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Monthly Archives: September 2014

Demolition Hazards and How to Prevent Them

demolition hazardsWhen we think of demolition, we often think of controlled explosions with buildings collapsing into piles of rubble. But demolition is about much more than knocking down office towers.

In fact, demolition can be a way to renew communities, remove toxic hazards and support the efforts of disaster first responders. And contrary to common belief, not all demolition material ends up in landfills. According to the National Demolition Association, 90-percent of demolition materials are recycled, salvaged or reused, including concrete, metals, insulation, flooring, wiring, wood and even soils.

But while demolition is important to communities, it can also be very dangerous. As OSHA describes it, demolition is essentially construction in reverse, with additional hazards.

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How to Manage Confined Space Hazards

confined spaceGenerally, a confined space is defined as a space not designed for workers, yet workers occasionally need to enter the space to do their job.

Confined spaces typically have limited means to enter and exit. They also often come with additional hazardous conditions, such as poor air quality, chemical exposure, fire hazards, noise, moving parts, entanglement hazards, radiation, temperature extremes, shifting material and uncontrolled electrical energy.

Most industries have confined spaces in the workplace, such as boilers, pits, wells, tanks, towers, large pipes, bins, silos, mixers, dryers, vaults. (For a more complete list, see the U.S. Department of Labor’s confined space list.)

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Fall Prevention and Fall Protection – Why You Need Both

fall preventionThis past June, one million construction workers participated in the National Safety Stand-Down to raise awareness of fall prevention in construction. The weeklong event cumulated in employers and workers across the country pausing to review fall hazards and preventive measures. The topic is especially important as the economy recovers and construction activities increase.

While we often think of roofs and ladders as fall hazards, falls can also happen from scaffolds, stairs, openings and collapsed structures. And with all of these hazards, it’s important to have both preventive and protective measures in place.

(Not convinced? For a sobering reminder of the persistence of fall fatalities, take a look at the fatality map at The Center for Construction Research and Training).

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The Ebola Virus: Protective Measures For Healthcare Workers

protective measuresSadly, West Africa has been experiencing an outbreak of the Ebola virus, affecting Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. As of August 20, 2014, 2615 cases have been reported in West Africa. So far, 1427 people have died from the disease during the outbreak.

For the latest on the outbreak, see the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website.

The CDC states that the outbreak does not pose a significant risk to the U.S. public, and no cases of contracting the disease in the U.S. have yet been reported. Nonetheless, healthcare workers will be at the forefront of identifying and protecting against the spread of this outbreak, and effective control hinges on understanding the disease’s symptoms and transmission.

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