource in your state.
  • Carry ladders, paint rollers, rain gutters, and other long objects so that they are parallel to the ground.
  • As voltage increases, clearance distances also increase, so before adjusting ladders or other long tools, add your own height and make sure the total height will remain a safe distance of at least 10 feet away from overhead lines of 50 kV or less.

Avoiding Underground and Digging Hazards  

  • Ensure safe excavations, and avoid being held liable for damages—dial 811 before you dig. You’ll learn whether underground cables and other utilities are in your work area, and where they’re located.
  • If an underground power line is exposed or damaged, secure the site and maintain a safe distance.
  • Once safety precautions have been taken, call Eversource at the appropriate number listed on the back, and be sure to press “5” for Construction Services.
  • Never attempt to open underground equipment. Call Eversource in your state.

Staying Safe Around Downed  Power Lines  

Downed power lines are most common after storms and high winds, but can also occur while on the job. For safety’s sake, treat every  downed power line as though it’s energized.

If you are around downed power lines:  

  • Call 91 1 and Eversource to report the downed line.
  • Stay away—even if they don’t hum or spark. Downed power lines can be live and dangerous.
  • Shuffle…don’t run! Carefully move away from the line and anything it is touching, and instruct others in the area to do the same. The correct technique for moving away from a downed line  is to shuffle with your feet together and on the ground. Fight the urge to run—ifyou run or  take large steps, you increase the chance that electricity could come up one leg and go out the other, and you could be seriously injured.

If equipment you are operating comes in contact  with a power line:  

  • Have a co-worker immediately call 91 1 and Eversource.
  • If there is no immediate danger and you can do so safely, move the equipment away from the line.
  • Warn others to stay away. When equipment hits a line, workers standing on the ground are in the greatest danger.
  • To ensure everyone’s safety, do not attempt to rescue your co-worker.
  • Stay away until rescue workers assure you the power has been turned off—if you touch someone who is in contact with electricity, or their vehicle or a tool they’re holding, you could be shocked as well.
  • Stay on the equipment until rescue workers say it is safe to get off.
  • If you must get off the equipment due to fire or other danger, land far enough away from the equipment so that you don’t touch the equipment and the ground at the same time. Land with your feet together and shuffle away, keeping your feet together and on the ground.

Site Safety – Propane Safety Information

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What is propane?  Propane (also called LPG—liquefied petroleum gas—or LP gas) is a liquid fuel stored under pressure. in most systems, propane is vaporized to a gas before it leaves the tank. Propane is flammable when mixed with air (oxygen) and can be ignited by many sources, including open flames, smoking materials. electrical sparks, and static electricity. Severe freeze burn or frostbite can result it propane liquid comes in contact with your skin.



  1. NO FLAMES OR SPARKS! Immediately ‘  put out all smoking materials and other  open flames. Do not operate lights,  appliances, telephones, or cell phones.  Flames or sparks from these sources  can trigger an explosion or a fire.
  2. LEAVE THE AREA IMMEDIATELY! Get everyone out of the building or area where you suspect gas is leaking.
  3. SHUT OFF THE GAS. Turn off the main gas supply valve on your propane tank if it is safe to do so. To close the valve, turn it to the right (clockwise).
  4. REPORT THE LEAK. From a neighbor’s  home or other nearby building away from the gas leak, call your propane retailer right away. If you can’t reach your propane retailer, call 911 or your local fire department.
  5. DO NOT RETURN TO THE BUILDING OR AREA until propane retailer, emergency responder, or qualified service technician determines that it is safe to do so.
  6. GET YOUR SYSTEM CHECKED. Before you attempt to use any of your propane appliances, your propane retailer or a qualified service technician must check your entire system to ensure that it is leak—free.


Propane smells like rotten eggs, 3 skunks spray, or a dead animal. Some people ma have difficulty smelling propane due to the‘ age (older people may have a less sensitivg sense of smell); a medical condition; or the effects of medication, alcohol, tobacco,  or drugs.

ODOR LOSS. On rare occasions, propane can lose its odor. Several things can cause  this including:

  1. The presence of air, water, or rust in a propane tank or cylinder
  2. The passage of leaking propane through the soil
  3. Since there is a possibility of odor loss or problems with your sense of smell, you should respond immediately to even a faint odor of gas.


Under some circumstances, you may not  smell a propane leak. Propane gas detectors sound an alarm if they sense propane in the air. They can provide an additional measure of security. You should consider the purchase  of one r.-r more detectors for your home.

GUIDELINES regarding propane gas detectors:

  • Buy only units that are listed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL)
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding installation and maintenance
  • Never ignore the smell of pr0pane, even if no detector is sounding an alarm.



You can’t taste or smell CO, but it is a very dangerous gas, produced when any fuel burns. High levels of CO can come from appliances that are not operating correctly, or from a venting system or chimney that  becomes blocked.

CO CAN BE DEADLY! High levels of CO can make you dizzy or sick (see below). In extreme cases, CO can cause brain damage or death.

SYMPTOMS of CO poisoning include:

  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue

If you suspect C0 is present, act immediately!

  1. If you or a family member shows physical symptoms of CO poisoning, get everyone out of the building and call 911 or your local fire department.
  2. If it is safe to do so, open windows to allow entry of fresh air, and turn off any appliances you suspect may be releasing CO.
  3. If no one has symptoms, but you suspect that CO is present, call your propane retailer or a qualified service technician to check CO levels and your propane equipment.


  • Have a qualified service technician check your propane appliances and related venting  systems annually, preferably before the  heating season begins.
  • Install UL-listed CO detectors on every level of your home.
  • Never use a gas oven or range—top burners to provide space heating.
  • Never use portable heaters indoors unless they are designed and approved for indoor use.
  • Never use a barbecue grill (propane or  charcoal) indoors for cooking or heating.
  • Regularly check your appliance exhaust vents for blockage.


  • Sooting, especially on appliances and vents
  • Unfamiliar or burning odor
  • Increased moisture inside of windows


  • IF A PILOT LIGHT REPEATEDLY GOES OUT or is very difficult to light, there may be a safety problem. DO NOT try to fix the problem yourself. It is strongly recom- mended that only a QUALIFIED SERVICE TECHNICIAN light any pilot light that has gone out.
  • YOU ARE TAKING THE RISK of starting a fire or an explosion if you light a pilot light yourself. Carefully follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions and warnings concerning the appliance before attempting to light the pilot.


  • LEAVE IT TO THE EXPERTS. Only a qualified service technician has the training to install, inspect, service, maintain, and repair your appliances. Have your appliances and propane system inspected just before the start of each heating season.
  • HELP YOUR APPLIANCES “BREATHE.” Check the vents of your appliances to be sure that flue gases can flow easily to the outdoors; clear away any insect or bird nests or other debris. Also, clear the area around your appliances so plenty of air can reach the burner for proper combustion.
  • DO NOT TRY TO MODIFY OR REPAIR valves, regulators, connectors, controls, or other appliance and cylinder/tank parts. Doing so creates the risk of a gas leak that can result in property damage, serious injury, or death.
  • HAVE OLDER APPLIANCE CONNECTORS INSPECTED. Certain older appliance con- nectors may crack or break, causing a gas leak. If you have an appliance that is more than 20 years old, have a qualified service technician inspect the connector. Do not  do this yourself, as movement of the ap- pliance might damage the connector and cause a leak.

FLAMMABLE VAPORS ARE A SAFETY HAZARD. The pilot light on your pr0pane appliance can ignite vapors from gasoline, paint thinners, and other flammable liquids. Be sure to store and use flammable liquids outdoors or in an area of the building containing no propane appliances.

DON’T RISK IT! If you cannot operate any part of your propane system, or if you think an appliance or other device is not working properly, call your propane retailer or a qualified service technician for assistance.



  • If an appliance valve or a gas line is left open, a leak could occur when the system is recharged with propane.
  • If your propane tank runs out of gas, any  pilot lights on your appliances will go out. This can be extremely dangerous.
  • A LEAK CHECK IS REQUIRED. In many states, a propane retailer or a qualified service technician must perform a leak  check of your propane system before turning on the gas.

Site Safety – Back to School Traffic Safety

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Now that children are returning to school we all have a responsibility to be more watchful on the roads and near school zones. This is particularly important at times of day when children are more likely to be outside of the school — including when school begins, lunchtime and after school.

Studies report that pedestrian injury is the third highest cause of injury related death among children. Driving defensively and observing the rules helps keep everyone safe and sound.

1. Always stop for a school bus when the lights are flashing.  Children have a limited sense of danger and are often excited and energetic when getting on or off a school bus. Watch out for children who may dart out from between stopped school buses or parked cars. Don’t obstruct a school bus loading zones and be patient as children get on and off the bus. Motorists travelling in both directions are required to stop for a school bus when its lights are flashing and the stop arm is out. Failing to stop for a school bus is a violation of state law and a serious traffic violation with substantial fines and penalties.

2. Observe the posted speed limits. it’s important to slow down as you approach a school zone and watch for children who may run out into harm’s way. Posted  speed limits in school zones are typically reduced and travelling at a slower speed gives drivers time to stop safely in case there are children crossing the road unexpectedly. Playground zones have the same speed limits and are in effect from dawn until dusk each day. Children may be out and about at various times throughout the day for recess, lunch time or field trips so you need to be careful when driving in school zones. Respect your school’s posted pick up and drop off areas to avoid creating unnecessary traffic congestion and unsafe conditions. This includes respecting “No Parking” and “No Stopping” zones.

3. Obey the crossing guard at all times. Whether you think they are right or not, obey crossing guards at all times. Children expect that crossing guards will only allow them to cross if the situation is safe, so disregarding a crossing guard’s instructions can have serious consequences.

4. Do not pass other vehicles in a school zone. This is a dangerous practice that is prohibited in school zones. When passing other vehicles, you may be travelling quickly and your overall visibility is reduced. Children crossing the street won’t expect you to be passing and won’t be prepared for your car being in a different lane than usual. Similarly, you should not perform a U—turn or 3 point turn, or even driving in reverse in a school zone if you can avoid it. Any sort of unpredictable driving manoeuvre may catch children off guard and cause or contribute to an accident.

5. Expect the unexpected.  Children are unpredictable and can run out into traffic at any time. Watch carefully as you approach a school zone and be prepared for children to step on to the road unexpectedly. Although there has been a steady decrease in the number of tragedies each year, it’ s important to remember that “one death is one too many.”


Site Safety – Electrical Power Cord Safety

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Electric shock can cause burns, shocks, falls and electrocution resulting is serious injury or  death — The Bureau of Labor Statistics state that for the last decade, electrical injury has been responsible for an average of 320 workplace deaths and over 4,000 injuries involving days away from work annually in the United States. Personnel Safety and safe operation of machines and tools should be of uppermost importance in all considerations of using  electricity on the jobsite. Electrical violations are among the most commonly cited OSHA violations. There are many specific standards that address electrical safety. Refer to the OSHA  regulations for specific applications.

General Safety Precautions for avoiding electrical shocks include, but not limited to the following:  

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters  The GFCI is a fast acting device that senses a small current leakage to ground. Within 1/40 of a second it shuts off the electricity and “interrupts” the current flow. It provides effective protection against shocks and electrocution. OSHA requires GCFls or equipment grounding conductor program on all construction sites.

Extension Cords: Extension cords are necessary on any job providing power to portable equipment or lighting, however, they are often misused resulting in injuries. Most importantly extension cords are for temporary use only. Inspect extension cords for physical damage before use. Check wattage rating on the tool being used with the extension cord and make sure that the extension cord does not have a lower rating than the tool being used. Don’t use extension cords marked for indoor use outdoors. Don’t plug one extension cord into another.

Electrical Fires: On construction sites, an electrical fire may occur when portable tools overload a power source. If possible to safely disconnect the tool or power cord from the power source, do so immediately. A Class C or multi- purpose fire extinguisher may also be used to ensure the fire is extinguished. Call 911 if necessary.

To Avoid Electrical Hazards:

  • Inspect all electrical equipment daily prior to use, tag as needed and report damaged tools to your supervisor.
  • Survey the work site for overhead power lines and other electrical hazards when using ladders or working on platforms. Maintain the required distance from electrical equipment and conductors. When in doubt stop work and ask your supervisor.
  • Provide adequate overload & short-circuit protection for safe operation. The interrupting capacity of all breakers & fuses must be sufficient to clear the fault current rapidly & without damage to itself.
  • Provide cord protection for flexible cords and cables passing through doorways, travel ways or other pinch points.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher on site at ALL times. The standard procedure for fighting electrical fires is to open the circuit and then apply an approved extinguishing agent. Call 911 if necessary.
  • Avoid mixing water and electricity. Keep electrical equipment, hands, feet, and work surface dry.
  • Check all electrical equipment and notify all others connected to the power source before resetting GFCI or breaker.
  • Use only GFCI sources of electricity on all construction sites.

What NOT to do:

  • Do NOT Use a length or size (wire gauge) extension cord that exceeds the max recommended by tool manufacturer.
  • Do NOT splice extension cords with electrical tape. Splices should be approved permanent splices.
  • Do NOT leave extension cords in walk ways or work areas causing a trip hazard.
  • Do NOT use worn frayed or damaged cords or homemade receptacle box.
  • Do NOT fasten extension cords with staples, hang from nails, or suspend from wire.
  • Do NOT exit your vehicle if it comes in contact with electricity. Drive away until the electricity is no longer in contact with you vehicle. If the engine stops running, Call 911 for assistance.


Site Safety – Power Saws

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Careless or improper use of any power saw may cause a serious or fatal injury.  Keep in mind the following precautions to help reduce the risk of injury when working with a power saw:

  • Always wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Eye protection, gloves, sturdy boots and protective clothing should be worn. You must wear goggles or properly fitted safety glasses with adequate top and side protection. Always wear heavy duty work gloves (e.g., made of leather or other wear resistant material) when handling the saw. Heavy-duty, nonslip gloves improve your grip and help to protect your hands. Wear sturdy boots with nonslip soles. Steel-toed safety boots are recommended. Clothing must be sturdy and snug- fitting, but allow complete freedom of movement. Avoid |oose—fitting jackets, scarf’s, neckties, jewelry, flared or cuffed pants, unconfined long hair or anything i ‘ that could become caught on any obstacles or moving parts of the unit or the material you are cutting.
  • Power table saws must have an upper guard that covers the entire blade of the saw; don’t remove the manufacturer’s installed guard and get them fixed if they do not work properly.
  • When using chain, brush, cut-off or any hand held saws, keep both hands on the saw to help prevent from being cut and have more control place your second hand on the auxiliary handle or motor housing. Keep your body positioned either side of the saw blade. Secure what you are cutting and never hold the material that you’re cutting.
  • After a cut, be aware of the necessary time it takes for the blade to come to a complete stop; be aware of the moving blade until it stops moving. Don’t run the saw while carrying it at your side.
  • Use your power saw within its limits. Know the type of blade and its uses; only use a blade that’s approved for the saw and material to be cut. Using an improper blade may cause it to shatter or crack in use causing it to be shot out at you or anyone in the area. Don’t use dull or damaged blades which can cause excessive friction, blade binding and kickback.

BE SAFE – Before you use any power saw be sure that you have the proper protective gear and are trained to operate the saw!

Site Safety – Scaffold Safety

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Scaffold systems are an efficient and safe way of  providing a temporary elevated work platform. However, it is important to erect and use scaffolds properly as accidents can occur. The primary causes of scaffold accidents include failure of attachment points; footing, parts failure; inadequate fall protection; and adverse climate conditions (such as high winds). Falls are 80% of all scaffold injuries; of those injured, 60% involve skilled trades and 24% are laborers. Employees can prevent many of these accidents with good old common sense. Here are some things to keep in mind before using a scaffold:

General Guidelines for Using Scaffolds

  • Erect all scaffolds under proper supervision
  • lnsure that scaffolds and ladders are filmiy supported on dry, solid footings, plumb and properly secured
  • Do not install scaffolding on frozen, wet or un-compacted earth or with methods not recommended by the manufacturer
  • Inspect scaffold prior to use. Assign this task to a competent person.
  • Free all scaffolds of defective or damaged parts
  • Tie all scaffolds securely and safely into the structure
  • Ensure all structural members are adequate for use in proposed work
  • Check all connections and pins
  • Provide cross bracing
  • Have and use access ladders properly
  • Fall protection is required for workers on platforms 6 feet or higher.
  • Eliminate debris, ice, mud, from all ladders and working surfaces
  • Plank all working areas and service all planks
  • Inspect all scaffolds frequently. Overlap all planks by 12 inches
  • Train all employees adequately in use of scaffold and ladders.

When installing all guardrails, mid-rails, and toe-boards in work areas, make sure they meet the following strength requirements:

  • Guard-rails — height is 42″ (+/-3″) and at least 200 lbs. in strength
  • Mid-rails — set midway between guardrail & walking surface and 150 lbs. in strength
  • Toe-boards — typically 1″ x 4” construction
  • Working platforms/decks must be planked close to the guardrails
  • Planks – overlap on a support at by 12 inches.

BE SAFE — Before you use a scaffold, take the time to think it out. Use good judgment and common sense.

Site Safety – Protection of the Public on Job Sites

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Contractors have the responsibility to protect their employees, subcontractors and the general public (including invitees to a construction project) from adverse safety and health conditions that can occur on a construction site.

They must also protect the public from nuisance conditions (i.e. ambient noise, dust), implement the necessary controls to avoid disruption of public routes and services and maintain a continuous separation between construction zones and public areas. Recent construction catastrophes in urban centers and suburban residential projects have significantly raised public awareness and concern of the Inherent dangers of construction.

Consider the following to help prevent injuries and accidents:  

  • Open excavations: Are they properly protected from site visitors others working on-site?
  • Existing utilities: Are they properly identified and marked?
  • Traffic routes (vehicular and pedestrian) is the safest route in use? Proper barricades?
  • Pedestrian routes including provisions for members of the public with special needs: Are they malntairiezi and in good condition?
  • Warning signs: Are they properly spaced. in good condition and illuminated (when required)?
  • Mobile equipment transport and usage: is there access in and out of the project?
  • Deliveries to the site and routine debris: is collection and removal properly planned?
  • Emergencies: Is there accessibility to the site by emergency medical services (EMS) and is there an effective Emergency Action Plan in place?
  • Falling and wind-blown objects: are there potential hazards that could injure or damage others’ property?
  • Illumination: is it adequate for nighttime visibility? is it directed away from a driver’s line of sight?
  • Vibrations or ground settlement: Are exposures evaluated and controlled?
  • Noise and dust from operations: Are they contained or controlled?
  • Inclement weather: Are provisions in place for drainage, water run-off and other exposures?
  • Communications: is a plan in place and coordinated with authorities. including community  relations?


Important Code Changes in the 2012 IRC

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  1. 50% rule (flood) wording botched by State in last amendment corrected.
  2. Better explanation of when to issue a Certificate of Approval.
  3. Habitable attic definition changed to finished area.
  4. The term “windows” changed to “exterior glazing” as it applies to wind-borne debris regions.
  5. <5ACH50 air infiltration rate requires whole-house mechanical ventilation.
  6. Major language / organization clarification of glazing hazardous locations section.
  7. Winder tread clarification, winders now allowed within a flight.
  8. Quarter circle landings now allowed, no longer required to be 36″ x 36″ square.
  9. Wireless technology specifically NOT allowed for required smoke alarm interconnection.
  10. New standard NFPA 275 allowed as alternative to covering foam with 1/2″ sheetrock.
  11. Accessory structures without foundations required to be anchored to resist wind uplift.
  12. Filter membrane now required for surrounding or covering perforated footing drains.
  13. I-joist and <2×10 floors (including basements) now required to be 1/2″ sheetrock or 5/8″ plywood.
  14. Entire braced wall section reorganized and simplified.
  15. Pan flashing required for windows and doors if details are not provided by the manufacturer.
  16. Unvented cathedral ceilings specifically allowed – air impermeable insulation or coating must be Class II vapor retarder (NO UNCOATED OPEN CELL FOAM IN CATHEDRAL CEILINGS).
  17. Kick out flashing required where step flashing terminates at sidewall.
  18. Drip edge and rake edge now required for shingle roofs.
  19. IECC and IRC energy requirements are now identical.
  20. Ceiling prescriptive insulation goes to R-49, basement walls got to R-15 continuous or R-19 cavity (Note: up to 50 sq. ft. cathedral still allowed R-30, raised heel trusses allow entire ceiling to be R-38).
  21. Eave baffle (Accu-vent) required for air permeable insulation in vented attics.
  22. Blower door requires 3ACH50 to pass – exception allows visual inspection for additions and alterations.
  23. Duct tightness test goes to max. 8cfm / 100 sq. ft. leakage tested across entire system including air handler (Exception allows up to 40 ft of system extensions during renovation without requiring testing).
  24. New wood burning fireplaces shall have tight fitting dampers.
  25. Hot water pipe insulation mandatory: water heater to kitchen sink, to manifold, any 1/2″ pipe run >20 ft., any 3/4″ pipe run >10 ft., supply and return piping entire recirculation system, all pipe >3/4″.
  26. Dryer vent now required to be mechanically fastened – screws may not project >1/8″ into duct.
  27. All air exhaust terminations must be minimum 3′ from windows and either 10′ from or 3′ above air intakes.
  28. Mechanical ventilation required to be continuous or intermittent at airflow rates as per table (based on # of bedrooms and size of house; note HRV or ERV not required).
  29. LP gas supplier identification required on tanks.
  30. Testing of plastic DWV plumbing pipe with air is no longer allowed.
  31. Storage type water heaters installed where a leak would cause damage now require a pan.
  32. Plumbing vent terminals must be either >10′ away or >3′ above any door or openable window.
  33. All gas piping (including CSST) must be bonded to the grounding electrode system.
  34. At least one electrical outlet to be installed on balcony, deck, or porch of any size.
  35. Foyers >60 sq. ft. now required to have receptacles in each wall 3′ or greater in length.
  36. All receptacles within 6′ of a tub or shower now required to be GFCI protected.
  37. All receptacles in laundry areas now required to be GFCI protected.
  38. Outlets that supply kitchen dishwasher circuits now required to be GFCI protected.
  39. AFCI protection required for all 15 and 20 amp branch circuits supplying outlets.
  40. AFCI protection required when modifying, replacing, or extending a branch circuit.
  41. Grounded conductor (neutral) required to be provided at the switch location.
  42. Receptacles located >5.5′ above the floor not required to be tamper resistant.
  43. Newly constructed homes required to be provided with RADON mitigation preparation.
  44. New building or addition requires Building Official to receive document providing name of concrete suppler and name of concrete installer prior to issuing a Certificate of Occupancy.

SITE SAFETY – Back Safety

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Construction is a physically demanding occupation but a a vital part of our nation and the U.S. economy. A recent study shows that back injuries account for almost 20% of all nonfatal injuries and illness with days away from work in construction. Back problems are most common among workers who perform frequent heavy lifting and carrying, such as construction laborers.

The amount of force placed on your back under certain conditions can be surprising. Anytime you bend or lean over to pick something up without bending your knees, you put tremendous pressure on your lower back. Think of your lower back as a lever. With the fulcrum in the center of the lever, it only takes ten pounds of pressure to lift a 10 pound object.

However, if you shift the fulcrum to one side, it takes much more force to lift the same object. Your waist actually acts like a fulcrum in a lever system, and it is not centered. In fact, it operates on a 10:1 ratio. Lifting a 10 pound object actually puts 100 pounds of pressure on your lower back.

When you add in the 105 pounds of the average human upper torso, you see that lifting a 10 pound object actually puts 1,150 pounds of pressure on your lower back.

Remember these best practices when lifting heavy objects:

  • Bend your knees
  • Get down to the load
  • Keep it close to your body
  • Use your leg muscles

Upon assessment, if you are in doubt of your ability to safely lift or move an object, seek help or the necessary equipment to accomplish the task.


Site Safety – Eye Safety

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Each day about 2,000 U.S. workers have a job related eye injury that requires medical treatment. In construction, eye hazards exist for workers no matter where they work.

Some common operations that present eye hazards may include:

  • Grinding, hammering, polishing, chiseling, wood working, cutting, any other activity that might cause large fragments or small particles to fly through the air and into the eyes.
  • Painting, spraying, sanding, metal working, blowing, or any process that may cause dust, debris, or tiny particulate to become airborne.
  • Work tasks such as welding and cutting with a torch or operations around radiant energy or intense heat.
  • Operations such as handling acids and caustics, or where gases,  vapors, or liquids are generated.
  • Any type of work done over your head.
  • Light emitted from lasers used in construction.

Many of these operations expose not only the employee performing the job, but also employees that may be working nearby. Fortunately, you can protect against these hazards by using the appropriate protective eyewear.  If your job presents an exposure to eye hazards, wear eye protection gear meeting ANSI Z87.1 requirements for impact and penetration resistance.  Select equipment that provides the best defense.  Safety glasses should have side shields and if possible upper and lower shields. Face shields and goggles can provide even better protection for some operations.

What to do if you get something in your eye?

Don’t rub it! Rinse with clean water and get medical attention. Remember your eyesight is a precious gift, don’t take chances.  Always wear eye protection! Don’t rub it! Rinse with clean water and get immediate medical attention.

SITE SAFETY – Guardrails as Fall Protection

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Falls account for the majority of serious injuries in construction. About half of all fatal falls occur in construction (1). The use of guardrails is the most common, and usually the most effective fall protection systems used on construction sites.

OSHA requires the following when using a guardrail system:

  • Top rails must be 39 to 45 inches tall
  • Mid-rails installed between the top edge and the walking/working surface
  • Toe boards at least 3.5 inches from walking/working surface
  • Capable of withstanding, without failure, a force of at least 200 pounds applied to the top rail
  • Mid-rails, screens, mesh, intermediate vertical members or panels must be able to withstand a 150 pound force
  • Whenever slits are used, the height of the top rail must be increased to equal the slit height
  • Steel or plastic banging cannot be used in a railing system
  • All systems must be smooth surfaced
  • Parapet walls less than 39 inches in height require additional guardrails
  • Wood guardrails should be made from at least 2 x 4s with spans not greater than eight feet of center
  • Wire rope guardrails must be made from 1/4 inch diameter cable or larger
  • They must be flagged every six feet with high visibility material like caution or surveyor’s tape
  • Manila, plastic, or synthetic rope is not recommended since they require frequent inspection to ensure that they continue to meet strength requirements
  • They are not considered an adequate anchorage point, as they are designed to support only 200 lbs. of force
  • Guardrails should be removed only when materials are being on-loaded or off-loaded.
    • Once the materials have been positioned, replace the guardrails immediately.
    • Whenever employees are assigned within six feet from an area with a removed guardrail, they  should be protected with the use of a personal fall arrest system (PFAS).
    • In addition, employees assigned to install or disassemble guardrail systems should be required to use a PFAS.
  • Guardrail systems are designed to provide sufficient fall prevention and allow employees to safely access elevated work areas without the need for fall protection system (ex. personal fall arrest system).
(1) United States Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary, 2013. 9-11-2014



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6993874-3x2-940x627Working outside during a storm can be dangerous. How well do you know the dangers of lightning? Check your knowledge against these lightning myths courtesy of NOAA.

Myth: If it’s not raining or there aren’t clouds overhead, you’re safe from lightning.

Fact: Lightning often strikes more than three miles from the center of the thunderstorm, far outside the ring or thunderstorm cloud. “Bolts from the blue” can strike 10-15 miles from the thunderstorm.

Myth: Rubber tires on a car protect you from lightning by insulating you from the ground.

Fact: Most cars are safe from lightning, but it is the metal roof and metal sides that protect you, NOT the rubber tires. Remember, convertibles, motorcycles, bicycles, open shelled outdoor recreational vehicles and cars with Fiberglass shells offer no protection from lightning. When lightning strikes a vehicle, it goes through the metal frame into the ground. Don’t lean on doors during a thunderstorm.

Myth: A lightning victim electrified. If you touch them, you’ll be electrocuted.

Fact: The human body does not store electricity. It is perfectly safe to touch a lightning victim to give them first aid. This is the most chilling of lightning Myths. Imagine if someone died because people were afraid to give CPR!

Myth: If outside in a thunderstorm, you should seek shelter under a tree to stay dry.

Fact: Being underneath a tree is the second leading cause of lightning casualties. Better to get wet than fried!

Myth: If trapped outside and lightning is about to strike, I should lie flat on the ground.

Fact: Lying flat increases your chance of being affected by potentially deadly ground current. If you are caught outside in a thunderstorm, you keep moving toward a safe shelter.



SITE SAFETY MEETING – TOOL BOX TALK : Avoiding Job Site Slip & Trip Hazards

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Slip and trip accidents increase during the cold weather seasons for a number of reasons, there is less daylight, leaves fall onto paths and become wet and slippery and cold weather causes ice and snow to build up on travel and work surfaces. There are effective actions that can be taken to reduce accidents regardless of the size of your job site:

Lighting – Make sure there ids adequate lighting for workers and pedestrians in and around your workplace. It is important that you are able to see to avoid hazards that may be on the ground or on work surfaces. Check lighting regularly and adjust to the needs and changes in the time of day or season.

Wet, decaying leaves and debris –Fallen leaves that become wet or have started to decay can create slip risks in two ways, they hide hazards that may be on the path or they themselves create risk of slipping. Put in place procedures from removing leaves and debris on site at regular intervals.

Rain water – Rain water is a hazard as is the ice that if forms when the temperature drops.

  • Be sure that wet external surfaces are slip resistant or appropriately treated to prevent slips.
  • Discourage workers from using shortcuts on grass or dirt which are likely to become slippery when wet.
  • Convert existing shortcuts into properly prepared paths or discontinue their use.
  •  Before installing temporary access, plan how pedestrians and workers will likely move around the site.
  • Many slip and fall accidents occur as people enter buildings walking through rainwater. Consider canopies over building entrances to prevent this. Used absorbent mats inside entrance on flooring which are non-slip.

Ice, Frost and Snow

  • Reduce the risk of slips on ice, frost and snow, by monitoring the risk and establish procedures to manage the danger areas.
  • Identify the areas used by workers and pedestrians that are most likely to be affected by ice including building entrances, parking lots, walkways, shortcuts, sloped areas and areas constantly in the shade.
  • Monitor temperature, inside and out and modify safety procedures accordingly and in a timely manner.
  • Keep up to date by visiting an online weather service and take action accordingly.
  • Install warning signs in areas prone to dangerous conditions.
  • Maintain areas to prevent icy surfaces from forming and/or keep workers/ pedestrians off these areas.
  • Use grit, salt and or similar treatments on areas prone to be slippery.
  • Covered walkways can be constructed for workers or pedestrians to walk through.
  • Use warning cones but remove them once the hazard has passed or they could eventually be ignored.
  • The most common method used to de-ice floors is gritting as it is relatively cheap, quick to apply and easy to spread. Rock salt or ice met is the most commonly used ‘grit’.
  • Salt can stop ice from forming and cause existing ice or snow to melt. Salt doesn’t work instantly; it needs sufficient time to dissolve into the moisture on the surface.
  • Compacted snow which turns to ice is difficult to treat effectively with grit.
  • Be aware that ‘dawn frost’ can occur on dry surfaces, when early morning dew forms and freezes on impact with the cold surface. It can be difficult to predict when or where this condition will occur.




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According to Traffic Safety Facts, 95% of the total crashes in 2009 involved passengers cars or light Trucks*. Nearly 95% of all traffic collisions are caused by driver error. These errors most frequently stem from poor seeing skills and habits, aggressive attitudes,, inattention, fatigue, and failure to use proven defensive driving skills are used. As a driver, the key actions to take as a driver are:

  • Be farsighted while driving. Look to the next block or down the road to determine traffic conditions so that you can make an intelligent decision regarding your course of action.
  • Take in the whole picture. Determine what is happening down side streets or alleyways. Vehicles approaching the intersection at a high speed or parked vehicles alongside the road are hazards you should recognize. Watch for break lights and any vehicular movement.
  • Keep your eyes moving. Always check your rearview mirrors for following traffic . Observe and obey road signs.
  • Maintain an adequate space cushion. While driving your own vehicle, you should have at least a three space cushion between your vehicle and that of others. Add and additional second if you are traveling over 40 mph. For a straight truck, you should have at least a four second space cushion; add an additional second if you are traveling over 40 mph. Also, be sure to add at least one second for adverse driving conditions.
  • Communicate your every move. If you are making turns or changing lanes, advise the other traffic of your intensions with your turn signals. If you see a red light ahead, get your foot on the brake pedal early to communicate via your brake lights that you will be coming to a stop.

*Traffic Safety Facts 2009



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Before Starting the Saw

  • Check controls, chain tension, all bolts and handles to ensure that they are functioning properly and are adjusted according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Fuel the saw at least 20 feet from sources of ignition.
  • Start the saw at least 10 feet from fueling area, with the chain brake engaged, and with the chain saw on the ground or firmly supported. Do not “drop start” the saw.
  • Check the fuel container for the following requirements:
    • Must be metal or plastic and not exceed a 3-gallon capacity.
    • Must be approved by the Underwriters Laboratories or the Dept. of Transportation (DOT)

Wear Approved Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • A hardhat with protective face screen attachment
  • Safety glasses with side-shields
  • Hearing protection
  • Ballistic chaps
  • Tall leather work boots with steel toes and anti-slip sole

While Running the Saw 

  • Keep your ands on the handles, and maintain secure footing.
  • Clear the area of obstacles that might interfere with cutting the free or using the retreat path.
  • Do not cut directly overhead.
  • Shut off the saw or release the throttle prior to retreating.
  • Shut off or engage the chain brake whenever the saw is carried more than 50 feet, or on hazardous terrain.