Rising Temperatures Lead to Increased Safety Measures

For those of us who reside in Florida, the heat is a well-known safety factor when it comes to roofing and construction.  And with rising temperatures nationwide (and globally), the need for taking proactive safety measures has never been more apparent.

According to NOAA’s 2020 Annual Climate Report, the combined land and ocean temperature on the planet has increased at an average rate of 0.13 degrees Fahrenheit (0.08 degrees Celsius) per decade since 1880; looking at more recent decades, the average rate of increase since 1981 has been more than twice that rate (0.18°C / 0.32°F). While that may not appear to be much, even just the slightest increase in overall global temperature can lead to record heat, heat waves and extreme weather events, all of which have been on the rise.

Scientists have concerns and confidence in that global temperatures will continue to rise for decades to come. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which includes more than 1,300 scientists from the United States and other countries, forecasts a temperature rise of 2.5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century.

Currently, we are facing the start of summer, and according to Weather.com, temperatures will reach above average for the season across the U.S. A hotter than average June through August is expected from the West Coast to the Mississippi Valley and western Great Lakes. The northern and central Rockies into the northern and central Plains have the best chance for a hot summer, with the East and Southeast expected to be near or slightly warmer than average.

So, with all this talk of high temperatures, what can you do to ensure the safety of your team and crew members?  Here are a few tips and resources to help you take the appropriate steps to prepare your crews for the increased temperatures ahead:

Train Your Team

It is the responsibility of the employer to train all team members and workers on heat hazards, signs of heat exhaustion and illness, as well as first aid.  A good place to start is to check out OSHA’s resource for recognizing heat-related illness.  You may also choose to run a team training series and hire a professional like Brauner Safety Services to design and implement a safety program to keep everyone up-to-date and heat-ready.  Whatever method you choose, make sure that the training is provided in multiple languages to meet the needs of your crews and keep them safe and informed.

Timing is Everything

Keep in mind the 20% Rule – The rule states than no more than 20 percent of the duration of a new worker’s shift should be at full intensity in the heat.  As they become more accustomed to the heat, the duration of time at full intensity should be increased by no more than 20 percent per day until fully acclimated.

Another way to provide limited time in the heat is to stagger crews on site throughout the day, alternate crew members from interior and exterior areas of the project and follow “Water. Rest. Shade”.  According to OSHA, “Water. Rest. Shade” means that workers should drink one cup of water every 20 minutes while working in the heat to stay hydrated. In higher temperatures it should be standard practice for workers to take frequent rest breaks in shaded, cool, or air-conditioned areas to recover from the heat.

Know Your Resources

OSHA has a full website dedicated to resources that keep employers informed, as well as provide tools to educate their employees about heat hazards and safety measures.  In 2011, OSHA launched a comprehensive campaign to prevent illness and fatalities caused by exposure to high temperatures on the job.  You can learn more about  OSHA’s campaign to prevent heat illness by visiting the heat exposure section of their website, as well as find a library of helpful (and printable) resources in English and Spanish. 

To learn more about workplace safety and have a customized safety plan and training program developed to meet your needs, contact Brauner Safety Services.

Honoring and Participating in Workers’ Memorial Day

Every year (on April 28th), OSHA recognizes an important day for respecting and remembering all those who have lost their lives on the job; this day is a national day of remembrance named Workers’ Memorial Day (aka International Workers’ Memorial Day – #IWMD). For those of us in roofing and construction, we are well aware of the high-risk nature of the workplace and how mitigating those risks through safety training and education is key to reducing serious injuries and fatalities in the industry.

During Workers’ Memorial Day, we take a moment to pause and pay our respects to those who have lost their lives on the job, while recognizing the impact these tragic losses have on families, co-workers, and communities. This year, the day holds even more significance as the risks have extended well beyond the construction industry and into the lives of essential workers who have put their lives on the line every day during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those essential workers are not only on the frontlines in hospitals and healthcare facilities, but they also include grocery workers, meatpackers, delivery drivers, farmworkers, law enforcement officers, teachers, sanitation workers and more.

This year, Workers’ Memorial Day has also reached a milestone – Today, marks fifty years since the Occupational Safety and Health Act went into effect, promising every worker the right to a safe job. As stated on OSHA’s website, on this day “we remember and honor every worker who has lost their life to largely preventable fatal injuries and illnesses, and we commit ourselves to fighting to make sure that others do not suffer the same terrible fate.”

Although it isn’t quite possible to safely gather in large groups to share in this day together, one can still spread the message and remembrance by creating conversations around social media and encouraging people to take necessary measures to create a better tomorrow. Additionally, OSHA will be hosting a national virtual event via YouTube on Wednesday, April 28th at 2:00 pm (ET).  The event is open to the general public and will honor workers who have lost their lives on the job.  You may view instructions for accessing this event and other Workers’ Memorial Day events on OSHA’s website.

And while Workers’ Memorial Day only takes place for one day each year, safety for all workers through proper equipment, safety training and education should take place throughout the year as we work together to reduce injury, illness, and fatalities on the job.

To learn about how Brauner Safety Services can provide custom safety training programs to ensure that you and your crews are properly equipped and prepared for all conditions on the job, contact Brauner Safety Services.

On the Importance of CERTA Training

With all of the safety measures that roofing professionals have been forced to create and implement in the last year as a result of COVID-19, there has been an increased risk for falling short on industry-specific safety standards and training.  While the pandemic has put all workers (and all industries) at risk, roofing and construction remain high-risk industries that require regular training and reinforcement of industry-specific best practices in order to maintain safety on the job.

While the Fatal Four (falls, electrical exposure, struck-by and caught-in/between situations) are well-known and a given when it comes to addressing job-related risks and developing a comprehensive safety program, training that is specific to certain tools and equipment is equally as important.  The truth is that proper safety is multifaceted and requires dedication to learning and acquiring the skills necessary to identify risks, as well as understand the tools and resources that are available to mitigate those risks.

For this reason, we are focusing on just one of the many safety trainings that is essential for roofing professionals – CERTA Training. 

What is CERTA Training?

According to NRCA (National Roofing Contractors Association), CERTA is an acronym for the Certified Roofing Torch Applicator program. It is a training program designed to teach roofing workers how to safely use roofing torches.

CERTA training demonstrates how proper roof system configuration design and application techniques can result in fire-safe installations. In 2003, insurance industry representatives approached the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) to address concerns about increasing incidents and losses occurring from roofing workers’ torching activities. There was a clear need for focused safety training addressing torching activities, and as a result, the CERTA program was developed.

The current CERTA program provides the best practices and newest industry requirements for torching activities.  The requirements are met through a certification program where authorized trainers such as Brauner Safety Services deliver effective behavior-based training to roofing workers.  There is simply no comparable training program available in the roofing industry. 

Upon completion of a CERTA Training program with Brauner Safety Services, participants will be able to:

  • List personal protective equipment requirements for torching activities.
  • Describe basic first-aid procedures associated with torching activities.
  • Explain proper steps and procedures for handling propane gas cylinders.
  • Identify components of a torch assembly.
  • Demonstrate safe assembly, lighting and use of torch equipment.
  • Identify the key elements of comprehensive pre-job inspections.
  • Recognize hazardous areas.
  • Demonstrate safe torching techniques near hazardous areas.
  • Explain post-job fire watch and other safety-related duties.

From a business perspective, CERTA Training just makes sense.  The program offers business owners multiple benefits including but not limited to insurance savings, hazard/liability control, and improved employee safety.  CERTA Training lowers the risk for roofing contractors, assures compliance with insurance underwriting guidelines and reduces exposure of personal and corporate assets.

To learn more about CERTA Training and to schedule your next session, contact Brauner Safety Services today.

Three Ways to Build a Stronger and Safer Business

Job site safety has taken on more pressure, tighter compliance and greater scrutiny as the impact of the pandemic continues to change the way we work and operate as an industry.  It is well-known that the impacts brought on by COVID-19 have been experienced across the board throughout most roofing and construction businesses.  In fact, approximately 70 percent of contractors noted that they had projects cancelled due to the pandemic, and nearly 50 percent were forced to terminate or furlough employees (source: Association of General Contractors).

And while the initial impacts have passed for many, and most companies have transitioned and transformed their operations to meet changing demands, many business owners are still seeking ways to remain efficient and profitable under this “new normal”.  The contractors who are investing in the necessary safety training and solutions to keep projects active and the backlog flowing are finding that they are better positioned for both recovering and strengthening their businesses.

So, what are some of the ways that you can strengthen your business in the face of current challenges?  The answers may be many, but for the purpose of this article, we will review three “T’s” – Technology, Training and Trust:

Technology – Technology is rapidly improving and expanding, and when it comes to the roofing and construction industries, many tools can help in improving safety, communication and efficiency.  Such technology improvements include safety gear, upgraded roofing equipment and wearables.  With safety gear and equipment, it is worth taking the time to review your inventory, take proper maintenance measures, and make appropriate upgrades when an improved product is on the market or your current equipment has exceeded its lifespan. 
As far as wearables are concerned, they are still making their way into adoption by contractors, but use is on the rise.  Wearables can be built into PPE that you already use on the job, such as construction helmets or vests, making them a quick and easy addition to your safety protocol. Wearables can be in the form of various technology including biometric devices, GPS or location trackers, voltage detectors, and slip and fall sensors.

Training – As we’ve explored in previous posts (“Why Safety Training is Important” and “Five Reasons to Invest in Safety Training”), safety training plays a critical role in the success of a business.  With current conditions, safety has and continues to be at the forefront of everyone’s mind as it is vital to the success and strength of a roofing and construction business.  In order for safety to be top-notch, aligned with OSHA’s standards and best practices, safety policies and procedures must be understood and followed – This is where the training comes in.  The truth is that your safety measures are only as good as they are followed.  You can invest time and resources in developing a strong safety policy and protocol, but if employees are not properly trained and that training is not regularly reinforced, then your business is at risk. 

Trust – Building a culture of trust and inclusivity has multiple layers in any business, and when it comes to safety, trust is an integral part of the process.  Both on the job and in the office, employees must feel safe to communicate with each other and upper management about any issues without fear of impacting their status or employment.  Communication regarding safety can include feedback about job site conditions, equipment or other team members complying with policies.  It is also important that the efforts you are making to ensure team members’ safety is clearly communicated and understood.  By informing employees of the safety measures and resources available to keep them safe and successful on the job, you can build a sense of trust and security.

An educated and trained crew is a safe crew, and safety must be a priority for any contractor.  Through technology, training and trust, you can build both a strong team and resilient business that will be able to overcome the challenges of today’s pandemic, and tomorrow’s unknown.

To learn about how Brauner Safety Services can provide assessments and custom safety training programs to ensure that you and your crews are properly equipped and prepared for all conditions on the job, contact Brauner Safety Services.

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