Three Winter Safety Tips for Construction Workers

Three Winter Safety Tips for Construction Workers

The leaves have turned, the sky has gone gray and the temperature has dropped. Fall is officially transitioning to winter, and as it does, TP Mechanical applies our “safety first, always first” mantra to help construction workers deal with the additional challenges they face on the job during the colder months.

Whether its colder temperatures, inclement weather or increased jobsite hazards, winter presents several threats to worker health and safety. Here are three tips to keep construction workers safe in extreme and unusual work conditions.

Tip #1 – Stay Warm by Wearing Winter Gear and Limiting Outdoor Exposure

The most obvious threat winter poses to worker safety is cold and inclement weather. Being aware of daily forecasts and requiring workers to wear the right gear for the job are paramount to keeping them healthy and safe. Boots, gloves, hats, heavy coats, rain gear and more are all essentials to staying warm and preventing hypothermia. Additionally, providing workers with a warm environment for short and frequent breaks can go a long way in protection from the harsh elements.

Health issues, from as minor as a common cold to as severe as hypothermia or frostbite, are often more likely to pop up during the winter, and proper protection can’t always prevent them. Properly educating workers on what symptoms to look for may help them remove themselves from the elements before it becomes dangerous to their health and seek medical treatment sooner.

Here are signs and symptoms of hypothermia:

  • Cool skin
  • Slower, irregular breathing
  • Slower heartbeat
  • Weak pulse
  • Uncontrollable shivering
  • Severe shaking
  • Rigid muscles
  • Drowsiness
  • Exhaustion
  • Slurred speech
  • Memory lapses

The following are signs and symptoms of frostbite:

  • Paleness of the skin
  • Sensation of coldness or pain
  • Pain disappears after a while with the freezing of the tissues.
  • Tissues become increasingly whiter and harder.

Tip #2 – Inspect All Jobsites Daily

Winter weather often means snow and ice, creating additional fall hazards on a worksite. Snow and ice should be removed from the jobsite prior to allowing workers into it. Putting down salt is key to preventing slips and falls from refreeze.

During the winter, weather changes can often be severe and sudden. Precautions should be taken to ensure plans are in place if bad weather strikes without warning to keep workers safe (e.g., utilizing proper lighting and signage on the jobsite in case visibility is decreased).

Tip #3 – Prepare Necessary Vehicles for the Cold

In addition to completing a full inspection of any vehicles before they enter a jobsite, make sure they are stocked with necessities for dealing with winter weather. Supply vehicles with winter emergency kits including items like:

  • Flashlights
  • Extra Batteries
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Blankets
  • Ice Scrapers
  • Shovels
  • Tow Chains
  • Emergency Flares

These items aren’t simply useful commodities – they can be life-saving if conditions on a jobsite degrade rapidly without warning or if another emergency occurs. Make sure every worker knows where to find the kit in every vehicle on the jobsite.

”Safety first, always first” rings true year-round, but winter weather presents different challenges. Taking proper precautions on the jobsite and providing workers with the necessary gear and knowledge to stay warm and safe are critical this time of year.

For more information

Learn more about how safety is a way of life at TP Mechanical and then Contact Us to see how we can provide comprehensive mechanical services for your next project.

Fight the Flu with These Simple Tips

Presented by TP Mechanical | Provided by HORAN

The arrival of the fall and winter months signals many things, including the beginning of flu season. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu activity peaks between December and February.

Seasonal influenza can cause serious complications for people of any age, but children and the elderly are more vulnerable. To help keep your household healthy this flu season, consider the following suggestions:

  • Get the flu vaccine. Becoming vaccinated against the flu is the best chance of preventing the illness.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick and stay away from others when you feel under the weather.
  • Wash your hands often using soap and warm water to protect against germs.
  • Get plenty of sleep, stay physically active and drink plenty of water to keep your immune system strong.
  • Manage your stress and eat a nutritious diet rich in healthy grains, fruits, vegetables and fiber.

Time to Prepare Your Building for Winter

As we say goodbye to the summer heat, fall is an excellent time of year to review your building systems. Winter can create plenty of unexpected repair costs and emergencies, but a little bit of preventive maintenance and planning for potential system upgrades can go a long way in saving you future headaches.

Here are three routine checks to add to your building’s winter prep list:

Conduct a thorough inspection of all mechanical and plumbing systems.

Check that freeze stats are set at correct temperatures, freeze protection devices are receiving power and heating systems are properly operating. Verify the operation sequence of your chilled water cooling and hot water heating control valves is working correctly.

Look for ways to improve building energy efficiency.

Three common energy drains for buildings are poor insulation, malfunctioning units in semi-heated spaces, and poor or nonexistent system monitoring.

Replacing damaged and missing insulation or providing the proper insulation for your building and systems are critical to controlling your building’s environment and saving money on operating costs. Monitoring your facility’s temperature data to optimize system settings is crucial to maximizing your building’s efficiency.

Check roof and other drainage systems.

Time to clean out those gutters and drains. Snow and ice – even as they melt – can obstruct normal drainage paths. Obstructions
can cause damage and additional issues that can incur repair and service costs.

An autumn audit like this, with a focus on proactive and preventive actions, will help you identify and resolve problems before they are escalated to an emergency. They are critical to keeping your facility operating at peak efficiency.

To learn more about how our service team can assist you in your Fall Audit and how our preventive maintenance plans can serve you, visit www.tpmechanical.com/tp-service-group.

National Preparedness Month

Since 2004, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the national Ready Campaign have promoted National Preparedness Month (NPM) every September. NPM encourages Americans to take steps to prepare for all types of emergencies and strives to increase the overall number of people, families and communities that engage in preparedness actions.

The most recent data from the Red Cross, though, reveals that despite 8 out of 10 Americans feeling unprepared for a catastrophic event, only 1 in 10 has taken the following appropriate preparedness steps:

  • Create a family emergency plan.
  • Stock an emergency supply and first-aid kit.
  • Train in basic first aid.

Remember, you can’t plan when a disaster will occur, but you can plan ahead to be prepared if and when a disaster does strike. This September, take time to learn more about NPM and take the suggested steps to become properly prepared. For more information, please visit the NPM website.


Presented by TP Mechanical and Provided by HORAN

Do You Know the Signs of Opioid Addiction?

Opioid addiction is a growing epidemic in the United States, with opioid overdoses killing 91 Americans every day. In 2015 alone, more than 33,000 people died from an opioid overdose. Read on to learn more about opioids and to learn how to recognize the signs of opioid addiction.

What is an opioid?

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), opioids are a class of drugs that act on the nervous system to relieve pain. Common opioids include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids like fentanyl, and prescription painkillers like oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin) and morphine. Continued use (and abuse) of opioids can lead to physical dependence on and addiction to these types of drugs.

What are the signs of opioid addiction?

Being familiar with the most common signs of opioid addiction can help you or someone you love get proper treatment before it is too late. Physical signs of opioid addiction include the following:

  • Noticeable euphoria
  • Drowsiness, confusion or intermittent nodding off
  • Constricted pupils
  • Slowed breathing

For more information on opioids, opioid addiction and opioid overdoses, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s or the NIDA’s opioid webpage.


Article presented by TP Mechanical and provided by HORAN

“Back to School” Means Time for Water System Flushing

Safety First, Always First” is about more than the equipment we wear and the precautions we take on jobsites. Preventative maintenance goes a long way in protecting the health and safety of all from hazards that aren’t always visible. An example of this is water system flushing to eliminate Legionella bacteria or other contaminants in schools during summer break.

Legionella is known to survive and colonize in building water systems due to its presence in source waters. Hot water and water passing through older and lower volume systems are particularly susceptible because warm temperatures and thicker biofilm buildups are risk factors for Legionella colonization.

In general, concentrations of the bacteria in building water supplies are very low. However, when the conditions are right – for example, an older school experiencing an abrupt and steep reduction in water usage while on summer break – the chance for colonization exists.

Methods of Water System Flushing

Routine and systematic monitoring serves as an alarm to determine whether there is contamination and if remediation is necessary. The most common remediation techniques to eliminate Legionella in building water systems include:

  • Super-chlorination – introducing free chlorine (Cl) gas to increase Cl levels system-wide for a few hours to achieve a concentration greater than 5 parts per million (ppm) and flushing the entire system
  • Super-heating – raising the water temperature to 160ºF (70ºC) or higher for one hour for every ten years of water system age and flushing the entire system
  • Drying and flushing – disconnecting the entire water system, draining all the water and blowing hot, dry air through the pipes, and then reconnecting the water to flush the system

With every water system installed, TP Mechanical trains owners and maintenance personnel on preventing these types of water quality issues. We provide third party documentation showing we have met code requirements and are turning over a clean, safe water system.

With children everywhere heading back to school after a long summer off, it’s important to remember the words of Benjamin Franklin: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

For more information

Learn more about how safety is a way of life at TP Mechanical and then Contact Us to see how we can provide comprehensive mechanical services for your next project.

Have a Responsible Summer

Presented by TP Mechanical | Provided by HORAN

This August 18 to September 4, law enforcement will be stepping up their “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. This means police officers will be focused on spotting impaired drivers and pulling them over.

There were nearly 10,000 people killed in alcohol-impaired motor vehicle crashes in 2014, according to the CDC. This accounts for nearly 33 percent of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. Keep this sobering statistic in mind when attending gatherings with alcohol, like barbecues, beach parties or work events.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) created a smartphone app to help drivers who cannot safely drive home. The app can help tell you where you are, help you call a taxi or help you call a friend. Other useful apps include Uber and Lyft, as both can get you home if it’s not safe for you to drive.

For more information on the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, visit the NHTSA website.

Prevent Heat Illness

Presented by TP Mechanical | Provided by HORAN

There were 7,415 heat-related deaths in the United States from 1999 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These preventable deaths illustrate how important preparation is during extreme temperatures. Whether you are swimming at the beach or lounging in the park, you should be prepared for extreme heat conditions.

Stay Prepared

The CDC provides three easy steps to prevent heat-related illnesses: stay cool, stay hydrated and stay informed. This summer, make sure you have shade wherever you are going and have attire, like a sun hat or a thin, long-sleeved shirt, to avoid direct contact with the sun. Be sure to drink lots of water—more than you usually do. Your body quickly loses fluids in the summer more quickly, which can lead to illness. Finally, stay informed by monitoring the local weather forecast and prepare accordingly for outdoor activities.

Know the Signs

The two most dangerous heat-related illnesses, besides dehydration, are heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat exhaustion is exhibited through cold, clammy skin, heavy sweating and nausea. If you or someone shows these symptoms, move to a cooler location and sip water. If you or someone has a rapid pulse, hot and red skin, and loses consciousness, this could mean heat stroke, and you should call 911 immediately. In this latter scenario, do not give fluids to the person showing the symptoms. Do, however, move them to a cooler location and lower their temperature with cool cloths.

Grilling Safety Reminders for Your Summer BBQ

Presented by TP Mechanical | Provided by HORAN

Though grilling is an extremely popular way to prepare food in the summer, it can also be dangerous. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, gas and charcoal grills account for an average of 10 deaths and 100 injuries annually. Additionally, the National Fire Protection Association reports that an average of 8,900 home fires are caused by grilling each year.

This year, keep the following safety suggestions in mind when you go to fire up your grill:

  • Make sure your grill is at least 3 feet away from other objects including your house, trees and outdoor seating.
  • Remember that starter fluid should only be used with charcoal grills and never with gas grills.
  • If you suspect that your gas grill is leaking, turn off the gas and get the unit fixed before lighting.
  • Do not bring your grill into an unventilated or enclosed space such as the garage or inside of your home.

Do not let children and pets play near the grilling area when cooking until the grill is completely cool.