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.

Start Planning Today for a Stress-free Holiday Season

Presented by TP Mechanical | Provided by HORAN

While the holiday season brings joy and togetherness, it can also bring stress for many individuals and families. Top holiday stressors include staying on a budget, managing multiple commitments and finding the perfect gift. Fortunately, by getting organized and planning out what you can ahead of time, you can help reduce your holiday stress.

  • Write down any known commitments. Does your child’s school have a holiday concert? Are you planning on hosting a holiday dinner? Making a list of your commitments will help you plan your time and help you avoid double-booking yourself.
  • Create your budget now. If you’re stressed about how your holiday spending will impact you after the holidays are over, you’re not alone. Remember, the sentiment of a gift is much more important than the cost. Set a realistic budget and do not go over it.
  • Start shopping early. Do you already know what you want to get some people on your list? Don’t be afraid to shop early. Sometimes, you can get great deals on presents even before the holiday season hits. Moreover, you can avoid the scenario of not being able to get the gift you want because it’s sold out.

Though these tips won’t prevent all of the holiday stress you may experience, they can definitely can help reduce it. If you experience high holiday stress, try these coping mechanisms to get your stress under control.

Sales & Business Development Spotlight Job of the Week

This week, our spotlight job of the week is our opening for a Sales & Business Development representative, located in our Indianapolis, Indiana region.

To learn more about this position and many more please visit our careers page www.tpmechanical.com/careers.

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.

The People Behind TP Mechanical

THE PEOPLE BEHIND TP MECHANICAL

Introducing Matt Anderson, Business Development Leader – Commercial

While Matt is fairly new to TP Mechanical, he brings 20 years of sales and business development experience to the table. He is familiar with the major Ohio and Kentucky markets, having worked with architecture, engineering and construction contacts in the region for the past seven years.

Matt holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Thomas More College and has completed his OSHA 30-Hour safety training. To continue his education and extend his network, Matt attends a variety of events held by industry-specific organizations and trade associations, including the American Institute of Architects (AIA), American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), Allied Construction Industries (ACI) and Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC).

Matt prides himself on his collaborative work with general contractors, construction managers, architects and engineers to provide design assistance and realistic budgets, while developing and strengthening relationships that lead to greater project success and lasting partnerships.

Matt also assists in social media and newsletter content development to inform, educate and build relationships in the Kentucky, Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus markets.

Contact Matt at matt.anderson@tpmechanical.com or call him at 859-250-9777.

Key Safety Guidelines for Working in Confined Spaces

“Safety First, Always First.”

Utilizing proper safety guidelines while working in or around confined spaces on a jobsite is imperative to protecting our employees and clients.

OSHA defines a confined space as any place on a jobsite that has limited means of entry and/or exit, is large enough for a worker to enter it and is not intended for regular/continuous occupancy.

There are two types of confined spaces – non-permit-required and permit-required. A non-permit-required confined space does not contain atmospheric hazards or have the potential to contain any hazard capable of causing death or serious physical harm.

OSHA defines a permit-required space as having one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere
  • Contains material that has the potential to engulf an entrant
  • Has walls that converge inward or floors that slope downward and taper into a smaller area that could trap or asphyxiate an entrant
  • Contains any other recognized safety or health hazard, such as unguarded machinery, exposed live wires or heat stress

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, a total of 136 workers were killed in incidents associated with confined spaces in 2015.

“Our number one priority is the health and safety of our employees, clients, partners and the general public,” says Jamie Absher, Safety Specialist at TP Mechanical. “By doing things like participating in OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) and partnering with safety experts, we put ourselves in a position to prevent injuries like those that can be caused by working in confined spaces.”

Some of the key OSHA guidelines involving confined spaces:

  • Evaluate the workplace and clearly identify any permit-required confined spaces with the proper signage
  • Test atmospheric conditions before entry and purge, make inert, flush and/or continuously ventilate the permit space as necessary to eliminate or control atmospheric hazards
  • Provide, maintain and require the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) – including self-contained breathing apparatus and personal fall protection when appropriate – and any other equipment necessary for safe entry

For full guidelines, please refer to the OSHA Confined Space Standard, CFR 1910.146.

To learn more about our commitment to workplace health and safety, visit tpmechanical.com/about-tp/safety.

“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.