Self Dumping Bins save workers from harm, while improving job-site productivity. Check out this video to learn how.
this is where we are going to put all of our construction management articles moving forward
High temperatures are the greatest challenge for jobsites in the summer. Make sure everyone on site is hydrated, eating well, and taking time to cool down to prevent heat stress.
Summer is here, and with it comes long days and hot weather. Warmer temperatures can be exciting but are also hazardous for those who work outside or in the heat. Heat stress is a serious threat on a jobsite, so check out these best practices to stay safe this season.
1. Have a plan.
The best way to keep your jobsite running safely and smoothly this summer is to be prepared. Consider supplying additional cooling PPE for your crew, such as fans or cold packs, and organize working hours to avoid the hottest part of the day.
2. Stay hydrated and wear sunscreen.
These are the two simplest ways to avoid heat illnesses and protect your health in the long term. Drink enough water (most doctors recommend eight glasses a day) and continuously apply sunscreen to protect yourself from the heat and UV radiation.
3. Respect the sun, love the shade.
Exposure to sunlight is inevitable in the summer, but it should be avoided when possible. Create shaded areas with good air-flow to prevent sunburn and heat-related illnesses.
4. Dress right.
Sleeveless may seem the way to go on a burning day, but exposed skin means a higher risk of sunburn and sunstroke, and could even lead to skin cancer in the long term. Instead of losing layers, wear loose-fitting clothing made of breathable material, a hat with a brim, and sunglasses that block UV rays. These steps will guard your health and keep you cooler in the long run.
5. Eat right.
It’s natural to crave sugary drinks and icy treats in the summer heat but these foods will sap your energy as you digest them and leave you with a sugar crash. Choose healthy, energizing foods, like fresh fruit or low-sugar granola bars and stick to water as your drink of choice.
6. Allow for acclimatization.
If an employee is new or has been off work for a while, their bodies will need time to adjust to the summer’s heat. Start them with reduced time spent in high temperatures and increase it slowly. An acclimatized body will be able to better handle heat exposure and is less likely to suffer from heat stress.
7. Stay cool.
It’s important to allow your body to cool down after spending extensive time in the heat. Prepare air-conditioned break rooms and encourage your crew to spend time indoors after work to prevent the effects of heat stress.
8. Plan for the next day.
Your habits outside of work will also affect your ability to operate in the heat. Avoid overindulging on coffee or alcohol after-hours, as these will continue to have dehydrating effects on your body the next day.
9. Watch for symptoms.
Heat stress can progress quickly once it has begun and, if left untreated, can require time off work to recover from. Watch out for dizziness, nausea, headaches, cramps, elevated pulse, and if sweating stops. If you notice any of these symptoms, take a break in a cool area and drink lots of water. If a person becomes unresponsive, call 9-1-1 immediately.
10. Educate your crew.
While it’s important to pay attention to the health of your crew, it’s impossible to monitor everyone onsite at all times. Make sure your staff are trained to recognize the signs of heat stress and treat it immediately.
11. Know when to call it.
Some days are just too hot to work. It may be frustrating to end a workday early, but it will be more productive in the long run to preserve the health of your employees. There’s no legal cut off for when it’s too hot to work, so monitor the heat and your crew’s condition to make the wisest choice.
For more information on heat stress and how to prevent it, read WorkSafeBC’s free guide here.
If your going to working with any form of tower crane you had best know your hand signals to ensure safe and effective communications.
Download our new “Tower Crane Hand Signals” chart here.
Wind is a major hazard when working at height, even on days that seem calm. Be prepared by keeping objects and tools that are not in use well secured, and always wear the appropriate PPE for the job you’re doing.
Windy days can make working at height dangerous for everyone on the job-site. Strong gusts
can cause you to lose balance, blow tools and materials off of platforms, and weaken structures. Follow these best practices to ensure a safe job-site, no matter the weather.
DO Use a wind meter.
General wind readings are usually taken at ground level and cover a large area, like a city or
neighborhood. This makes them a useful tool for planning, but they don’t provide enough
information to ensure safety on your job-site, especially when heights are involved. Wind speeds
can increase by up to 50% at 20 meters above ground, which means a manageable breeze on
the ground can translate to near gale force winds at height. Use one of our NAVIS wind meters
to get accurate readings that reflect how your site is affected by gusts and how the surrounding
buildings and landscapes are influencing wind currents.
DON’T Underestimate gusts.
Even on calm days, gust of wind are still hazardous, as they can come out of nowhere and
travel up to two times faster than the average wind-speed. Again, use a wind meter to monitor
conditions, as you may need to quit working at height if gusts are too strong, and store
materials and tools securely when not in use.
DO Treat flat materials with caution.
Flat materials like sheets of plywood can easily turn into sails if hit by strong enough winds,
and can drag people off heights or fall onto those working below. On windy or gusty days, make
sure to carry flat materials horizontally in pairs and secure them tightly when not in use.
DON’T React to blowing objects.
Strong winds can blow away tools, hard hats, papers, and more, but at height it’s important to
fight the immediate urge to catch blowing objects. It sounds counter-intuitive but reacting too
quickly could cause you to lose your balance or could distract you from other hazards blowing
toward you. If something begins to blow away, take a beat before retrieving it to ensure you can
do so in a safe way.
DO wear the right Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).
The right PPE could make the difference between a close call and a trip to the hospital. Wear eye
protection on breezy days to keep out dust and debris, and make sure your hard hat is securely fastened to keep it from blowing off your head. Most importantly, always wear a harness at heights of 1.5 meters and above, as 30% of fatal falls happen at heights of 2 meters or lower, and 50% happen at 3 meters or less.
DON’T Make covers without holes.
It may be tempting to create a sheltered area in windy conditions (especially if they’re coupled with
cold weather) but like sheets of material, covers made of tarp or plywood can tear away whatever anchor or platform they’re attached to if caught by a strong enough wind. We don’t recommend making these kinds of shelters, but if you must make a cover for yourself, cut holes in it to allow the wind to pass through without carry it away.
DO Know when to stop working.
Losing a day of work is manageable, losing a co-worker to injury or worse is not. Create a plan to deal with windy conditions. We’ve found Wilkins Safety Group’s Beaufort Scale Safety Guide, which details
the precautions that should be taken at various wind speeds, is an extremely helpful tool in creating
DON’T Assume, inspect your structures.
Strong winds over extended periods of time can cause structures to weaken or lean at unsafe angles.
Always check over scaffolding, platforms and their anchor points after a wind storm to ensure they are
still secure to work on, and that nothing has shifted that will cause them to fall or collapse.
Working at Height in the Spring: 10 Ways to Stay Safe
Written by: Jen Adams
Key Takeaway: Be prepared for unpredictable spring weather by keeping the job-site clean,
planning for the forecasted weather, using the right PPE, and taking thorough
Temperatures may be rising, but spring brings its own set of risks (and borrows some from
winter) that need to be taken seriously. Keep these best practices in mind while you’re working
at height this season to stay safe while enjoying the breeze.
1. Always check the weather.
The only thing consistent about spring weather is that it changes consistently. Be prepared for
the heat or cold by checking the weather ahead of time and plan accordingly, and always be
prepared for sudden changes that could occur.
2. Complete thorough safety checks on all large equipment.
With inconsistent weather comes loose earth, mud that gets everywhere, and a higher risk
of rust when equipment is repeatedly soaked and left to dry. Always make sure to check
equipment and machinery before using it and stay up to date on safety regulations by
checking WorkSafeBC.com and using tools like Bigfoot’s Crane Academy.
3. Secure your materials.
High winds can pick up quickly in the spring and are often stronger the higher you work, as the
site is usually more exposed. Make sure the materials you are working with are secure at all
times to avoid injuries or falls from loose materials or objects blowing around.
4. Avoid using power tools in rainy or wet conditions.
Water is an excellent conductor of electricity. By using power tools in the rain or wet after a
rain, you not only run the risk of damaging your tools, but risk electric shock or electrocution if
any wires become exposed while you work. Play it safe and use hand tools where possible or
set up cover over your work area to keep the area dry.
5. Be wary of thunder and lightning storms.
Spring storms are especially dangerous to those working at heights, as lightning is drawn to
metal and tall structures. Monitor the weather report, be aware of your environment, and if the
weather looks dicey, don’t risk working in a storm.
6. Give yourself some traction.
Slipping is always a risk when working on the job-site but becomes even more so when working at
height on wet surfaces. Wear boots and gloves that fit well (make sure they are tight enough that
they can’t slip off, but not so tight as to cut off circulation) and have a lot of traction and grip to
7. Always wear appropriate fall PPE, even if working at a lower height.
Most fall-related accidents occur at 30 ft. or less because people view lower heights as less
dangerous, but it takes very little height for a fall to cause injury or even death. Height should be
treated seriously and with caution in any season, but mud and rain make it especially important
to utilize fall PPE in the spring.
8. Let your fall PPE dry naturally before its next use.
Drying equipment with an electric dryer or heater can weaken or melt the material, ruining the
equipment and putting its user at risk. Blot your equipment with towels and hang it up to dry
completely on its own whenever it gets wet, and always check it carefully before each use.
9. Dress warmly enough, and cool enough.
Spring weather may feel warm compared to winter, but its unpredictable nature means that
temperatures can drop to hazardous temperatures, especially when coupled with consistent
cold rains. Dress in layers to ensure you can always keep up with whatever cold or heat the day
throws at you.
10. Train staff to identify weather-based illnesses.
Heat and cold stress occur when the body either warms up faster than it can cool (resulting in
heat exhaustion or sunstroke) or cools down faster than it can warm up (resulting in frostbite
or hypothermia). While they happen more often in summer and winter, they can also strike in
temperatures that don’t seem very extreme. People working at heights can also be at a higher
risk as they tend to be more exposed to the elements. Make sure there are staff on site who are
trained to recognize and treat signs of heat and cold illnesses.
Click here to download: Working at Height in the Spring: 10 Ways to Stay Safe
Like most projects, there are always a lot of moving pieces specifically when working in a delicate environment like a hospital. In this specific job, construction would take place right on top of a cardiac unit that had several labs- all required to keep functioning during the construction. “You’re working in an existing operating hospital. The more you can keep construction out of that hospital, the better you are. Our whole logistic plan was geared around that idea.”
To read the full case study, Click here
Advances in mobile technology continue to grow rapidly. Some have predicted that tablet sales will overcome laptop sales within the year. It has integrated itself into almost everything we do, from basic communication to high-level business applications. It was only a matter of time until construction technology would emerge. As construction has historically been an innovative industry it is not surprising that this industry has begun to take advantage of the many benefits that mobile technology can provide.
There are still some companies who are concerned about the cost to replace their legacy software and spreadsheets with this new construction technology. For some, familiarity and convenience play a role in this decision as well. While it may be more comfortable and require less training to continue to use the same old software, upgrading to mobile construction technology can save time, resources and increase efficiency through real-time communication and on-the-go data collection.
There’s An App For That!
You’ve heard that phrase; it’s become a byword for the mobile technology revolution. The market has become flooded with thousands of apps for purposes as wide-ranging as personal financial budgeting to contract and payroll management. Consider the following ways that various construction technology mobile apps could keep your business running like the well-oiled machine you want it to be.
- Employee hours and payroll. It might surprise you how many employers still use punch cards. Punch cards can be messy and inefficient because they are prone to getting lost and misreported. On top of that, their information needs to be laboriously entered into the payroll system after they have been gathered. Payroll and time apps can replace older systems with the efficiency of real-time updates.
- Equipment hours. The ability to record equipment hours on the spot rather than having to remember and transcribe them later can save a lot of time and money in cost tracking. In addition, the foreman or project manager recording it can keep a closer eye on where it’s going and what it’s being used for.
- Stock management. With real-time updates being entered as materials are used and brought in, a stock management app can ensure that you always know what’s on site at any given time.
- Fleet tracking. It is now possible to track teams and vehicles with your smartphone or tablet, allowing a level of efficiency not even dreamed of 20 years ago. This allows you to always know where your crews and vehicles are, and keep an eye on material deliveries as well.
- Safety inspection. Contractors and employees can rapidly identify problems onsite and report them in real-time to their employers, making sure that everyone is informed. This cuts out the need for you to send out managers and administrators to do constant check-ups.
Construction Technology Maximizes Efficiency and Productivity
The ability to have current updates on all aspects of the job can help ensure that your project doesn’t run into any of the regular snags that you’re used to having to deal with. Requests can be submitted as needed by the field foreman and responded to and approved rapidly. This reduces the amount of time that would otherwise be spent going through reports and stamping papers. Materials can be ordered immediately when the requests are made, ensuring that you get to choose exactly where the materials are being ordered from and how and when they will be delivered.
Construction technology offers real-time project tracking, which means having constant updates on how a project is going without having to field phone calls, thus saving you time. There are no surprises as you watch your project unfold, and it can provide you with ample opportunities to correct issues as they arise.
Mobile updates can also assist in the coordination of staffing. Being able to send a quick message to reroute employees to where they are required can prevent the sort of inefficiency that comes from phone calls and text messages. Resource allocation in the forms of personnel, equipment and materials becomes measured in the time it takes for your people to coordinate and reorganize, rather than in how long it takes to reach them and for them to reach one another.
Can You Afford Not To Go Mobile?
According to the most recent report from JBKnowledge, attitudes towards mobile technology use in construction have shifted rapidly since 2012; going from roughly forty percent, to twenty percent of those surveyed claiming that they did not consider mobile technology important to their business. Field data collection, project management, and accounting apps lead the way as the most-used apps in construction technology, and it’s no surprise, considering the benefits. Given the utility and efficiency of mobile technology in construction, especially given the highly competitive nature of the industry, the question becomes…can you afford not to incorporate construction technology into your business strategy?
photo via www.huffingtonpost.com
It is understood that a certain amount of risk will always exist with most business ventures. Construction projects are no exception to this reality. However, it is important to focus on managing construction risk through proper preparation and a thorough review of contract documents at the beginning of a project. Allocating the responsibility for risk to the parties that are best able to manage them can minimize incidents and the cost of each risk. Keep these simple tips in mind when preparing for your next project.
Allocating Your Risk
A part of managing construction risks includes working together with all parties during contract preparation to anticipate potential risks and assign responsibility for them to the party best capable of handling them, if they should arise. The owner would typically be best at managing flaws in design, placement and environment, while the contractor would be better at handling issues with personnel and performance. Management of indemnity and general insurance are key to managing construction risk in these scenarios.
Protection with Indemnity Policies and Provisions
Liability that arises from professional negligence is best managed through professional indemnity insurance. Most indemnity policies contain a contractual liability that is equivalent to professional negligence. Many professional consultants are required to carry such insurance. A proactive way of managing construction risk before beginning a project is to ensure that your coverage is up-to-date and will meet the needs of your particular project before beginning.
- Product Liability Insurance – This coverage protects against liability for injury to people or damage to property that arises from products supplied by a business. Suppliers of equipment to a construction or engineering project, such as lifts or escalators, may be required to maintain such insurance. You may want to hire a consultant to ensure that the insurance carried by the supplier matches the needs of your project. Indemnity clauses regarding product liability should place responsibility squarely on the contractor.
- Public Liability Insurance – Liability arising from death or personal injury to third parties and for damage to property belonging to third parties falls under this type of coverage. Normally you would provide adequate security to ensure that public liability remains at a low-risk during your construction project. However, by assigning responsibility through definitive clauses, you are ensuring that should the risk arise, it will be handled with the care that is required for such incidents.
- Latent Defects Insurance – This insurance generally protects the owner against the cost of remedying the structure of a building due to unknown and unforeseeable defects. While an owner would typically cover this, individual provisions may be made for material placement and quality-of-work issues that revolve around the contractor’s intrinsic responsibility regarding these facets of the project.
Managing Construction Risk in Funding and Feasibility
Two other forms of risk that commonly have a negative impact on construction projects are funding risks and feasibility risks. These are often described as “invisible risks” because they are rarely evident until they arise. However, careful preparation and research can go a long way towards preventing them. Both require different strategies to manage, but both come from the same source – reliability of the available contractors and their solvency and professionalism.
Feasibility risks arise from hidden weaknesses in the original business plan proposal. They can include (but are not limited to) environmental concerns, including:
- Unforeseen factors in location
- Issues with coding and zoning laws
- Weather-based delays
A proper analysis of location, as well as a review by an expert in local zoning and coding is necessary to ensure that both the contractor and the owner are prepared for the hidden costs of feasibility defects before signing the contracts for your project.
Funding risks are inevitable but are rarely prepared for. They can include a multitude of situations such as:
- Subcontractors refusing to abide by original quotes
- Cost of potential fines
- Expenses associated with extended service contracts
While it is impossible to entirely avoid funding risks, setting clear budgetary limits for contractors and the proper examination and mitigation of feasibility risks will go a long way towards preventing unexpected costs from derailing a project.
Risk Management Is “Management”
Realizing that managing construction risks is just that…managing, not preventing, is necessary for coping with the inevitable. Remember these three steps: “Research, prepare, assign.” This is considered an important mantra for any successful owner or contractor. Ensure that you have identified all the factors that may be potentially problematic before beginning a project by:
- Consulting with experts and professionals
- Preparing your proposal and budgetary restrictions
- Ensuring that responsibility and its accompanying insurance and indemnity is appropriately assigned before finalizing your initial contracts
Receive Industry Updates
Bigfoot Crane Company Inc.
2170 Carpenter Street
Abbotsford, BC V2T 6B4
Toll free: 1-877-852-2192
Local: (604) 854-3218
Fax: (604) 854-5716
Email: [email protected]