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.

Protecting Clients and the General Public from Job Sites with Proper Barriers and Signs

“Safety First, Always First.”

That is our first core value at TP Mechanical, and it is critical to carrying out our mission.

Safety on job sites is not only important to protecting our employees, but also our clients and the general public. A key component of keeping everyone near a work site safe is defining a clear perimeter by utilizing proper barriers and signs.

With the “Safety First, Always First” mindset, TP Mechanical adheres to all industry safety guidelines and standards. We protect our employees, clients and the general public on a work site by using proper barriers and signs to meet OSHA safety and health regulations as well as those set by the American National Standards Institute/American Society of Safety Engineers (ANSI/ASSE).

When protecting a job site, do:

  • Notify the public of any closed areas and clearly mark safe, alternative areas for pedestrian traffic
  • Maintain and keep pedestrian traffic areas well-lit so that slipping, tripping and falling hazards are reduced
  • Protect public areas adjacent to job sites from construction objects or debris with appropriate barriers, catch platforms, enclosures, perimeter or vertical debris netting, sheds, overhangs, scaffolding or similar structures

When protecting a job site, do not:

  • Block public ingress or egress routes (i.e., stairways, doors, entrances, exits, paths or hallways)
  • Let anyone without required special licenses, permits or operator training use associated machinery or vehicles
  • Store hazardous materials in anything other than properly labeled, approved containers away from the public

In September 2005, TP Mechanical became the first mechanical contractor in the U.S. to achieve the exemplary designation as an OSHA Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) participant. Our participation in VPP allows us to continually improve our safety and health management systems, and exemplifies our relentless pursuit of the highest safety standards for our employees, clients and the general public.

TP Mechanical Hits Another Major Safety Milestone

TP Mechanical has now surpassed 3 million man-hours without a lost-time accident.

By committing to our “Safety First, Always First” core value, we make it our primary goal to ensure our employees, clients and members of the general public return home to their families safely every night.

“We are more than proud to achieve 3 million hours without a lost workday injury,” said TP Mechanical Corporate Safety Director Rick Absher. “We are looking forward to reaching the next milestone as we continue to make the safety of our employees, clients and jobsites our foremost priority.”

Reaching milestones like this isn’t achieved by merely doing what’s required. That’s why we go above and beyond by participating in OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP).

Approval into VPP is OSHA’s official recognition of organizations that have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health—that’s why we were so proud to be the first mechanical contractor in the U.S. to receive this designation in 2005.

Through VPP, we’ve implemented meticulous safety and health management practices that address hazard prevention and control, worksite analysis, training, management commitment and worker involvement. We voluntarily submit to rigorous evaluations to identify ways that we can continue to improve our system.

Being proactive about safety is critical to protecting our employees and jobsites, upholding our core values and executing our mission.

As our streak continues, we promise to keep delivering “Safety First, Always First” – that’s the TP Mechanical guarantee.

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.

Safety: Ladders & Stairways

There are some hazards on the job site that seem obvious and some that need a little more attention from workers.

While the importance of ladder safety is communicated heavily at job sites, there are some workers and managers who unknowingly neglect to speak about the dangers of stairways.

According to OSHA, there are more than 24,000 injuries and as many as 36 fatalities per year due to falls on stairways and ladders used in construction.

The good news is that many of the accidents around ladders and stairways are preventable when the proper measures are taken prior to starting a job.

With Ladders

  • Use the correct ladder for the task
  • Never load ladders beyond the manufacturer’s rated capacity
  • Ensure that metal ladders are kept way from electrical work and overhead power lines
  • Have a worker partner inspect for any defects
  • Look for structural damage, grease or other slippery contaminant

With Stairways

  • Stairways must be free of dangerous objects, debris and materials
  • Cover stairs with threads to avoid a slippery surface
  • Stairways with four or more risers or that rise more than 30 inches need to have a least one handrail
  • Stair handrails must be free of hazards like splinters and nails

Heat Protection on the Job

Heat spells ‘hazard on the job’ for workers in the summertime. With the warmer weather moving into our area, the risks for heat-related illnesses increase, especially for workers exposed to humid conditions while wearing bulky protective clothing.

So, how do you stay cool during the warmest months of the year? Would you know the signs if heat exhaustion suddenly hit?

Hydration is Key

The absolute best way to avoid the threat of heat-related illness while working is to stay hydrated. Water is still the go-to drink in extreme heat. As for the amount of water that you will need to stay hydrated, new research suggests we should go beyond the traditional 8 glasses per day rule. Recent studies are saying that on average, adult males need about 3.7 liters of fluids per day (nearly 16 cups), while ladies need roughly 2.7 liters (or 11 cups) per day.

5 nutrition textures (fruits and vegetables isolated on white)There are other food options for helping you stay hydrated, including:

  • Fruits & vegetables
  • Sports drinks
  • Smoothies

What to Wear?

OHSA advises workers to wear light, loose-fitting clothing while working in extreme heat. Tightly-woven clothing works best for blocking out light, and the fabric should contain as much cotton as possible.

You should also be wearing sunscreen to block harmful sun rays. A sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 blocks 93 percent of UV rays.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for extreme temperatures can include a vented hard hat with UV protection, reflective clothing, body-cooling vests, and water-cooled garments. Workers should also be aware that some equipment can actually increase the risk of heat stress.

Knowing the Signs

Signs of heat exhaustion include disorientation, stumbling, slurred speech and unresponsiveness.

Other symptoms include:

  • Muscle cramps
  • Heat rash
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Severe thirst

 

TP Mechanical puts Safety First, Always First. Read more about TP Mechanical’s commitment to Safety.

Gamble at the Casino, Not on Safety!

Gamble at the Casino, Not on Safety! | By: Scott Teepe, Jr.

The real challenge with building a solid safety culture starts with a commitment to it on a daily basis. I truly believe as business owners that our number one priority is to ensure that each employee gets home safely, every day!

To do that, you, as the business owner, have to choose between hoping everyone stays safe or developing a strong safety program that promotes working safely and builds morale through appreciation. I hear all the time that our potential clients are too busy to schedule the class or can’t afford the training cost right now.

bigstock-Safety-First-Vector-7506065All of those are real problems, and we do our best to make the training affordable and convenient. However, you can’t afford to not invest in safety, for these reasons:

  1. You will make more money!  Not only is it the right thing to do, studies referenced by OSHA prove that for every dollar companies invest in safety they receive a return of four to six dollars.
  2. It’s the law. There are now criminal penalties that are associated with severe injuries to and deaths of employees. People are actually being sent to jail for willful violations when employees are hurt or killed.
  3. Liability. Lawsuits will happen when people are moderately or severely injured. Without training records, you are likely to lose those cases unless you can prove employee negligence.
  4. Employee morale and productivity. They go hand and hand with safety. When employees realize you are putting profit over their safety, you will lose their trust and they won’t work as hard.
  5. Workers compensation costs. Think of it this way, when someone gets injured on the job and miss work, companies incur costs for: lost productivity the day of the accident, lost productivity after the accident (while they are away from work), cost of replacing and training a new person, accident investigation costs, medical costs, TPA expense, possible attorney’s fees, possible claim settlement fees, internal cost of managing the claim, potential OSHA fine, potential loss of future work, and the cost of any damage to your material or the building. All of this for just one injury.
  6. Peace of mind. Ensuring that your company has a solid safety program that promotes safe work habits, provides the proper training for each job type, and holds everyone accountable for safety, will give you comfort and protection in the event an accident or injury does happen.
  7. Recruiting and Retention. People want to work where they feel appreciated and safe. By investing in your safety program, your current employees see that you at least care about their physical health. Prospective employees will notice your outstanding safety record.
  8. OSHA Fines. Repeat and willful violations can result in six and seven figure fines. Most fines are much less than that; however, the costs can be crippling.

Gambling on safety will always cost you over the long haul. It’s your choice to have a safe or an unsafe organization. Which will you choose?

TP Mechanical is affiliated with a premier safety firm. proActive Safety Services offers a free safety assessment to all prospective clients. If you are looking for assistance in establishing or managing your safety program, a safety resource for a period of time or just need a monthly safety inspection contact Tommy Watkins at proActive Safety Services by phone at 513-372-6232 or email at tommy@pasafety.com or you can reach me by phone at the same number or by email at scott@pasafety.com.

Safety first. We don’t just say it, we live it.

At TP Mechanical, from CEOs to project managers, from site supervisors to office staff, every TP Mechanical team member devotes time, energy and heart to our company’s promise to send everyone home to their families every single night. We do this by going above and beyond the standard requirements to create not just a safety program, but a safety culture.

While our track record speaks for itself, the thing that truly sets us apart within the industry is our Experience Modification Rate (EMR). The EMR is computed by comparing a company’s annual losses in insurance claims against its policy premiums over a three-year period. The industry standard hovers around an EMR of 1.0. So where does TP Mechanical rate on this scale?

Glad you asked… TP Mechanical boasts an EMR rating of 0.56. By truly committing our operation to safety protocols, our clients enjoy substantial financial savings when it comes to insurance-related costs. It’s like car insurance – safer drivers who have fewer accidents pay less. Through our team member’s combined efforts in job safety, they aren’t just saving TP Mechanical money; they are actively involved in helping the company make money.

“Twenty percent of workers’ compensation claims account for eighty percent of what insurance companies pay out,” states Larry Melocik of Melocik & Company, a workers’ compensation consultant. As a self-insured company, TP Mechanical has to ensure that everyone is on-board.

We are proud of our employees for ingraining TP Mechanical’s first core value of “Safety First, Always First.” Our employees have earned a number of awards for their efforts, including:

  • AGC Safety Award | State of Ohio Specialty Division for Contractors working 500,001 – 700,000 Hours Annually
  • AGC National 2nd place Award in the Special Division
  • BX Ohio Safety Achievement Award
  • OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP)
  • TP Mechanical surpassed 2.8 million man hours worked without a lost-time accident, as of November 29, 2013

Safety Matters at TP Mechanical!

TP Mechanical makes safety a way of life! As participants in OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) we’ve implemented meticulous safety and health management practices that address hazard prevention and control, worksite analysis, training, management commitment and worker involvement. We voluntarily submit to rigorous evaluations to identify ways that we can continue to improve our system. Our first core value is “Safety First, Always First,” and we will relentlessly pursue the highest standard so that we can send each of our employees home to their families every night, injury-free.

TPM-SafetyFirstAlways2_1-30-13We are proud to announce that, thanks to our team’s dedication to safety, we have worked 2,780,103 hours without a lost time accident!

To find out more on our safety program visit us at http://www.tpmechanical.com/about-tp/safety.

 

TP Mechanical hours worked without a lost-time accident are..

TPM-SafetyFirstAlways2_1-30-13As of April 5, 2013 our employees have worked 2,301,885 hours without a lost-time accident.  Congratulations for your continued success for upholding our first core value Safety First, Always First!