Archive for the ‘Safety’ Category

CMU Firewall Saves Multi-Family Structure from Disaster

Monday, December 15th, 2014

photo 3A 50+ year old wood frame apartment complex in Airway Heights caught fire recently.

The structure is a dry wood frame, with a  CMU fire wall separating the building wings.  This building’s CMU fire wall prevented the adjoining wing from catching fire.  The front side of this structure received more damaged than the back which is shown in the photos.

This demonstrates the effectiveness of the CMU firewall component in multi-family and commercial structures.   The masonry industry works hard to continually reaffirm the use of CMU firewalls in buildings in condensed, urban areas to protect the community from major catastrophic fires as well as other energy, lifecycle and environmental factors.

The Masonry Institute of Washington is available to provide additional information on all masonry systems for both constructability and aesthetics.

FHWA makes video on Skagit bridge repair

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

The Federal Highway Administration has produced a nine-minute video detailing how the Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River was repaired so quickly. The project, both temporary and permanent bridges, has won several awards since its completion. Check out the video below, it’s worth another look.

Got some mad crane skills? Show them off at local competition

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014


The organization called Crane Institute Certification is holding a regional crane skills competition in Woodland (southwest Washington) that will send two finalists on expense-paid trips to a championship event in late 2015 at a “high profile” venue.
The regional competition will be hosted on Sept. 5 by Industrial Training International at its training headquarters. It’s the second year ITI has hosted the regionals and the fourth year of the competition.
For this year’s competition, there will be more emphasis on skill and less on speed, and organizers have added new twists such as a rigging challenge.
ITI will also have an open house, vendor showcases and several hands-on workshops, including three staged accident scenes.
Last year, operators from Washington, Oregon and Idaho competed at the Northwest event. Organizers want to get additional operators from western Canada and northern California.
Operators can sign up at The registration fee is $50.

Could OSHA change course on its proposed delay of crane operator certification?

Friday, September 6th, 2013

By Debbie Dickinson

Crane Institute of America Certification



Just because OSHA has proposed a delay to operator certification, doesn’t mean it will happen. Take notice of recent activity in Washington, D.C.

We recently learned about a different regulation in a similar situation to 1926.1400 Cranes and Derricks in Construction; on Aug. 7, OSHA withdrew a proposed rule to amend the On-Site Consultation Program.

Although not related to cranes and derricks, there are parallels worth noting. Stakeholder concerns that a delay discourages employers from participating was the key reason for moving forward. Many in the crane industry fear the same would happen if crane operator certification is delayed.

OSHA first issued an intent to delay and outlined plans for changing the Consultation Program at the end of July, just a few months after its proposal about crane operator certification. Yet, no such plan has been forthcoming from OSHA for cranes and derricks. The final rule for both are just 8 days apart.

While we remain unsure of what OSHA will do regarding crane operator certification, we do know that:

1. A delay is unnecessary; CIC has offered specific solutions to OSHA that fully solve the concerns raised.

2. According to industry studies, 80% fewer crane-related deaths and 50% fewer accidents occur with certified crane operators.

In addition, Peg Seminario, Director of Safety and Health for the AFL-CIO testified on Aug. 1, 2013 before the Subcommittee on Oversight, Federal Rights, and Agency Action Senate Judiciary Committee on “The Human Cost of Regulatory Paralysis.”

According to Seminario: “It is inexcusable and shameful that even where there was broad agreement that the cranes and derricks standard was needed and about what the rule should require, that the regulatory system failed to protect workers…During the eight year rulemaking, 176 workers died in crane accidents that would have been prevented.” Seminario’s testimony is clear: OSHA knows that certification saves lives and that delays will mean more people will die, unnecessarily.

Please contact OSHA and express your expectation that the agency remember its mission “to ensure a safe and healthy workplace,” which does not align with OSHA’s recent attitude that the purpose of regulations is to provide the agency with greater authority for imposing citations and fines on employers.

I hope that out of respect for the lives at stake, for the negotiated rule-making process that was fully supported by industry experts, and for the millions of dollars already invested by the industry, that OSHA does not delay. CIC will continue to remain compliant with OSHA and to drive our business based on the safety and needs of the industry.  Employers can rely on CIC to:

1. Conduct meaningful certifications; CIC certified by type and capacity years before the OSHA regulation because this helps employers make sound decisions and gives operators credentials with merit.

2. Assess the knowledge, skill and abilities of operators for the purpose of reducing accidents.

3. Provide affordable, accessible and accredited certifications for crane operators and riggers.

Debbie Dickinson is executive director at Crane Institute of America Certification, which offers NCCA accredited certifications for mobile crane operators (five classifications) and qualified and advanced riggers and signal persons.

HOLE Project Improves Underground Safety

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

AGC of Washington, Northwest Laborers-Employers  Training Trust Fund, Integrity Safety Solutions and Anita Johnson were awarded a Safety & Health Improvement Program (SHIP) Grant to  develop a cutting edge, first-of-its-kind training program for  underground construction.  This video based training program (Hazard Observation and Labor Education, or HOLE) is designed to communicate the hazards and basic safeguards of underground  construction as it is done by today’s practices.  All other industry  safety videos related to underground construction safety are outdated  and inconsistent with current practices.  The goal of this project is to help prevent  the accidents and fatalities that are on the rise in this niche industry by creating a consistent, clear, concise video-based learning tool for  workers to help prepare them for the hazards they will face underground.

As underground construction sees its fair share of inspectors,  visitors and project owner tours, there is a need for a  basic visitor orientation for people who will be visiting the project  sites (while chaperoned).

To aid employers and workers keep safety in mind at all times on the  job, the HOLE project includes posters and wallet cards that cover the key points of  the video and can be placed around the job as a  refresher, and hard hat stickers that can be used by the employer to easily identify if a worker has received the training and  as a general reminder to all workers who will see the sticker on their  own hard hat.  For means of documentation purposes, HOLE also includes an  orientation document and acknowledgement that indicates the key concepts conveyed by this training as well as space to cover site-specific  rules, hazards and communications.

These products are provided to all employers in Washington State  (FREE) through funding from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries’ SHIP grants.

To find the slate of HOLE products, click here.

It’s going to get hot — be prepared!

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

With temperatures expected to hit the 90s next week, workers should prepare for the heat.

The state Department of Labor & Industries says working outdoors in hot weather can put you at risk of heat-related illness and offers these tips:

1. Start work well hydrated and drink as much as a cup of water every 15 minutes.
2. Watch co-workers for signs of heat-related illness, such as headaches, dizziness or nausea.
3. Pace your work and take scheduled breaks.
4. Wear lightweight clothing and remove protective gear when it’s safe to do so.
5. Avoid drinking caffeine or eating a heavy meal.

Be safe!

Construction Safety Day May 8

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

As construction activity continues to rebound, staying focused on workplace safety and preventing injuries is more important than ever. Construction industry workers, owners and supervisors have an opportunity to focus on industry-specific training at the sixth annual Construction Safety Day, on Wednesday, May 8. This year’s event will be held from 7 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. at the Puyallup Fairgrounds Pavilion.

Construction Safety Day is co-sponsored by the Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Advisory Board and the Department of Labor & Industries to promote safety in the construction industry. Despite improvements in equipment and training, construction remains a hazardous occupation. Last year, eight workers died in Washington State due to construction-related accidents. Many more were seriously injured.

In addition to demonstrations on cranes, job-site equipment and tools, an exhibit hall, and health and wellness booth, this year’s Construction Safety Day will have workshops for workers, owners and supervisors on:

· LEAN for construction

· Communication and leadership for safety

· Safety rule update, including the newly revised Fall-Protection rule

· Accident Prevention Plan (APP)

· Aerial lift and reach truck safety

· Scaffolding

See the Registration Brochure for more information about the workshops. Registration is $55 in advance or $65 at the door. There is a $10 per person discount for groups of five or more. Visit to register online.

For more information, send an e-mail to or call 360.902.5446.


One sweet hard hat

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Pittsburgh-based safety equipment manufacturer MSA has come up with a way to make hard hats greener — it uses sugar.

While it sounds like construction workers would be in for a sticky mess after that first rainstorm hits, that’s not the case. MSA developed the hats in Brazil using high-density polyethylene sourced from sugarcane.

“By developing a hard hat sourced from sugar, we have reduced the overall carbon footprint that’s associated with the entire life-cycle of this particular product, from start to finish,” said Eric Beck, MSA’s global director of strategic marketing, in a release.

The “green” polyethylene is made from sugarcane ethanol, which results in a smaller carbon footprint because, for each ton of the material produced, up to 2.5 pounds of carbon dioxide are captured from the atmosphere. Conversely, Beck said one ton of polyethylene sourced from petrochemicals emits more than 2 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

The final kicker is that green polyethylene is 100 percent recyclable.

MSA claims the hats are the first industrial safety product produced from nearly 100 percent renewable resources. I wonder if the U.S. Green Building Council has LEED points for that.

For more information, check out

DrillMaster could be a disaster

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Harbor Freight Tools has recalled its DrillMaster model No. 96526 cordless drills due to overheating.

The recall affects about 108,000 units imported from China by Camarillo, Calif.-based Harbor Freight Tools. If the black trigger switch on the 19.2-volt drills overheats it can pose a fire and burn hazard to users. There has been one minor injury reported.

The drills sold for $27-$30 at Harbor Freight stores nationwide and online between April 2008 and May 2012. Models with a gray trigger are not included in the recall.

Drill owners should remove the battery, stop using the tool and contact the company for a free replacement. Here’s where to do that: toll-free at (800) 444-3353 (8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday); by email at; or online at

L&I busts Eastern Washington contractors

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

In its quest to crack down on unlicensed contractors, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries says it made surprise visits to 63 work sites in Chelan and Douglas counties this past weekend.

The result? Eleven contractors were cited for either lacking a state registration or for not being registered for the work they were doing. Each first-time offense carries a $1,000 fine.

“An unregistered contractor typically has no liability insurance, no bond, and pays no taxes or workers’ comp,” said Dean Simpson, manager of L&I’s construction compliance program, in a release. “That means they’re leaving consumers unprotected and are unfairly competing with reputable contractors who do great work and meet the requirements.”

Simpson said his program has stepped up staffing and focus, inspecting more than 10,000 jobsites in the last fiscal year — 56 percent more visits and 39 percent more violations uncovered than in the previous year.

Mark Straub, executive officer for the North Central Home Builders Association, said his group supports L&I’s crackdown.

“We continue to receive numerous calls from consumers who thought they were getting ‘a great deal,’ only to discover that they have little or no recourse when they’re ultimately left in a lurch by these bad actors,” Straub said in the release.

L&I has carried out surprise inspections at 257 work sites, issuing 41 citations, since the agency began sweeps in August. The agency also found a number of other violations relating to uncertified plumbers, underage workers and unpermitted work on manufactured homes.

“We want to show people we’re out there, even on the weekends,” Simpson said. “We want unregistered contractors to know we will find them and for honest contractors to know we’re not ignoring this problem.”

L&I’s contractor compliance program has 21 inspectors around the state that make random site visits and respond to tips. Contractors can register at