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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?

KEEP JOB SITES SAFE AND PROVIDE ADEQUATE PROTECTION OF THE PUBLIC!

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.

BE SAFE, PROTECT YOUR BACK, AND USE THE ABOVE PRACTICES WHEN LIFTING!

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.