Why You Or Your Supplier Should Be AISC Certified

In the steel industry, we know that safety and reliability are two of the most important qualities that clients look for in a fabricator. 

What Is AISC Certification?

The American Institute of Steel Construction sets standards for quality and safety for steel fabricators across the country. To become certified with the AISC, a supplier must submit to an audit by the AISC, which looks over the workspace, employee training and other areas of the company in order to determine if they qualify for certification. The official guide for certification standards for steel fabrication is over sixty pages long, and the auditing process is extremely thorough; the process of becoming certified can take up to six months. Aspects of a supplier that are looked at when being audited for certification include:

  • Effective implementation and communication of an emergency plan 
  • Safety training for new hires
  • Proper training for all employees

These are only a couple of the many aspects of your business that the AISC would look at in order to consider you for qualification. Generally, the goal of being audited is to improve productivity, worker safety and quality standards

What Does It Mean For You?

The AISC is a known, industry-recognized standard-maker. The thorough, rigorous process for becoming certified is well-known in the industry. Any potential employee or business partner who knows that you are AISC certified knows that your company has been thoroughly vetted to ensure that its quality is a cut above other steel fabricators. Employees will know that you value worker safety and prioritize effective communication. A potential client will know that your company will produce a high-quality product. 

This is the first and most obvious benefit: having an AISC certification differentiates your company from the competition. This certification makes you more attractive as a business partner, since passing the auditing process means that you have met its lofty quality standards. 

The other benefit is less obvious but more logical: by going through the auditing process, you will improve just about every aspect of your business. It will make you attractive to new employees and partners, but it isn’t just a certificate or another line on a resume. After your company successfully completes the process, it will run smoother, more efficiently and with better safety standards in place. This could improve morale, output and any number of other parts of your business. 

AISC certification is a labor-intensive way to make sure your business is ready to serve new clients for years to come. 

Ready to Incorporate Continuing Education and Certification? 

Construction Safety Experts offers continuing education and assistance with the certification process to steel industry professionals based on the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) certification process. AISC Certification is the most widely lauded, recognized certification program in the structural steel industry.

Contact our AISC Certification experts for assistance with the application process and preparation initial and subsequent audits with our training and mock auditing services – Contact our team online, or call (919) 463-0669 today!  

How to Avoid Accidental Crane Collisions

Cranes are some of the most ubiquitous machines in the construction industry. While their usefulness is unsurpassed, they are responsible for many of the work-related fatalities in the United States. Statistics from OSHA indicate that, in 2018, one in five of such deaths occurred on a construction site. Safety should always be of primary concern, and with proper procedures and training these losses could all but be eliminated.

On September 16, 2020, a crane collision and collapse caused workers to flee for their lives, injuring 22 of them in the process. Luckily there were no fatalities, though the incident highlights the ever-growing need for appropriate safety precautions and education. Our team of construction site safety experts put together a few simple guidelines that can go a long way to helping prevent crane-related injuries and fatalities when it comes to your job site. 

Frequent Inspections

Before starting the day, each crane on the site should be looked over by qualified personnel. This may help find problems before they become serious, such as tangled lines or structural flaws. In addition, cranes should undergo even more scrutiny regularly using a maintenance schedule that will ensure they are kept in proper working order.

Limit Movement

Cranes that operate in tandem on tracks, rails or trolleys should be set up in a way that impact is impossible. Using physical restrictors, such as rubber bumpers, act to prevent movement. Collision avoidance systems utilize sensors to detect movement and proximity, letting the crane operator know an impact is going to occur.

While not a restrictor in the conventional sense, stationing an “umpire” between the cranes will facilitate communication, making sure that they don’t move at the same time.

Tagging Out

One of the best ways to guarantee two cranes won’t be operating at the same time, is to de-energize one. A notification tag lets other employees know that a particular piece of equipment isn’t safe for use, helping to ensure its movement won’t be the cause of an accident.

Work as a Unit

It may seem faster to work alone, but it is much safer (and often easier) to work as a team. Each job site should have a reliable crew to handle cranes. This includes a qualified rigger that can set each load as well as a signalman to help operators guide their cargo into place.

Safety Training for Your Job Site 

It’s not just teamwork on the construction site that helps to keep things running smoothly. At Construction Safety Experts, we know the importance of comprehensive safety training when it comes to you and your employees.

Contact our safety experts today to learn more about how, by working together, we can make crane-related deaths and other construction site fatalities a thing of the past.


The Value of a Checklist for Temporary Shutdown Procedures

As recent events have shown, it is an uncertain world that we operate in. As a construction site manager, you know that it pays to be prepared for the unexpected. This can come in the form of extreme weather or a vital worker out on sick leave. There may even be times you will have to shut down an operation for an indefinite period of time.

When this happens, it’s smart to have a checklist that can guide you through the process.

The Benefits of a Concise Plan

While the coronavirus pandemic has most likely added a higher level of unpredictability to your operations, the possibility of a work disruption has always been and always will be part of the job. It’s crucial that all vital steps are taken to safely shutdown a construction site – and a professionally prepared plan has the following benefits:

  • It is ready at all times
  • It can be followed by all key personnel and managers
  • It provides clear guidance
  • It increases safety for workers and the public
  • It ensures nothing is missed

The plan should be prepared with input from multiple viewpoints. A general template should be followed, but the checklist should be updated to reflect each individual work site. The checklist should be made during a quiet, stress-free time that is conducive to clear thinking.

The Elements of a Valuable Checklist

When a work site is shut down on short notice, there is a lot to do. Many items just make life easier for workers and managers, and might even save money. Other tasks are vital to the security and safety of the site.

Here are some of the most important duties that should be performed when leaving a site:

  • Lock up all equipment and materials
  • Set up appropriate barriers and signage
  • Remove important assets and equipment
  • Secure high areas
  • Update employee contact info

The checklist should also include a reminder on such mundane tasks as taking out the trash and turning off fans and space heaters. It’s also important to make sure on-site porta-potties are cleaned and secured to make the return to work more pleasant. The list of things to do is likely to be long, making a comprehensive checklist invaluable.

The Value of Experience

A quality checklist for shutdown procedures takes your safety planning to a new level. To ensure the checklist is complete and tailored to your site, contact Construction Safety Experts by going to our website or calling (919) 463-0669.

We provide advanced safety services to meet your needs in a changing world.

OSHA Covid-19 Updates You Should Be On Top Of

As COVID-19’s presence continues to affect how people live and work, work sites must prepare to adapt as well. Because of this, OSHA has issued policy updates and revisions concerning how businesses should handle COVID-19. This includes audits, inspections and record-keeping.

While some of these updates are contingent on state and local legislation, others apply on a federal level and must be heeded by all businesses.

Relevant Enforceable Standards

Some existing OSHA standards concerning pathogens have a clear connection to COVID-19. These include:

  • 29 CFR 1910 Subpart I, concerning Personal Protection Equipment (PPE);
  • Subpart J, on general environmental controls;
  • Subpart Z, on toxic and hazardous substances;
  • 29 CFR 1904, on reporting cases of workplace illnesses.

These standards still need to be observed and upheld by employers, though some specific details have been revised as well.

OSHA Recordkeeping Revisions

Like any illness that an employee may contract, COVID-19 is considered a recordable illness—that is, if the disease was contracted in a work environment, the employer will need to record it, and any time at work missed, in their 300 log. Because of the difficulty in ascertaining evidence on where the employee was exposed, though, OSHA does not mandate that extensive medical investigations are required.

Nonetheless, employers should still conduct inquiries by consulting with employees that have fallen ill and investigate their local work environments.

On-Site Inspections

Since evidence of work-related COVID-19 incidents is not always straightforward to find, preemptive measures to reduce the risk of contracting COVID at work are valuable. Businesses should expect increased in-person inspections from OSHA, making it critical that they observe protocols to create a safe workspace and protect employees. Some actions to take include:

  • Keep employees informed on news from the CDC, WHO and other authorities;
  • Develop a Pandemic Preparedness Plan and provide training to employees;
  • Regularly disinfect the workplace and encourage workers to wash their hands, use hand sanitizer, avoid openly coughing or sneezing and respect distance from other workers and customers when possible;
  • Urge employees to stay at home when sick. Employees may see it as risky to lose wages and/or sick days, so permit them to work remotely whenever possible or help cover with paid time off to protect their livelihood.

If you’re looking to keep up with new OSHA updates during the pandemic and to keep your employees safe, turn to Construction Safety Experts for safety consulting and training on health regulations, along with services like auditing, operator training and more.

Contact our experts by calling (866) 483-0669 or via our website here, today! 

How To Run an Effective Construction Safety Committee Meeting

In 2018 alone, more than 21% of all fatalities in the US occurred within the construction industry. Not surprisingly, construction is one of the most dangerous industries for people to work in when it comes to injuries and the risk of death.

This is an important fact that more employers need to tackle head on – and one of the first places to start is with your management team and how they are communicating with their crews. Unfortunately, safety committee meetings often fail to adequately address these issues.

So, if you’re looking for insight on how to run a quality and effective construction safety meeting, our team has provided a few tips that are on the top of our list. Check them out below. 

  1. Show Commitment

Many employees feel that safety committee meetings are just a way for employers to save face or ensure basic compliance. When companies show true commitment to safety for both compliance and selfless reasons, employees might engage more in the process.

  1. Create a Designated Time

Construction is a busy industry that requires hands-on work. Because of this, safety committee meetings often get pushed to the back burner and resurface when everything else gets taken care of.

To show that it is a priority, set a specific time for these meetings and stick to that schedule.

  1. Make It Interactive

Construction is a serious industry, but there are times when employers can inject some topics of general interest into the experience. This is one of them. Employers can use specific themes for the meeting, such as sports or culture.

Elect leadership positions in the committee annually and give everyone the opportunity to participate in some way.

  1. Take Suggestions

Workers are in the best position to make suggestions on issues they want to tackle in the meetings and solutions they think might work. Workers can also vote on the themes you use, refreshments used for the meeting, when it takes place and several other factors.

Why leave everything up to the elected leaders alone when they can get free help?

  1. Bring in the Experts

There are many occupational safety experts who are only too willing to speak with workers and further educate them on how to stay safe. Invite them to the safety meetings to add more credence to the discussions. They are also often in the best position to answer questions both employers and employees might have.

  1. Ensure Followup

Do your safety committee meetings achieve all you set out to do by the end of them? There’s really no way to know without following up on the meeting. Many people joke about follow up meetings for regular meetings, but there is no need for this- especially when it comes to safety. Send out an email or allow people to submit anonymous survey responses.

One Step Further 

Safety on the job requires a team effort. At Construction Safety Experts, we are committed to contributing to these team efforts. Contact us today for information on our free safety talks or to tap into other existing resources we have available – call (866) 463-0669 or visit safety-xperts.com today! 

COVID-19 And Construction: Workplace Health Safety Best Practices

We find ourselves in trying times these days – afterall, who would have thought that we would begin 2020 with a global pandemic? And given the health climate, it is important that everyone does their part, in order to help prevent the transmission of the Coronavirus, best they can.

At a personal level, people are washing hands, wearing face masks and distancing themselves socially. While professionally, many businesses have begun working from home to prevent the spread.

Most construction businesses are continuing to work forward during this time and don’t have the option to practice Safe At Home guidelines, so it is vital that those, especially in management levels, practice safe protocols in order to protect their vendors, clients and employees. Don’t stress; we are here to help.

Here are some key factors to consider if you’re still managing projects.

COVID-19 Basics

According to the CDC, the best way to prevent COVID-19, is to avoid being exposed to this virus and person-to-person contact is the most common way the virus is transmitted.

The virus can be spread through respiratory drops when a person talks, sneezes or coughs. Unfortunately, not everyone who has the virus appears sick, and it can even take 2 to 14 days after exposure to have symptoms. There is no vaccine yet, nor any medication approved to treat COVID-19, so the best way to prepare ourselves, is to look at what we know for certain – the signs. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (or any other contagious illness for that matter) should self-isolate at home in order to best prevent spreading the illness.

Keeping a Construction Work Environment Safe

OSHA recently released “Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19,” to help businesses prevent the spread. Keep in mind, some local communities have separate guidelines and it is up to your business to stay on top of any regulations that are being handed down. If your business is to continue being operational, you should be proactive in mitigating the spread of Coronavirus, by at the very least, doing the following: 

  • Ensure your staff and contractors know to stay home if experiencing symptoms.
  • Ramp up your hygiene procedures. Clean surfaces with a disinfectant that combats the virus after contact – and regularly. 
  • Establish a screening protocol at every work site to make sure that infected personnel don’t enter.
  • Limit people at each work site – avoid large gatherings.
  • Make sure each person at the work site washes their hands often or uses hand sanitizer.
  • Have a daily briefing to go over protocols. Give people time to follow decontamination procedures and make sure that distancing is being followed.
  • Track who comes and goes each day in case someone is symptomatic. You will need to contact everyone who was exposed.
  • Have a plan to shut down a work site if an employee or contractor does become infected. Take steps to reduce the risk of spreading the virus to prevent a complete shutdown of your business.

Get Help Implementing COVID-19 Procedures For Your Workplace

Learn more about COVID-19 workplace safety when you contact Construction Safety Experts. We are a construction safety training and consulting company that can help you keep your team safe. Contact us online or call our office at (919) 463-0669 today!

Four Major OSHA Mistakes to Avoid in 2020

Anybody who works in an industrial or manufacturing field knows how important OSHA compliance is. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is responsible for policing work sites for unsafe practices and any infraction can incur a major fine or even halt operations.

Maintaining perfect compliance is certainly a challenge, but knowledge and planning ahead can help. You need to ensure that you stay clear of any costly OSHA mistakes, including the following four common ones, as you head into 2020.

Lack of Fall Protection or Scaffolding

When you think about the risk of falling or the need for scaffolding, you might imagine a construction site and indeed these standards are important in the construction industry.

When it comes to fall risk, every industry needs to be proactive in preventing any potential accidents and maintaining OSHA standard compliance. If you are working at elevated heights, scaffolding is absolutely imperative to ensure safety and compliance.

Exposure to Respiratory Risk Without Protection

There are many environments where staff are exposed to respiratory risks, but this risk can usually be mitigated by the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). If an employer does not provide PPE, employees may be exposed to such risks and suffer unnecessary injury.

It is vital that respirators be available and worn by staff in any area where there may be airborne hazards.

Insufficient or Improper Hazard Communication

Lack of hazard communication is yet another common OSHA infraction that must be avoided at all costs. Hazards are inevitable in the workplace, but if there is a known risk present, it is absolutely imperative that it be announced and identified properly.

Further, employers must provide clear instructions to employees in order to ensure they are able to avoid the hazard. Failure to comply with this OSHA standard is incredibly dangerous.

Risk of Lockout/Tagout

At some point, the machinery in your workplace will need to be serviced or repaired by a professional. Whether it’s quick routine maintenance or a lengthy repair, you need to ensure that the personnel completing the work is safe while they service the machine.

If a piece of equipment were to power on while it is being serviced, it would likely cause serious injury or even death to the maintenance professional. A lockout or tagout is used to isolate the energy produced by a machine or prevent its operation until the maintenance is complete. 

Failure to utilize this precaution can be a deadly OSHA violation.

If you want to ensure all your bases are covered and you are OSHA compliant, Construction Safety Experts can help. Contact our team of professionals online or call  (866) 463-0669.

Visit safety-xperts.com for a full list of our services and expertise today. 

2019/20 Developments: MSHA Standards Changes You Need To Know

Every year, the Mine Safety and Health Administration makes several rule changes that will affect businesses in the coming years. Being proactive about updating company practices can help your team more steadily adapt to the changes without risking the fines that accompany noncompliance.

Seeking Data on Quartz Exposure

Respirable silica or quartz is one of the major rulemaking focal points of MSHA currently. On August 28th 2019, the Department of Labor announced a request for information regarding exposure to quartz dust. In particular, the department was examining a possible reduced permissible exposure limit, potential new protective technologies and possible training assistance.

The RFI period lasted for 60 days and ended in October 2019. Although the results of this RFI have not yet been announced, it is likely that some rule changes will come. Additionally, it is possible that some updates to MSHA part 48 training may be necessary.

Training Grants

In 2006, Congress passed the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act. Among other initiatives, this act established grants to help improve mine safety. On September 6, MSHA announced that it is awarding five organizations with grants totaling $400,000. The stated goal of these grants was to help improve safety education and training resources.

All five grants went to colleges and universities that are developing training modules for mining. The topics covered by the proposed training include powered haulage, hazards with mobile equipment visibility, designing and maintaining berms, pre-shift examinations of equipment, mine rescues and recovery, conveyor and mobile equipment interactions and emergency preparedness.

These training modules appear to be in line with the current MSHA 48 and 46 training. Therefore, don’t expect to be required to make changes based on these developments. However, they may help make training more effective and easier.

Examinations of Working Places

In 2017, MSHA published a rule requiring workplace examinations by a site safety professional or another competent person as well as appropriate corrective action and notification for any issues. This rule was challenged in court but was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. It went into full effect on September 30.

Get Expert Help

Keeping up with all the rules and regulations that affect mining operations can be challenging. It can help to have an external consultant audit your safety practices and training. Construction Safety Experts provides in-depth consulting as well as onsite safety staffing and other services. 

Contact us online or call either (866) 463-0669 or (919) 463-0669 to learn more about how we can help you stay compliant with all MSHA rules today!

Don’t Be Shocked: Enforcing & Maintaining NFPA 70E Compliancy

The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) is a big deal when it comes to knowledge of electrical hazards and how big of a risk they present for potential fires. When successfully running any construction job or site, it’s important to comply with any and all regulations presented by the NFPA, as they apply to your situation.

In order to avoid injury or death by electrical shock, it’s imperative to comply with the 70E NFPA regulation, which outlines standards the industry should be routinely enforcing for preventing electrical shock in the workplace. Your employees will benefit greatly from an NFPA 70E training course, focusing on electricity hazards and the harm they can inflict. Continue reading to get a better understanding of how both your employees and business can benefit from an NFPA 70E compliant training course. 

Importance of NFPA 70E Training

Your employees will take away quite a bit of knowledge from a 70E training course and though not mandatory by law, they should be mandatory within your workplace. Complying with these standards will help your company and job sites to run on a whole new level of safety efficiency. Knowing your workers are educated in the prevention of electric shock brings peace of mind and fewer accidents.

  • Identify Electrical Hazards: By the end of a 70E compliant course, your employees will be able to identify electrical hazards and causes of electrical shock within the workplace without question. It’s necessary they recognize these hazards right away and on their own, because not every electrical danger comes with a warning sticker. Knowledge like this can save lives.
  • Cause Identification: Independently identifying the cause of electrical fires, shock and arc flashes (electrical explosions or discharges) commonly found with the use of machinery on construction and manufacturing sites is huge as this is a best practice for prevention-if workers can see a potential cause for an accident before it happens, they can create a safer environment to begin with.
  • Recognizing the Effects of Arc Flashes: On a biological level, arc flashes have great potential to do more damage than electrical shock. Typically, arc flashes are the result of human error or machinery malfunction, happening without warning. Injuries resulting from this vary and include severe burns, blindness, hearing loss, shrapnel injuries and poisonous gas inhalation.
  • Selecting Appropriate Protective Equipment: By identifying potential hazards of their work spaces, employees will be able to correctly select the protective equipment they should be wearing every day on the job. So often electrical injuries, especially to the face, are much worse than they would have been if correct protective gear had been worn in the first place.

Too many people are injured by electrical shock within manufacturing and construction companies annually. It’s important to the welfare of your employees and the reputation of your company standards suggested by the NFPA are taught and enforced.

Just a bit of knowledge can change the outcome of an electrical accident. It can be the difference between blindness and sight, or even life and death.

If you’re ready to brush your employees up on NFPA 70E, contact Construction Safety Experts today at (866) 463-0669 or (919) 463-0669!

8 Important Qualities of Effective Crane Safety Training

Whether you are a business owner or an employee, you are well aware there is nothing more important than safety on a job site. Following proper safety protocol can make or break the reputation of a company, therefore it is important to ensure your staff is properly trained to perform a job effectively, efficiently and most of all, safely.

Operating a crane is an important job with a lot of responsibility and risk and the person behind the controls should be beyond knowledgeable about the equipment. Knowing the control panel inside and out is imperative and being well versed in crane safety specifically, is more important than anything.

Moving heavy loads at a construction or manufacturing site is completely unavoidable. While technology has certainly advanced over the years, carefully executed, high quality training and precautions are significantly necessary for workers and operators alike.

Here are 8 very important qualities you should expect from effective crane safety training:

1. Register Notices

Every crane in operation should be federally registered and those operating cranes are required by any reputable company to be certified to operate such machinery under any jobsite conditions. This includes both above and underground sites.

The proper paperwork is where effective crane training starts. Without certification, there is no point in carrying on with the actual training. Working toward that certification is an imperative measure and the very first part of safety training.

2. Providing the Correct Interpretations

Each training session will provide the proper interpretation of crane safety operations and equipment. It’s important for each training attendee to be on the same page as those conducting the training. Crane safety must not be loosely interpreted, it must be established and universal.

3. Creating Capable Workers

In order to operate heavy machinery at such a complex level, specialized knowledge is required. Each attendee should leave training with the same level of expertise, including a complete understanding of proper hand signals communicated by all workers on the team.

4. Jobsite Inspection

All those in training attendance must learn how to evaluate their equipment and load before lifting. Checking machinery for signs of wear and ensuring loads are properly secured and do not exceed the weight limits of the equipment are just some of the vital pieces on the list.

5. Discuss Ground Workers

Crane safety training must include a discussion regarding the well being of the workers on the ground. Everyone on site is responsible for the safety of the job. Workers will learn how to plan lifting operations well in advance to make sure the area is clear when it’s time to enlist the use of the crane.

6. Safety Briefs

Quality crane training will discuss the importance of a daily safety brief on the site. This brief will encompass every aspect of the jobsite, but also when the cranes will be in use. While it seems like a small measure, it will make all the difference from a safety perspective.

7. Cranes Require Time

Heavy equipment requires ample time to get the job done at a slow and steady pace. If crane work is rushed, the chances of an accident will skyrocket. It’s vital to instill in current and future operators hurrying through a job is both ineffective and dangerous.

8. Establish a Checklist

A safety checklist is a must-have at every construction job site, no matter what the nature of the work may be. When cranes are involved, the need for that checklist is dire, as it can prevent accidents leading to fatalities. Crane safety training should involve learning how to properly put together a safety checklist and ensuring all workers stick to it.

If you’re ready to train your team in safety using the best practices available, contact Construction Safety Experts today at (866) 463-0669 or (919) 463-0669 to get started!