May 8, 2017
May 5, 2017
A craft worker at the Pima Animal Care Center in Tucson.
Safety Week might be over but Sundt’s commitment to safety never really ends.
Last week, we joined a large portion of the construction world celebrating Safety Week, a collective effort to raise awareness of the industry’s continuing commitment to eliminating worker injury and communicate its dedication to a shared culture of care and concern.
We spent the week hosting seminars and demonstrations on subjects ranging from tool-tethering to silica dust awareness. Employee-owners from our numerous job sites and offices took part in safety-related activities. This was our third year as an event sponsor.
Our Safety By Choice program lasts the entire year, encouraging employees to think about why they should make safe choices. Those decisions will enable us to reach one year without a recordable incident on a pair of job sites this week: Tuesday at Banner-University Medical Center in Tucson and Wednesday at the Fort Bliss Replacement Hospital in Texas.
Every week is Safety Week at Sundt. It’s the No. 1 priority whenever we start work on a project or go through our daily activities at the office.
May 4, 2017
Crews at our Wichita Falls Independent School District job site take part in a Safety Week session about falling tools and debris.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 50,000 “struck by falling object” OSHA recordable incidents every year in the U.S. That’s one injury caused by a dropped object every 10 minutes.
The importance of securing tools and cutting down on work debris were stressed during Safety Week at our job sites this week. Something as light as a 2-pound hammer falling 4 feet can create 250 pounds of force, enough to cause significant injuries.
“The crews were excited about the topic,” said Project Engineer Tyler Persyn, who attended the safety demonstration at our Wichita Falls Independent School District Career and Technical Education Center project.
Dropped tools or flying debris also result in lost productivity as workers stop to retrieve objects or near-misses are investigated. Tools and the structure being worked on can also be damaged.
We already use tool tethers, toe boards along the edges of buildings and fencing or netting attached to guardrails to prevent falling items from striking someone or something below. On larger projects, concrete or similar work with extended edge exposure is usually scheduled at night when other trades are off site.
On the ground, we often use flagging and barricades below elevated work to keep personnel clear of hazards.
The mission of Safety Week is to collectively raise the awareness of the construction industry’s continuing commitment to eliminating worker injury and communicate its dedication to a shared culture of care and concern. This is the third year we have served as a sponsor of the event.
May 3, 2017
A vendor demonstrates ways to eliminate silica dust at Sundt’s Las Cruces High School job site.
Small amounts of dust can cause big problems on construction sites. To further make the point, Sundt dedicated a day during Safety Week to concentrate on the hazards of silica at our job sites across the Southwest.
Silica is a mineral commonly found in many materials on construction sites, including soil, sand, concrete, masonry, rock, granite and landscaping. The dust created by cutting, grinding, drilling or disturbing these materials can contain small crystalline silica particles. Respirable silica dust can cause lung disease. It only takes a small amount of airborne silica dust to create a health hazard.
“In preparation to comply with new OSHA standards and protect our employees from exposure to silica dust, we have been testing numerous tools for drilling, grinding, chipping and cutting of concrete,” said Sundt Area Safety Manager Jerri Dragt. “The tools must either capture the silica dust or wet methods must be used to control the dust from becoming airborne.”
Workers at our Las Cruces High School Phase 2 project watched demonstrations on dust-busting products earlier this week. Many of the tools have vacuum attachments and filters, capturing the dust before it enters the air. Our Concrete Division is testing the tools with different manufacturers to see which ones best serve its needs.
There also are attachments for tools that spray water at the point of the cutting tool for saws. When chipping or jackhammering, a constant spray of water is beneficial.
The hazards of silica dust and the recommended controls are also a regular topic for our weekly safety meetings. The most important part of the discussion is eliminating the dust in the first place.
The mission of Safety Week is to collectively raise the awareness of the construction industry’s continuing commitment to eliminating worker injury, and to communicate its dedication to a shared culture of care and concern. This is the third year we have served as a sponsor of the event.
May 2, 2017
Anyone working at a height of 6 feet or greater is required by Sundt to wear a full arrest system.
Employee-owners at Sundt’s Stone Oak Park & Ride job site in San Antonio got a little lift earlier this week.
Representatives from 3M were there showing the benefits of their fall protection systems as contractors across the country celebrate Safety Week. The systems are harnesses that attach to workers’ backs and tie off to a sturdy part of the structure under development. If the worker slips and falls, the device catches the person and keeps him or her safely suspended until rescued.
We have used similar systems for many years. Anyone working at a height of 6 feet or greater is required by the company to wear a full arrest system. In tests, a 220-pound weight created 5,000 pounds of energy when falling 6 feet, plenty of force to cause serious injury.
Every year, more than 80,000 workers are injured on construction sites across the U.S. Slips and falls are the most frequently cited safety issues by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
“In this era of construction safety, and with the fall protection equipment we have available, we need to plan the work and work the plan to ensure there are no falls on our projects,” said Sundt Corporate Director of Quality & Safety Paul Levin.
Safety Week’s mission is to raise the awareness of the construction industry’s continuing commitment to eliminating worker injury, and to clearly communicate its dedication to a shared culture of care and concern.
Our Safety by Choice program focuses on both how and why workers need to be safe. We encourage our employee-owners to make good choices every day so they can go home to enjoy time with family and friends.
Senior Estimator Paul Chang leads San Diego employee-owners on a fire drill during Safety Week on Tuesday.
Safety Week is about more than job-site situations. Sundt employee-owners who work in our offices across the Southwest are getting involved, too.
On Tuesday, people in our Irvine and San Diego offices went through earthquake and fire drills. Senior Estimator Paul Chang and Estimating Coordinator Elizabeth Tague, the Emergency Response Coordinators for the San Diego office, gave a presentation that included a review of emergency response protocols.
Southern California is particularly earthquake-prone. According to earthquaketrack.com, the San Diego area has had 140 temblors of magnitude 1.5 or higher in the past year. The Irvine area, which includes Los Angeles, has had 308 such earthquakes over the last year.
“Earthquakes in California can be little rollers or big shakers, and you never know when they will happen,” said Group Safety Manager Paul Sprecco. “If you know what to do when an earthquake hits, you’ll have a much better chance of getting through it without injury. Find cover, under a desk or table, wait until the shaking stops and then exit the building in a safe and orderly fashion. Earthquake drills like these help condition us to react correctly when the real shaking starts.”
During the fire drill, Paul Chang and Elizabeth identified the locations of extinguishers in the office as well as common corridors and locations of fire hoses and alarm pull boxes. Paul Sprecco then gave a brief presentation on the use of a fire extinguisher using the PASS acronym: Pull the pin, Aim at the base of the fire, Squeeze the trigger handle and Sweep side to side.
Paul Chang and Elizabeth led a fire drill, including a building evacuation and assembly in the meeting area for a head count and all-clear to return to the building. Many Sundt offices are holding fire drills this week.
Senior Estimator Tyler Scott led presentations for the Irvine office.
The mission of Safety Week is to collectively raise the awareness of the construction industry’s continuing commitment to eliminating worker injury, and to clearly communicate its dedication to a shared culture of care and concern and the belief that every week must be Safety Week. This is the third year we have served as a sponsor of the event.