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The Risk Factor 1st Quarter 2007

Monday, January 15, 2007
The Risk Factor 1st Quarter 2007

OSHA Outreach Training Programs – 10-Hour and 30-Hour Construction and General Industry Training

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Outreach Training Program is a voluntary train-the-trainer training program through which OSHA authorizes trainers to teach construction and general industry occupational safety and health standards and policies. OSHA has promoted workplace safety and health by authorizing trainers since 1971. In the last three years, over 1.1 million workers have received training through this program. This type of training provides workers with important information to improve safety performance on the job.

The 10-hour course is designed to provide workers with a basic understanding of some of the most hazardous construction activities. The emphasis is on hazard identification, avoidance, control and prevention, rather than on OSHA standards only. We inform workers about the OSHA requirements and, more importantly, help them to understand why the requirements are there and how they can protect themselves and their coworkers.

The 10-hour construction course includes the following mandatory topics:

  • Introduction to OSHA, including the provisions of the OSHA Act, the general duty clause, the responsibilities of the competent person and record keeping
  • Electrical safety
  • Fall protection

Other topics are chosen that address the hazards to which the specific workers being trained may be exposed. Three or more of the following topics are covered:

  • Personal protective and lifesaving equipment
  • Materials handling, storage, use and disposal
  • Hand and power tools
  • Scaffolds
  • Cranes
  • Excavations
  • Stairways and ladders

The 30-hour construction course is intended to provide a variety of training to people who have some safety responsibility on the job site. The course covers the above topics in more detail and also includes other topics, such as

  • Health hazards in construction
  • Welding and cutting
  • Concrete and masonry construction
  • Steel erection
  • Hazardous waste site operations
  • Asbestos awareness

The general industry training is similar in structure but with topics that are presented specific to the potential groups of hazards. 1Source Safety and Health, Inc., has staff members that are authorized to present the 10- and 30-hour training for construction and general industry. We supplement the training team with other certified safety professionals, certified industrial hygienists, a certified professional ergonomist and other subject-matter experts. We can conduct the training at your business or on the job site.

The training includes classroom and hands-on activities such as practice with fall protection equipment, inspections of scaffolds, inspection of excavations, etc.

Some progressive employers are requiring that contractors coming onto their sites to work have this training. Additionally, some states are moving toward requiring contractors to have this or equivalent training.

For more information or to schedule training, contact Daniel Bruun, CIH, Vice President, at 610.524.5525, ext. 17, or email.

Proactive Building Moisture and Mold Evaluations

Buildings with moisture problems pose health risks for the occupants. Moisture not only degrades building materials but also can cause microbiological growth, including a wide variety of bacteria and molds. Mold growth is not necessarily the problem, it is the symptom – moisture is the problem. Moisture affects buildings and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems in the form of liquid (pipe and water tank leaks, sewage backups, floods) but also in the form of high humidity/vapor (condensation and/or related to HVAC system operations) or capillary action (in below-grade areas). Liquid moisture is the most obvious, causing mold growth on impacted building materials. High humidity or vapor transmission is less obvious and can cause “hidden mold growth.”

The best defense against mold growth in buildings is moisture control. And in the event of a moisture release, a quick and thorough response is necessary to prevent mold growth. The thought process is that a quick response is simply a water restoration/cleanup project, but a delay that leaves building materials wet turns a water restoration/cleanup project into a mold remediation project.

First, 1Source Safety and Health, Inc., conducts building investigations for past or current moisture-related problems by gathering a “moisture history” of the structure through interviews with key building management and maintenance staff. Then, 1Source makes visual observations and boroscope inspections; takes photographs; records moisture content, temperature and relative humidity readings; uses an infrared camera to detect hidden moisture; and finally collects baseline air and dust samples for molds. If necessary, 1Source utilizes our partner structural and mechanical engineers and architects for building envelope, roof assembly or HVAC systems evaluations.

Training programs are also developed for facilities or maintenance staff for immediate response actions to moisture events to prevent mold problems and to have a clear identification of roles and responsibilities and the necessary outside resources.

In the event that a large moisture release or mold growth occurs, 1Source Safety and Health, Inc., also provides project management for water restoration and mold remediation and post remediation evaluation services.

For additional information or to request a proposal, please contact Harry M. Neill, CIH at 610.524.5525, ext. 15, or email.

Proactive Indoor Air Quality Surveys Save Budgets

As facility budgets tighten, managers are realizing that money spent for proactive indoor air quality is a smart investment. Here is a simple comparison to exemplify this point. Indoor air quality investigations conducted in response to employee complaints or illness clusters cost $3 to $10 per square foot of space investigated compared to 2 to 10 cents per square foot for a proactive indoor air quality survey. Basically, proactive surveys can be performed for 1/100th of the cost of an investigative survey conducted in response to an employee complaint. Not only is the initial dollar investment significantly less, but there is also a reduction in future liabilities such as emergency surveys, workers’ compensation cases and costs, responses to employee complaints, illness clusters, maintenance time and costs, and the most scarce resource – your time.

When conducted properly, proactive surveys identify issues such as broken system components, lack of filter changes and condensate pan maintenance (even though a contractor was being paid to provide those services), chilled water line insulation failure, mold growth, water intrusion, insufficient air flow, disconnected flex ductwork and more. Experienced indoor air quality scientists understand building systems and the potential impact of their problems and failures on the acceptability of indoor air quality as well as budgets.

What’s involved with a proactive indoor air quality survey? There are two approaches to these types of surveys. The first approach generally includes the use of direct-reading instruments to conduct a scan of readings at predetermined sampling points throughout the occupied space. When certain readings are outside acceptable guidelines, our scientists will assess the area and identify the cause. This enables conditions to be addressed accurately and rapidly, thereby eliminating a potential future issue.

The data collected by our scientists is entered into a database specific to your buildings. As additional data is entered from periodic surveys, the database will compare previous data to identify trends, which further helps our scientists to identify and eliminate potential issues.

The second approach to proactive indoor air quality is to conduct a detailed walk-through assessment of each space within a building. The assessment is conducted by a certified industrial hygienist (CIH) who uses previously gained knowledge of indoor air quality and building-related issues to visually identify potential problems with building systems and operations. In addition, the hygienist reviews HVAC equipment maintenance programs, water treatment, building design and system operations. Interestingly, no direct-reading instruments are used in the walk-through assessment and no samples are collected. This approach is a detailed assessment that identifies both current conditions as well as conditions that may develop.

It is important to point out that although investigative air quality surveys may resolve obvious current issues with the occupants of buildings, proactive indoor air quality surveys virtually eliminate indoor air quality concerns and complaints and their associated liabilities at a lower cost.

For additional information or to request a proposal, please contact Chris Schneider, CIH, President, at 610.524.5525, ext. 14 or email.



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