“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.

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.

We’re Number 1!

Our “Safety First, Always First” core value certainly rang true at the AGC National Safety Awards.

The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) named TP Mechanical as the National Safety Contractor of the Year for companies that performed more than 1 million man-hours per year.

Five AGC judges, including representatives from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Naval Department and Intel, based their decision on:

  • Company management commitment
  • Active employee participation
  • Safety training
  • Work site hazard identification and control
  • Safety program

The TP Mechanical staff is proud of our AGC award and the recognition of our efforts to live up to the highest standards of safety. We’re even prouder of the fact that our employees go home every night injury free, and our safety record helps deliver optimal results and cost savings to our customers.

Our AGC award is another important step in our journey of success. Moving forward, 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.

How We Expect to Build on a Successful 2017

TP Mechanical has been a leader in providing contractor services for large-scale construction projects ranging from factories to schools to hospitals since 1953.

We’ve built on this successful tradition in 2016, and we expect an even more successful future because of our safety programs, innovative thinking and technology capabilities for plumbing, HVAC and fire protection service.

Safety First, Always First

TP Mechanical has performed, as of early August, more than 2 million man-hours of work without a lost-time accident – nearly one-third the industry average. We work closely with OSHA, participating in its safety training programs and Voluntary Protection Program to reduce accidents on the jobsite.

President and CEO Bill Riddle says safety drives the TP Mechanical culture, and due to all these efforts, our 2016 safety awards include:

  • ABC | Step Platinum Award
  • ABC Employer of the Year Safety Award
  • ABC Award of Excellence for The Christ Hospital Orthopedic & Spine Mechanical Commercial $2 to $10 million
  • ABC Award of Merit for the Summit Country Day Mechanical Commercial $2 to $10 million

Innovative Thinking

TP Mechanical’s innovation and forward-thinking problem-solving are major drivers for success. “I think we’re on the cutting edge with technology and processes,” Riddle says.

One of our biggest innovations is completing almost 30 percent of our project in the regulated environment of our fabrication shop before starting work on-site. More than 60 employees staff the shop for around-the-clock operations, incorporating advanced automation technology such as automated welding machines and tracking software to ensure workflow is managed smoothly.

A Bright Future

TP Mechanical will continue implementing technologies, such as BIM for rendering projects in a 3-D model. Riddle believes TP Mechanical will continue to find success with a focus on innovation and a dedication to safety, “I believe that over the next couple of years we should experience continuous growth in our industry.”

We look forward to sharing that success with you in 2017 and beyond; please Contact Us for your next project.

Lead Water Poisoning

Presented by TP Mechanical | Provided by HORAN

Although lead-based paint and dust in older buildings are the most common sources of lead poisoning, drinking water is sometimes a source as well. This is mostly due to old, corroded pipes.

High levels of lead in the bloodstream can cause serious health effects, especially in children under the age of 6. Symptoms of lead poisoning in children include developmental delay, learning difficulties, irritability, weight loss, fatigue, abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation and hearing loss.

Since you can’t see, smell or taste lead in water, the only way to detect it is to have the water tested. If your home is served by public water systems, your local water authority should be able to provide this information. You can also use an at-home lead-testing kit.

If your tap water’s lead levels exceed 15 ppb, you can possibly reduce the threat of lead poisoning by doing the following:

  • Run cold water for at least a minute before using or drinking it.
  • Do not use hot tap water for drinking and cooking, since hot water draws lead from the corroded pipes. Instead, use cold tap water and heat it on the stove.
  • Invest in a home water filtration system that reduces the amount of lead in your water.
This article is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to be exhaustive, nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice. Readers should contact a health professional for appropriate advice. © 2016 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

Zika: What You Should Know

Presented by TP Mechanical | Provided by HORAN

A relatively new virus is prompting worldwide concern because of how quickly it is spreading across the globe. Also alarming is its connection to microcephaly, a neurological birth disorder. Transmitted by the aggressive Aedes aegypti mosquito, the Zika virus is rare because it can infect the fetuses of pregnant women who have the virus.

Symptoms of Zika are generally mild and include headaches, fever, rash and sometimes conjunctivitis (pink eye). Most people don’t even realize that they have been infected by the virus, which is why it is such a concern for pregnant women.

The Zika virus has spread to more than 20 countries since May of 2015. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning pregnant women against travel to any affected areas. Furthermore, health officials in several of those countries are telling female citizens to avoid becoming pregnant, in some cases, for up to two years. Several states have confirmed the virus in individuals who traveled to areas where the virus is circulating.

Researchers are working to create a Zika vaccine. Until then, the best method of prevention is to avoid travel to areas with active infestations. If you do travel to one of these areas, be sure to wear mosquito repellent and thick clothing that covers as much of your body as possible. Unlike most mosquitos, the type that carries Zika is most active during the daytime hours until dusk, and it also prefers to be indoors. This makes it very important to use screen doors and windows and to stay in air-conditioned hotels when possible.

zika-virus-symptoms

Protect Health, Provide Comfort & Save Lives

Why do we do what we do? We all know the pride that comes from being a part of an extensive project. At TP Mechanical, we’re honored to work on significant projects every day, playing a pivotal role in the construction of buildings with incredible purpose. We can point at that building when it’s done and say, “I helped make that happen.”

But for the team at TP Mechanical, it goes deeper than a sense of pride. It’s believing in and living the purpose, “Protect Health, Provide Comfort & Save Lives.” This purpose statement describes how we as mechanical contractors, service providers and fabricators are doing more than just making buildings.

We’re protecting the health of the people who will live in, work and visit inside these well-thought-out structures. We’re making places comfortable, and saving lives in the event of a potential disaster, such as a fire. We invite you to take a closer look at the three elements of our purpose statement.

  1. Protect Health. The World Health Organization notes that sustainable health is not possible without access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities, which we sometimes can take for granted. Quality plumbing fabrication, installation and service can improve the health and wellness of the people utilizing these facilities.
  2. Provide Comfort. At the heart of it all, heating and cooling services are about providing a healthy and comfortable environment for all occupants in a building. Indoor air quality and climate control are improved through the efficient operation of these systems. Our purpose is to provide that ideal environment for everyone.
  3. Save Lives. Fire protection systems save lives and protect property. In commercial buildings, a fire can have a devastating and deadly effect, but with properly fabricated, installed and maintained systems fires can be contained and more easily controlled, decreasing a potential fatal and catastrophic event.

At TP Mechanical, our work is driven by our purpose. We seek to serve our customers through our Core Values and our Mission Statement: TP Mechanical strives to be the premier contractor that builds everlasting value by transforming our industry through a culture based on safety, honesty, quality, innovation and servant leadership.”

Today and everyday in the future, we will continue to recognize what we do has real implications on real people; therefore the Purpose that TP Mechanical stands for is just as important as the actual work we do.

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

Take Our Winter Fire Safety Quiz

Safety takes on a higher level of importance as the winter months approach. As businesses, we need to pay special attention to the work environment to be sure our employees are ready for whatever Mother Nature sends our way.

Take this brief survey to be sure you are ready to protect your employees and your office:

When is the last time you had your fire extinguishers checked?

In the US, fire extinguishers in all non-residential buildings should be checked annually – and some municipalities require a more frequent check. Look at the tag on the extinguisher to see the type of service that was performed in the past and pay attention to the date. If it is more than 12 months ago, you need to have it checked and serviced.

Side view of a male mountain climber using laptop on mountain peHow much clearance do you have between the ceiling and your file cabinets?

When is the last time you looked at the ceilings in your office? It might seem like a silly question but piling too many boxes and supplies on your file cabinets can block fire sprinklers from working properly. Well-meaning employees might try to use all the available vertical space in an office so that the floor is clear of obstacles. This might have adverse consequences. Look upward and rearrange or get rid of unnecessary items.

Are your employees using space heaters?

As an employer, you need to balance the comfort of your employees with your heating bills. And the optimum temperature varies for each individual. Some may be too cold in winter and others too hot. One solution is that employees may use space heaters to keep their space comfortable. Have you checked your employees work areas lately to see where they have placed these heaters? You may find that they are under desks and surrounded by purses and shoes and umbrellas and near stacks of file folders. This is a clear fire hazard. Although modern space heaters don’t start fires as easily as those in the past, you still need to be smart. Give the space heater some air and make sure it is not too close to something that can start on fire. This is the best way to eliminate any risk. Also be sure your employees are turning the devices off each day or have an automatic shut off.

Where are the furnace vents and intake valves in your office and home?

You probably haven’t given it much thought. But keeping vents, intake valves and chimneys free of snow and ice in the winter is important to keep the heat on and prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s a good idea to have a functioning carbon monoxide monitor in your home or office, especially this time of year.