How do you keep your workers safe on a daily basis? How do you keep them from forgetting small safety steps they learned before they started a job a few months ago? Toolbox talks are your answer. Keeping the minds of your workers focused on safety and refreshing them on topics that are relevant to their daily jobs will keep your safety standards high and your number of accidents and injuries low. Today we’re going to walk you through a few reasons it is so important to have safety talks regularly.
No one is ever “done training”. There are always ways to grow, things forgotten, and new things to learn. The industry is constantly changing and evolving and without constant learning, your workers are going to fall behind with no way to catch up. Toolbox talks not only keep your crew up to date on the latest safety news but on how safety is changing and advancing.
How do you make sure those two guys that just came back from a week off about all the new changes on the job site? Do you rely on others to tell them? No, you should be holding toolbox talks to let your entire crew know about the new trench that was dug last night or the wires that are now live where you are working. This makes sure you not only let people who missed a day know but reminds everyone to be aware of the changes on your job site.
Reminding your seasoned workers of safe practices lets them go throughout the day with those safety tips on their mind so they are less likely to cut corners to forget to do the small safety steps that they would otherwise have forgotten. The more talks you have with your workers about safety, the more likely they are going to be safe throughout their job.
Toolbox talks not only allows superintendents and management staff to remind workers about general safety, but it allows lets the ground workers communicate safety issues or concerns with everyone else. If there are tools that are broken or outdated, this is a way to let management know they need to be replaced or to remind other workers not to use them. This is also a time to double check that everyone’s safety equipment is in good shape and working correctly. Opening lines of communication in a daily setting keeps small things from slipping through the cracks and going unnoticed.
Toolbox Talks are essential on a job site. Not only do they open communication lines, but they allow safety to be the number one priority in everyone’s mind and helps your entire company to embrace safety compliance.
Midsouth Mechanical has been doing business for over 25 years. We offer our industrial clients efficient and cost-effective fabrication, modification, and repair of industrial equipment. From preventive plant maintenance, designing, installing and aligning machines, our exceptional skill and craftsmanship set us apart from the competition. Our number one priority day to day is safety. To see our published weekly Toolbox Talks, follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.
Cave-ins are a serious risk and are much more likely to kill workers than other excavation-relate incidents. Other trench hazards include falls, falling loads, dangerous gases, and incidents involving mobile equipment. Workers should think of an unprotected trench as an early grave. About 1,000 injuries occur each year. Of these, about 140 results in permanent disability and 75 in death.
Here is an Example
Three laborers were working in an eight foot high, vertical wall trench when one side caved in, burying one worker and partially burying another. The third man managed to escape the trench unharmed. The partially buries man was able to escape with assistance, but the buried worker suffocated to death.
Why did this happen?
How could this fatal injury have been prevented?
Have you ever had an injury from a trench cave-in, or do you know anyone who has had such an injury? If so, what happened?
A competent person must inspect the trench for unsafe condistions before wokrers go in.
Trench protection must be provided. OSHA allows sloping and benching, shoring and shields like trench boxing.
Nobody works in a trench without a lookout standing by.
Rocks and dirt must be kept at least 2 feet away from the trench.
Today we celebrate those that are paving the way for women in the industry. These women work daily to change the status quo and deserve to be recognized for their hard work and determination. Studies show that women in leadership positions tend to improve decision making and although some of the barriers that were made to keep women out of the construction field have fallen, there is still a ton of work to be done and we are #pressingforprogress
Did you know that only 1.2% of all tradespeople are women, and only 8.9% of all construction workers are women! Of that 8.9%, 86.7% hold an office position. What can your company do to help women get into the field? Make sure your staff promotes gender equality every single day. In your marketing, show the women you already have working for you, let other women know that your company is helping pave the way for them to succeed.
As a woman why should you want to work in the construction industry? Well, there are many reasons. One is that it provides an opportunity not only to work all over the country but around the world as well. Another reason is that every single day is something new, so you’re constantly learning. There are many organizations and associations that support women in construction and joining these provides multiple opportunities to network, learn, and support and be supported by other women.
We are challenging everyone to work every day to welcome women into the construction industry and to provide equal opportunity for employment for everyone.
Here are some resources that promote women in the construction industry:
Midsouth Mechanical Contractors recognizes that fostering a work environment that supports the success of all employees is critical to advancing the companies ability to grow and deliver stellar results for our clients. We strive to offer competitive wages, benefits and optimum working conditions. We are committed to treating our employees with respect and dignity creating a culture that recognizes individual and team contributions, empowering employees to pursue personal growth and development. To learn more or apple click here: http://midsouthmechanical.com/careers/
Job stress is the physical and emotional harm that occurs when the requirements of a job do not match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker. Job stress can lead to poor health and even injury.
Here is an example
In 1990, a local court upheld a compensation claim by a construction worker who had difficulty keeping up with the pressures of the job site. To avoid falling behind, he tried to take on more tasks and often got parts mixed up. As a result, he was repeatedly yelled at by the foreman. He suffered a psychological breakdown.
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the amount of work you have?
How do you handle the pressure? (for example, do you talk with other workers, keep to yourself, or discuss it with your supervisor?)
Handling Workplace Stress
Tell your supervisor how you feel.
Reduce job stress by taking care of yourself
Engage in regular exercise, it is a powerful stress reliever.
Realize that your job may not be the best option for your personality or with your other responsibilities (such as children, school, and medical conditions).
Make sure you seed medical attention if you begin to experience the following conditions:
Comments Off on Buying vs. Renting Heavy Equipment
Maybe you’ve got some big jobs coming up soon and you decide you need to just buy the crane you need for one or more of these jobs. Would that be a good investment? How do you know? Buying vs renting is a tricky question in today’s world. There are pros and cons to buying and renting heavy equipment.
When should you rent your heavy machinery? The general rule is that if you are going to use it less than 65% of the time and don’t have somewhere to store it you should rent it. Renting equipment can come with many advantages. Most jobs have specific needs. For example, you may need a crane for your current project that has a 50-foot reach, but for most of your other jobs, you only need a crane that has a 30-foot reach. Renting equipment allows you to have specific equipment for specific jobs instead of purchasing equipment that could have gotten the job done without using as much space and fuel. If you rent your equipment, not only can you be specific on the size and type of equipment you need, but most of the time you can rent equipment with the latest technology.
Technology is advancing every day and it can be costly to try to keep up with the newest trends in your own equipment, but with renting equipment, you get to use the best technology for less than the cost of owning it. Possibly the biggest advantage to renting equipment is that service and repairs fall onto the rental companies shoulders and not yours. Not only do you need to have your equipment regularly serviced, but at any time something could break or get damaged at a job site. Are you prepared to take on those costs?
Say you are going to use the crane for more than 65% of your jobs and you do have somewhere to store it? You may want to go ahead and make the purchase. Not only is buying equipment cheaper in the long run, but there are multiple advantages to buying.
Owning equipment looks great to potential customers. Not only can they see that you have the capacity for their job, but they sometimes see a financially stable and more reliable company if you can afford to have your own equipment. Not only does owning equipment change the way customers see your company, but it gives you greater access to how you see your company. Owning equipment allows you to track how you do each job with the same equipment, allowing you to find what works best and how you can improve from job to job to save time and money.
Owning is not only cheaper in the long run, but you get a return on investment when it comes time to sell your used equipment. Another plus is that by owning equipment, you may get a tax advantage. Talk to your tax advisor to see if this could be the case for you.
It can be hard when deciding between renting and buying equipment for your company, but it all comes down to your specific needs.
About Midsouth Mechanical:
Mechanical Contractors and Industrial Contracting for over 25 years. We offer our industrial clients efficient and cost-effective fabrication, modification, and repair of industrial equipment. From preventive plant maintenance, designing, installing and aligning machines, our exceptional skill and craftsmanship set us apart from the competition. Our range of capabilities in mechanical contracting, design and implementation help us provide complete services for our industrial and commercial clients.
Contact us today for a quote: 776-884-3206 – email@example.com
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible gas with no taste or smell. It can become especially dangerous if it builds up in tightly confined areas. It is just slightly lighter than air so it can hang around in closed spaces. All fuels including “cleaner” fuels like propane create CO.
Here is an example:
A worker at a large, enclosed construction site died of carbon monoxide poisoning after he and six other workers were exposed to high levels of the gas. The site did not have enough ventilation and three machines were giving off carbon monoxide: a portable mixer, a trowel powered by gasoline, and a forklift powered by propane.
How could this have been avoided?
Do you know anyone who has suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning?
Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Ventilate all areas where fuel-burning equipment is being used by mechanical means to the outside.
Tune and maintain engines and other equipment regularly.
Provide at-risk workers with small CO monitors that can be worn and alarm when the safe level is exceeded.
Never use a generator indoors or in an enclosed or partially enclosed spaces such as garages, crawl spaces, and basements.
Open windows and doors in an enclosed space to help reduce CO buildup.
Consider using a home CO detector, if no other monitoring device is available.
Know the warning signs of CO exposure, such as a headache, faintness, dizziness, confusion, nausea, and irregular heartbeat.
NEVER ignore these signs when working around fuel burning equipment.
Give immediate medical attention to workers who have been exposed to carbon monoxide.
Comments Off on Why You Should Be Prepared for Change Orders on Every Job
Change orders are something contractors deal with every day. Change orders lead to increased costs, time, and labor and can be a huge cause for arguments between a contractor and client. The best way to manage a change order is to be prepared. Talk with your customer beforehand about how you’re going to handle a change order, prepare them for the changes that can occur so you’re both on the same page when the project begins. Some of the biggest causes for change orders are:
Wrong specifications in the original contract
If the original drawings had the wrong details, this could cause serious defects in the plan. Make sure to include accurate drawings in your plans and get it approved by your customer as well as making sure you approve of the design details. Not only can the specifications in the design drawing be incorrect, but if you do not plan for the correct project environment, you could order wrong equipment and bring the wrong labor.
Delivery delays are inevitable at some point. If your equipment or supplies do not arrive on time, you can’t begin work on your project. Not only are you behind schedule but now you’ve paid for extra labor to show up when they can’t start yet. There is no way to prevent delivery delays, but it is always good to be prepared for them. Track your delivery in every way possible, that way if there is going to be a delay, you might know beforehand so you can make changes to your labor schedule.
One of the most common unforeseen conditions that require a change order is soil conditions. You can do soil studies to try and prepare for your job, but once you arrive, it could still be completely different than what you planned for.
Incorrect budgets or schedules
Creating a schedule is one of the largest planning steps when preparing for a project. Some projects may be harder to plan for, so when you get halfway done with the project and realize you’re going to be working 2 weeks longer than expected what do you do? This is when you have to put in a change order. It’s not always easy to plan a schedule so when going into a project, be prepared or plan for the project to change schedule.
A design change can come from any party in the contract and can be necessary or not necessary. Sometimes, as a contractor, you may see something that you’ve seen before that may not work as well and you could suggest something to your customer that would work better. Other times, you may start a project that is still in the on-going design process and your customer may change something in the design. This can lead to multiple change orders in one project.
The moral of the story is: change orders will happen! The best way to handle them is to prepare yourself so when something does happen, you have a plan in place to calmly resolve the issue. As you tackle more change orders, you will find a process that works best for your company, making change orders easier to navigate. Change orders can be a pain, but there is no reason to not be prepared.
Aerial lifts are vehicle-mounted devices that allow workers to perform work above the ground. Construction workers involved in aerial lift accidents could face falls, broken bones and death. Approximately 26 construction workers die each year from using aerial lifts. More than half the deaths involve boom-supported lifts, such as bucket trucks and cherry pickers. These require a body harness with an energy-absorbing lanyard connected to an anchor point provided by the manufacturer. Most of the remaining deaths are electrocutions, falls, and tip-overs involving scissor lifts. OSHA requires full guardrails on scissor lifts.
Here is an example:
Al was working in the aerial lift bucket repairing a sign near some electrical wires. The base of the lift had not been positioned on a flat surface. At one point the lift shifted and one edge caught the electrical wires. Al was shocked by the current and fell 20 feet to the ground. He died as a result of the injuries.
Why did this accident happen?
How could this injury have been prevented?
Have you ever had an injury from aerial lifts or know someone who has had an injury from aerial lifts? If so, what happened?
Preventing Injuries from Aerial Lifts
Before operating an aerial lift:
Check operating and emergency controls.
Check safety devices such as outriggers, guardrails, and personal fall protection equipment.
Look for leaks of air, hydraulic fluid, and fuel.
Look for a level surface that won’t shift. Never exceed the manufacturer’s slope limits.
Look for hazards such as holes, bumps, debris and overhead power lines.
Set outriggers, brakes, and wheel chocks, even if on a level surface.
If working near traffic, set up work zone warnings using cones and signs.
While Operating an Aerial Lift:
Always close lift platform chains or doors
Always wear fall arrest equipment with lanyard attached to a designated anchor point.
Always stand on the floor of the bucket. Do not climb on or lean over guardrails.
Do not exceed to load limits.
Do not drive an aerial lift with the lift extended, unless designated for that purpose.
Comments Off on What is lean management and how can it help your business?
So, what is lean management?
Lean management is an approach to running a business that focuses on continuous improvement. Lean looks to eliminate waste by looking at a process and cutting out steps that do not create value. Although the roots of lean management are in manufacturing, lean can be applied to all types of businesses. When using the lean management approach, you should be looking at every step of your processes. The principles of lean will help you go through each process and determine which steps create value and which steps do not.
The 5 principles of lean are:
Identify value in the eyes of the customer: making sure you know what is valuable to the company and why.
Identify the value stream for each product: identifying each step in the process of making a product.
Optimize the end to end process: this is where you eliminate steps that do not create value.
Let customer pull flow upstream: this means not making excess product and letting customers pull products so that they arrive just in time.
Continuously improve to perfect each value stream: lean is not a static system and must be constantly changing and chasing perfection.
Where can these principles help your business reduce waste? Waste normally means material that is not wanted, but in the lean management world, waste can be one of many things:
Defects: mistakes that require additional time money or resources
Overproduction: when more than the required amount of a product or service is made or available causing capital or space to be tied up.
Waiting: this can be when working has to stop or when working cannot begin because someone or something was unprepared.
Not utilizing talent: when the wrong person is assigned to a task he or she is not specialized in so their talents are not being used to their full potential.
Transportation: this is caused by moving things around when it is not necessary.
Inventory: when there is an excess of supply without demand
Motion: any excess movement by employees or machines that do not add value to a product.
Excess Processing: when processes have more than the required steps or poorly designed processes.
These types of waste can be easily remembered because they stand for DOWNTIME and any downtime is bad for your business. Downtime increases your costs, time, and resource usage. Using the lean principles to correct and continue correcting your processes can help your business save in all of these areas.
Comments Off on 5 Things To Look For When Selecting A Mechanical Contractor
So, your company is growing and you need to expand your warehouse? Or maybe you just started a company and are looking to build your first factory so you can get production started. How do you go about finding a contractor that fits your needs?
Even if you don’t know much about contractors or what they can do, there are some simple questions you can ask to make sure you select the right contractor for your business.
1. Is the company organized? When you call or email them, do they respond in a timely manner? Any company that doesn’t have time for you probably doesn’t have time for your project. When you do talk to them are they prepared? Do they remember the small details of your project? Your contractor should pay close attention to detail so they know they specifics of your job. If you hire a contractor that doesn’t pay attention to the small details, you are probably going to run into issues before, during, and even after your project is completed making it costlier for you in the long run.
2. Does the company have experience? Have they done a project like yours before? Has your contractor had experience installing equipment in your service field or are you their guinea pig. A contractor with experience is going to be able to prevent problems before they occur and be better equipped to solve a problem if one does come up during construction. If they have done a project like yours before was it done well? Ask for references. If they can’t give you any, odds are it wasn’t.
3. Does the company have the capacity for your project? Do they have access to the type and amount of materials you need? At what cost? Do they have a large enough work force for your project? Are they having to hire outside labor to complete a project of your size? If so, are they using labor they know and trust, or are they stretching their means and having to hire the only labor they can find.
4. Is the company safe? Check their safety ratings and certifications. How do they practice safety daily? Are their employees trained to be safe on the job? Don’t be afraid to ask your contractor these questions. A good contractor will be glad to answer you.
5. Can the company deliver within your budget and schedule? Review the detailed estimate. How does it compare to other estimates you have received or projects you have done in the past? Make sure you receive a detailed schedule. Can they get your project done in time? Do they have the capabilities to overcome a setback and still make sure your project is done by the set date?
When it comes down to it, this is your project and you have to pick the best contractor for you and your company. Don’t compromise your standards because the cheapest contractor doesn’t have standards as high.
Here at Midsouth Mechanical, we strive to be best in class in each of these five areas. To learn more about what we do and our experience visit: midsouthmechanical.com