Tag Archive for 'jobsites'

Be Safe — On-the-Job Safety is More Important Than Ever

By Andrew Wilson

As construction workers, we have essential jobs that help keep businesses running and homes safe enough to live in for people. As we get up and ready for work every day, we’re taking risks, and due to that we should be very careful and take as many safety precautions as we can. With that in mind, here are a few tips that construction workers should follow in order to stay safe when doing their job. 

Follow Social Distancing Rules as Much as You Can

Social distancing is one of the key ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. While it’s understandable that some construction workers may have an easier time doing this than others, it’s important to be doing as much as we can. One way that employers can help with this in industries where social distancing is difficult like drywall or painting is simply reducing the number of employees at each job. As a home improvement contractor, who runs ContractorAdvisorly.com, what I’ve been doing is reducing the number of employees at job sites by at least 25% even if that means the job takes longer than usual. 

Job site safety is critical. Always be aware of others in your immediate vicinity.

Research COVID-19 Symptoms 

It’s important to stay informed of the symptoms that COVID-19 causes. This can help you decide when you’re showing symptoms and need to stay home, or when you notice that somebody else close to you is showing symptoms. Staying up to date with the latest news and best practices can help you figure out if you’re being as safe as you can at your job. The CDC has a great resource here to stay up to date and learn more about the virus. 

Wear Safety Equipment 

Due to the dangerous environments that some of us work in, safety equipment is something that some of us already use. However, this sometimes leads us to forget just how important it really is and take it for granted sometimes. Remember that apart from wearing gloves and masks to keep us safe during the pandemic, we shouldn’t forget the equipment like safety glasses and vests that keeps us safe while doing our jobs. Which then leads us to our next point. 

Some situations are more hazardous than others. Take every precaution possible to be safe.

Remember the Basics

Sometimes when trying to follow new rules, it’s easy to forget the old rules that have always been there. You should remember to continue doing the same thing you should have been doing before this whole thing even got started. This means avoiding touching your eyes or mouth when you haven’t washed your hands, especially those of us who work in environments with a lot of dust around. Always covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze. Washing your hands with soap often.  

Avoid Sharing Tools 

Every worker should have their own set of tools that only they use. While this isn’t always possible, then you should at least be wiping down the tools with alcohol wipes after each use. COVID-19 is easily transmittable, hence you should be careful with who you are sharing the tools with and be on the lookout for symptoms to keep you and your coworkers safe.  

One other thing that should be noted is that workers with medical conditions should be taking even more precautions and be making serious considerations about their current work status. As the CDC has explained, people with previous medical conditions are at a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. While this pandemic is going on, we must be on full alert and continue taking safety precautions in order to keep ourselves and our families safe. I hope these tips help you stay safe while doing your job. 

Andrew Wilson has been working as a home improvement contractor in the Chicago area for over 5+ years. He has experience doing kitchen, bathroom, and home remodeling and all types of home repairs. 

You can reach out to him or learn more about him on his blog ContractorAdvisorly.com

This material appeared in the June 2020 issues of the ACP Magazines:

California Builder & Engineer, Construction, Construction Digest, Construction News, Constructioneer, Dixie Contractor, Michigan Contractor & Builder, Midwest Contractor, New England Construction, Pacific Builder & Engineer, Rocky Mountain Construction, Texas Contractor, Western Builder

Think Tank

Custom Water Tank Improves Efficiency for RP Development LLC

By Josh Swank

Creative thinking and the willingness to take a new approach is often what sets innovators apart from their peers. These qualities are also the fuel that propels industry forward. Construction is one of the oldest industries, but thanks to continuous advancements in technology, techniques and materials, today’s structures have come a long way from their humble beginnings. Each innovation is the result of someone searching for a better way – faster, safer, more cost efficient. Over time, the innovation can become commonplace as it’s adopted by others, but someone had to be the first to say, “Let’s try it this way.”

RP Development was able to maximize capacity on its Caterpillar 730 Articulated Dump Truck by adding an 8,000-gallon, custom-designed Philippi-Hagenbuch water tank to its fleet, increasing productivity nearly 40 percent for this vital task.

RP Development LLC is a relatively new player in the booming construction and development market in Washington state’s Tri-Cities area. From its incorporation in 2016, the company has taken a different approach. The majority of developers in the area simply buy the land and contract out the actual development. RP Development, on the other hand, purchases and develops properties using its own in-house demolition and construction crews, making it the only full-service developer in the area. By removing the third party, RP Development is able to streamline the process, greatly increasing efficiency for itself and for customers. 

However, the process only works if RP Development is operating at maximum efficiency. Relying on in-house construction and demolition teams means the developer can work at its own pace, without the added time and expense of coordinating with third-party contractors. But that also means the company is balancing additional overhead from equipment and labor. Ensuring efficiency is the key to a successful project, and, to do that, RP Development invests in the people and machines that can deliver the necessary productivity. Management embraces innovations that allow faster, safer project completions and carefully selects partners that reflect the company’s customer-focused values. 

The Philippi-Hagenbuch tank features a flow rate of 1,500 gallons per minute, meaning it only takes RP Development six minutes to distribute the entire tank load – 14 minutes faster than the previous tanks.

One area RP Development saw the opportunity to revolutionize their current process was water haulage. The high sand content in Tri-Cities soil creates a dusty environment on any job site. Developers and contractors control dust and add moisture for proper compaction by trucking in thousands of gallons of water each day. Adding an 8,000-gallon, custom-designed water tank in 2019, from Philippi-Hagenbuch, to its fleet allowed RP Development to maximize capacity on its Caterpillar 730 Articulated Dump Truck, increasing productivity nearly 40 percent for this vital task.

Sandy Slope

Even as a young company, RP Development quickly built a reputation for high-quality development services in the Tri-Cities area. This is thanks in part to a management team with decades of industry experience and a willingness to innovate. In just a few short years, the company has delivered more than 440 lots – both residential and commercial – and expanded its services to include demolition and redevelopment projects as well as first-time development. 

“Our success is a direct result of the dedication of our team and the high quality standards we set for every project,” said Stephen Bauman, General Manager for RP Development. “We’ve never followed the idea ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.’ If there’s a better solution out there, we’re going to look into it. That’s what sets us apart and allows us to provide better results. We knew our process for hauling water wasn’t as efficient as it could be. It wasn’t broken, but we felt it could still be fixed.”

RP Development was using two Peterbilt 367 On-Highway Trucks equipped with 5,000-gallon water tanks to haul water within its jobsites. Due to high demand, the tanks were constantly in use. A 12,000-gallon water tower filled the 5,000-gallon tanks in about 90 seconds, but with half a mile or more between the fill point and the jobsite, RP Development lost productivity with each trip. On the jobsite, each tank slowly distributed its load through a dual-head spray bar equipped with six nozzles and a cannon, attached to the back of the truck. The 500-gallon-per-minute pumps took 20 minutes to dump the full load. Then the driver would return to the water tower for a refill.

On a recent project, RP Development found itself hauling up to 328,000 gallons in an 8-hour shift – a task that would have required 70 trips and 17 hours with the old process. 

“The entire process could take more than half an hour per truck,” Bauman said. “It severely limited what we were able to accomplish on the jobsite each day. We managed to make it work, with great planning and flexibility, but we knew we needed a better solution to achieve our productivity and quality goals.”

Tanking Chances

RP Development began researching larger water tanks that would fit its unique needs. They found no shortage of models available from reputable original equipment manufacturers. However, there was no way to customize the equipment to fit the developer’s application. The search continued until CONEXPO/CON-AGG when Bauman stopped by the Philippi-Hagenbuch booth. 

“From the start, PHIL was interested in providing a solution, not just a product,” Bauman said. “Where the other OEMs gave us a spec sheet with limited options, the PHIL team pulled out a notebook and started writing down what we wanted.”

Philippi-Hagenbuch’s square tank design can haul about 20 percent more water than a rounded tank with similar exterior dimension, allowing RP Development to increase capacity without increasing the overall size of the tank.

RP Development partnered with PHIL for an 8,000-gallon, custom-designed, square-sided water tank to fit the company’s 730 articulated dump truck chassis. 

“The square sides were different than anything else we were seeing on the market,” Bauman said. “But once the PHIL engineers walked us through the science behind it we realized the benefits to capacity and overall safety are remarkable.”

The PHIL team explained that a square tank can haul about 20 percent more water than a rounded tank with similar exterior dimension, allowing RP Development to increase capacity without increasing the overall size of the tank. A square design, manufactured with heavy-duty Hardox 450 steel, also offers a lower center of gravity, reduces internal water churn and due to their internal baffle doors, allows for optimal water flow while minimizing front to back surging. These features increased stability and safety during transportation, which is ideal for an application that requires a fair amount of travel between fill and dump sites. 

The new tank features a flow rate of 1,500 gallons per minute, meaning it only takes RP Development six minutes to distribute the entire tank load – 14 minutes faster than the previous tanks. The tank design also incorporates six spray heads and a water cannon capable of pumping 650 gallons of water per minute.

“Just comparing volume between one of the old tanks and the new one, we’ve got 60 percent more capacity with the PHIL tank,” Bauman said, “But that’s just the beginning. We can carry more and unload it faster. Plus, with the cannon we can reach areas we couldn’t get to before. It’s revolutionized what we can do in a day.”

Crystal-Clear Results

A recent subdivision project allowed RP Development to fully test out the efficiency of the new water tank. The side-by-side Riverhawk and Sorano subdivisions feature a combined 309 residential lots. Between the two, RP Development needed to move an estimated 200,000 yards of dirt. During development, the PHIL water tank delivered an average of 41 full loads of water daily.

Specialized design features of the Philippi-Hagenbuch tank offered a lower center of gravity, reduced internal water churn and due to their internal baffle doors, allowed for optimal water flow while minimizing front to back surging. These features increased stability and safety during transportation, which was ideal for RP Development’s application.

“For the Riverhawk and Sorano, we were hauling up to 328,000 gallons a day,” Bauman said. “With the old tanks, it would have taken almost 70 trips to deliver that much water. Assuming half an hour to deliver, dump and refill, even with two trucks hauling constantly, it would have taken us 17 hours to match the productivity of the new tank. With the PHIL tank, we can do it in an 8-hour shift.” 

RP Development isn’t the only one taking notice of the increased efficiency. Other contractors in the competitive Tri-Cities region have reached out to the developer about the new equipment.  

“With any new approach, people are curious how it will turn out; so, from day one, contractors and developers have been watching what we’re doing,” Bauman said. “With the number of questions we’ve fielded about our PHIL tank, I’d say the competition thinks we’re on the right track. But we’ve always known that relying on our in-house team was the only way to produce the high-quality, customer-focused results we’d be proud to put our name on. Combining our experience with the latest technology – from an OEM that shares our core values – wasn’t an innovation; it was a no brainer.”

While other contractors and developers in the Tri-Cities area look to adopt RP Development’s model, the company continues to strive forward – maximizing its efficiency with a second PHIL water tank in the near future.

This material appeared in the June 2020 issues of the ACP Magazines:California Builder & Engineer, Construction, Construction Digest, Construction News, Constructioneer, Dixie Contractor, Michigan Contractor & Builder, Midwest Contractor, New England Construction, Pacific Builder & Engineer, Rocky Mountain Construction, Texas Contractor, Western Builder

June is “Safety Awareness” month and Caterpillar is hosting a series of three webinars – “BEYOND SAFETY BASICS.”


Webinar #1:  The Psychology of Safety:  Understanding Employee Behavior in Uncertain Times:  Learning the psychology of safety will help you understand the drivers of differing employee behavior. Especially during uncertain times, people behave differently based on a variety of factors, including what is important to them. Our experts help you understand these drivers and make a connection between people, culture and performance.  Presenter:  Jenny Krasny, Operational Risk Consultant, Caterpillar Safety Services

Available NOW https://youtu.be/YMg24qhmoAY               https://www.facebook.com/caterpillarinc/posts/10156882740245764

Webinar #2: Communication Strategy: Supporting Safety Through Words and Deeds:  Leaders, either by title or influence, constantly send messages that shape others’ attitudes and drive their behaviors. Intentionally or unintentionally, every communication and action from a leader tells a story about what’s important to him/her. Learn how you can build a strong communication strategy, especially during uncertain times, to demonstrate your commitment to safety and drive safe behavior throughout the entire organization.  Presenter:  Abby Fansler, MS, Communication Consultant, Caterpillar Safety Services

Available @ 12:00 noon CST, Tuesday, June 23: https://youtu.be/nIPTD2VhBn0   OR   facebook.com/caterpillarinc

#3 Live Webinar: Demonstrating Commitment: Taking Safety from the Office to the Frontline:  Leaders have a wide scope of influence and accountability, so it is critical that they demonstrate commitment to safety through both words and actions, just as they do for production. It starts with leading by example, but true leadership goes beyond wearing proper PPE and ensuring others do the same. Learn tips to create and sustain a culture of positive safety performance through leadership, communication, training and recognition.  Presenter:  Justin Ganschow, CHMM, CSP, Business Development Manager, Caterpillar Safety Services

Available @ 12:00 noon CST, June 30: https://youtu.be/h2z3tX82s8Y   OR   facebook.com/caterpillarinc

New ARTBA Safety Video Highlights Fall Rescue Techniques on Construction Sites

The transportation construction industry and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) are taking their commitment to safety to the next level with the release of a new training video to help significantly reduce the leading cause of death on project sites.
Falls account for roughly 1,200 annual fatalities on construction projects.  The video resource is designed to help contractors raise awareness of the severity of fall hazards and highlight the importance of safety programs to prevent them.  It highlights site protection and rescue techniques, creating fall rescue plans, emergency response, and mitigation of suspension trauma.
The 8-minute piece is the second in a series of “Just in Time” videos the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) has developed under contract with FHWA.  The first video, “Avoiding Blind Spots,” provides tips and techniques for training crews on how to avoid standing or working in areas around large trucks and equipment that cannot be seen by the driver.
Lane Construction Director of Corporate Safety J.R. Glascock and the Prince William County (Va.) Department of Fire and Rescue were key partners in the production.
“This video should be standard issue for anyone working from heights on construction projects,” said Bob Alger, chairman of Connecticut-headquartered Lane Construction.
“I found this training video to be clearly instructive,” said Nick Baskerville, lieutenant at Prince William Country Fire and Rescue. “It meets all the expectations we would be looking for as first responders.”
The new video was produced to coincide with what would have been the 7thAnnual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction.  While the physical activities around the stand down have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, construction companies as part of the stand-down will continue to break for toolbox talks, complete equipment inspections, review, update or create fall rescue plans or discuss specific fall hazards on the job.
Learn more about the full suite of association safety services: www.artbasafetycenter.org.
Established in 1902 and with more than 8,000 public and private sector members, the Washington, D.C.-based ARTBA advocates for strong investment in transportation infrastructure to meet the public and business community demand for safe and efficient travel.

Construction Enters the IoT Age

Uses Data-Driven Visibility to Improve Safety, Reduce Risk on the Jobsite

By Ian Ouellette, Triax Technologies

Construction projects are on the rise across the country – from the growth of mixed use buildings in urban areas, to major renovations taking place in higher education and K-12 institutions. How can contractors and those responsible for building maintenance ensure the safety of workers, occupants and the general public during such disruption? Many are turning to Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to gain greater visibility and control. 

According to market research firm, IDC, worldwide IoT spending will surpass the $1 trillion mark in 2022. It’s already disrupting many industries – from gathering sensory data on agricultural crops, trucking routes or the state of consumer appliances, to monitoring patient heart rates in healthcare. Construction has joined this IoT revolution. A study released by Dodge Data and Analytics, in partnership with Triax Technologies, found that nearly three-quarters of contractors surveyed believe IoT will help them control occupational risks, and about half expect it to reduce risks to the public, as well as financial risks and those related to property damage and construction defects.

So how is IoT helping to reduce risk, while increasing productivity on the construction site?  

Improving Worker Safety on the Chaotic Construction Site

Construction remains an inherently challenging environment, with heavy materials, machinery and equipment, as well as multiple subcontractors and tradesmen all working at once. 

Along with these challenges, a serious labor shortage is forcing general contractors to hire from an increasingly limited pool. Being short-staffed comes with its own safety and operational risks, and when builders rush to complete a project, corners may be cut, safety procedures may be overlooked, and more accidents may happen. 

Given this environment, it’s no wonder that it ranks among the highest industries for worker injuries. But, in addition to the potential for injuries, safety incidents on the jobsite can have significant business impact, leading to lost time, decreased productivity and employee morale, along with rising insurance costs.

To improve safety across the project chain, owners/developers, contractors and subcontractors, are increasingly turning to IoT data, gathered in real-time from sensors worn by workers or tagged on equipment, to gain remote visibility into what is happening. How many workers are on site by trade and sub; how many safety incidents have occurred on site; where did they happen and who was nearby, are all key questions that need to be answered. IoT technology and analytics are helping to answer these questions and more, replacing assumptions with real-time data. 

In addition, wearable devices are not only showing the available manpower and location of your workforce, but it also can help detect and document worker falls, provide tools for workers to report hazards/signal distress in the field, and communicate the need to evacuate in real-time, from anywhere on the site.

Contractors armed with real-time jobsite data aggregated from IoT-based devices can better understand – and if needed, change – worker behavior, safety procedures and how work is managed onsite to take a more proactive approach to safety. Instead of locking insights into paper logs or files based on subcontractor, project or region, IoT-enabled, real-time safety data analysis allows construction companies to share these project insights with other key stakeholders and apply learnings to the next project, enabling continuous refinement of safety practices and procedures.

Keeping the Public Safe

With construction projects on the rise across healthcare facilities, schools and mixed-use buildings, it’s not only the safety of workers that needs to be addressed, but also the security of the general public and occupants of buildings.  When workers are equipped with IoT-based wearable sensors that are compatible with access control technology, it can ensure compliance with regulations by granting entry through a turnstile only to workers with up-to-date training and certifications as well as authorization to be on site.

Further, with beacons placed at areas that are off limits to workers, such as student restrooms, patient hospital rooms or completed apartment floors, projects managers can see in real-time if a worker is near one of these places of interest.

Managing the Financial Risk 

Since time really is money when it comes to construction projects, IoT technology is solving another critical need by helping contractors manage financial risk. It enables them to keep track of, and effectively manage, the many moving parts on a jobsite – including people, equipment, tools and more, to keep projects on time and on budget. 

Contractors are beginning to use analytics, driven by data captured from IoT sensors, to improve efficiency on the jobsite, better forecast projects and keep them on track. For example, by putting sensors on equipment and tools, contractors can reduce the time wasted in tracking them down. This is a sorely needed capability considering that an average construction worker spends about 20 percent of their time waiting for materials, equipment, or information, according to a study by the Department of Construction Science and Management at Clemson University. 

As with many other industries, IoT is becoming the must-have technology in the construction tool belt. It holds great promise in providing the data-driven insights that can improve the efficiency of a construction site, and the safety of workers and the general public. As it continues to take hold and evolve, we can expect to see new uses, integrations and innovations that will help usher in a safer and smarter approach to construction.