Recognition for exceptional projects is a great way to earn new business. Members of the AGC can submit their projects for consideration to receive a regional Building Excellence Award. The AGC of America also hosts the Build America Awards annually and one winner receives automatic submission to the national awards. Visit www.buildersassociation.com to see the list of this year’s winners and finalists, and find out if local firms, Carson-Mitchell, Inc. and R.E. Smith Construction Company, took home top prizes.
As it gets hotter, how can workers best protect themselves from heat stress?
Dangerous heat exposure can occur indoors or outdoors. There are a range of heat illnesses, and they can affect anyone, regardless of age or physical condition. Almost 75% of heat illness fatalities happen during the first week of work. By taking frequent breaks and working shorter shifts, workers can build a tolerance to the heat gradually over time. The process of building tolerance is called heat acclimatization. Lack of acclimatization represents a major risk factor for fatal outcomes. Safe work practices include:
• 20% rule: On the first day in a hot environment, limit time working during the hottest part of day to 20% of the shift and increase by up to 20% a day until acclimated to the heat.
• Drink cool water: Drink at least one cup every 20 minutes, even if you are not thirsty.
• Rest breaks: Take time to recover from heat in a shady or cool location.
• Dress for the heat: Wear a hat and light-colored, loose-fitting, breathable clothing, if possible.
• Watch out for each other: Monitor yourselves and one another for signs of heat illness. Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related health problem. It occurs when the body’s temperature regulating system fails and body temperature rises to critical levels. Heat stroke is a medical emergency that may rapidly result in death. Confusion, slurred speech or unconsciousness are signs of heat stroke. When these types of symptoms are present, call 911 immediately, and cool the worker with ice or cold water until help arrives. Act quickly! When in doubt, call 911. Visit www.buildersassociation.com for more heat safety resources.
With midterm elections around the corner, how can I be sure those elected are friendly to the construction industry?
One of the core member services of The Builders’ Association is to advocate on behalf of commercial construction firms. In 2020, for example, Allen Dillingham, The Builders’ government relations director, worked with decision-makers and industry leaders locally and nationally to ensure construction was considered an essential industry and could keep working during early pandemic lockdowns.
Locally, the Builders’ Association Political Action Committee (BAPAC) supports candidates who are knowledgeable about the construction industry and share our views on legislation that may be critical to the industry and our members. Your company is often directly affected by decisions made by state and local elected officials, which is why it is critically important to have input into the decision-making processes at all levels of government. Construction firms are encouraged to get involved and contact elected officials directly when important issues surface. Builders’ often provides tools and resources to make it easier to do this outreach for key issues.
On May 13, you can join me for our Baseball for BAPAC fundraiser at the Springfield Cardinals game to support the work of BAPAC while networking with industry colleagues.
Visit www.buildersassociation.com for more about the advocacy work of Builders’ and register for the event or contact me directly to learn how you can get involved with the Southern Missouri region’s BAPAC efforts.
How can we make sure there are enough well qualified construction workers in the workforce pipeline?
Our association is committed to workforce development in our region and supports a variety of initiatives to help ensure a well-trained pipeline leading to fulfilling construction careers exists in southern Missouri. Builders’ participates in Build My Future, an annual career expo event with hundreds of student participants.
The Build My Future Career Expo was created to show high school students potential career opportunities in construction and to shed light on the industry’s meaningful and well-paying jobs available. In its inaugural year, Build My Future hosted 900 students and by 2019 participation had more than doubled. The Build My Future Committee, in which Builders’ participates, includes a mix of government, private industry, nonprofit, education and union representatives. Today, Build My Future is one of the largest events of its kind in the country. The Springfield Build My Future Collaborative invites schools from across southern Missouri to participate in a day of hands-on exhibits, including activities representing architecture, construction, bricklaying, heavy equipment operating, virtual reality simulations, welding and more. To get involved with Build My Future, taking place April 13 this year, reach out to me directly or check out www.buildersassociation.com to learn more about our workforce development efforts!
Is there an OSHA temporary standard in place requiring COVID-19 vaccination or testing for companies with over 100 employees?
If there’s one thing that remains consistent about this pandemic, it’s that nothing remains consistent. OSHA withdrew its COVID-19 vaccination or testing emergency temporary standard (ETS) applicable to private businesses with 100 or more employees in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision. However, the agency will pursue a more tailored, permanent standard applicable to health care. To stay up to date with changing pandemic policy and safety protocols, Builders’ publishes a COVID-19 updates newsletter weekly. With Builders’ weekly COVID-19 Updates email, you'll get the latest information regarding the pandemic, including: Developments regarding government vaccination and testing requirements. Updates on the status of pandemic-related litigation. The latest guidance regarding quarantine and isolation. Local orders related to the pandemic. To see the latest pandemic updates, visit the COVID-19 Action Center at www.buildersassociation.com, or reach out to me directly to find out how you can get the COVID-19 updates newsletter delivered straight to your inbox!
Should I consider requesting a construction job site inspection by a safety professional?
Prevention is the best medicine. Job site inspections add immediate value, have the long-term benefit of improving your organization’s safety culture, and can prevent problems down the road. Builders’ safety professionals who perform these inspections will offer assistance and recommendations for your safety and compliance programs. Visit buildersassociation.com to get started or reach out to me directly!
Instead of hiring someone, is it OK to have my employees put lights on our office building or at a job site?
To make sure the “most wonderful time of the year” doesn’t become soured with injuries, you’ll want to make sure safety is your top priority when it comes to holiday decorations. Consider these precautions when making your office or job sites festive: If you want to install lights at an elevated height, use a contractor with the proper training and equipment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 5,822 falls requiring medical attention occur each year while installing holiday decorations (majority of these falls are from roofs and ladders).
- Use flame-resistant decorations.
- Inspect lights for damage before use, and ensure they are rated appropriately (indoor and outdoor).
- If using candles, place the candles clear of combustibles and out of reach of children. According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than one-third of home décor fires are started by candles.
- Don’t place decorations in exit paths and ensure doors in exit paths are not impaired by decorations.
- Special regulations apply to some occupancies related to Christmas trees and decorations, such as health care, business, educational and hotel occupancies. See NFPA standards for specific requirements.
For more holiday safety tips or safety help on your job site, reach out to me directly! You can also visit www.buildersassociation.com for more information.