Summer is here and that means being even more aware of safety hazards and challenges your workers will face every day. High heat, temperature extremes, noisy work environments, working at heights, confined space situations; increased amounts of roadwork, utility work and construction all contribute to enhanced levels of risk to personal safety. But what should you know about these situations and the safety concerns they represent?
Join solution experts for PPE, Chris Fackler, Fall Protection, Tom Dillon, and Respiratory Protection, Robin Regan as they walk us through summer's safety challenges.
- General Summer Safety Hazards - What to do about them
- Fall Protection - Fatigue and Dehydration play a part in fall accidents
- Fall Protection - PPE you can look at to prevent this from happening
- Picking the right respirator for the summer
- Silica - Understanding the new silica standard
- Silica - What is respirable crystalline silica and how does it affect us?
- Silica - Key elements of the new silica standard
- Silica - Respirator selection
Jamie: Hello, and a warm welcome to everybody. We would like to wish everyone a good morning, good afternoon or a good evening depending on where you are in the world today. My name is Jamie, and I’m one of the co-founders of Safeopedia.
Safeopedia’s mission is to support the EHS professionals, operational folks and any safety-minded individuals with free safety information, tools, and education. I would like to extend a huge thank-you to those dedicated professionals for the great work they do on a daily basis.
Just a friendly reminder, the webinar is being recorded today and we’ll be sending a link to everybody in just a few days. Again, the webinar is for you, the audience, so let’s keep it interactive. You can enter your questions into the GoToWebinar console as we go, and we’ll get to them at the end of the presentation.
Today, we’re very proud to present The Biggest Summer Safety Issues and How to Address Them. This Safeopedia webinar is being presented by Honeywell Industrial Safety, a valued member of SafetyNetwork.me. Whether you wear, sell or manufacture safety equipment, safety network is for you. It’s your personal safety community and resource center with partners consisting of the best safety equipment manufacturers and distributors on the planet.
It is now my pleasure to introduce to you today’s presenters. We’ve got Mario Salcedo, Tom Dillon and Robin Regan.
Mario is the Regional Sales Manager for Honeywell Industrial Safety Products in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. He’s been with Honeywell Industrial Safety for 11 years and 5 years as an executive for British Petroleum. He educates end users and distributors on the proper use of general PPE, hand and arm protection, eye and face protection, hearing protection and more. He’s currently involved with the Voice of the Customer for Honeywell Industrial Products where he discovers customers’ PPE needs and works closely with the Honeywell product managers to invent, design and re-engineer products.
Mario completes three safety analysis for customers to mitigate risks for the employer and employees. He assists companies to standardize and rationalize PPE products to reduce the customers’ cost. Mario provides services to the following industries: agriculture product and services, heavy construction, metal fabrication, oil and gas refining, aviation and component services.
I would like to introduce Tom. Tom joined the safety industry in 1995 and is now the North American Application, Training and Sales Manager for Miller by Honeywell. He has spoken at both regional and national symposium on a number of fall protection and rescue issues and has trained thousands of workers the years in proper use of fall protection, confined space and rescue products. Tom was also a lieutenant on Rescue Squat 175 in Washington, Missouri. He is a fire instructor, hazmat tech, high angle/high aerial rescue tech, swift water rescue tech and the department’s Public Information Officer. He has an amazing wife and 2 wonderful adult children, a son and a daughter, and resides in Washington, Missouri.
Robin started in Honeywell in 2016 as a Regional Sales Manager for respiratory products, covering the southeast. He recently became the Respiratory Application Training Specialist, covering sales for the U.S. and Canada.
I now invite you to sit back, relax and enjoy the presentation. With that, Mario, please take it away.
Mario: Good morning, good afternoon to those who are far, far away from here. My name is Mario Salcedo. I am the Regional Sales Manager for Honeywell Industrial Safety in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. What I’m hoping to cover today is the general summer safety hazards, what you can do to protect yourself or the employees. Some of the topics we’re going to discuss today are: the top summer safety hazards, what does OSHA say, who is OSHA, tips on how to beat the heat and the products that can help.
So what is heat exhaustion? Well, heat exhaustion is when the body loses an excessive amount of salt and water. Heat exhaustion can set in in different ways. Some of the symptoms could be nausea, vomiting, headache, muscle cramps, dizziness and even flu-like symptoms.
Now what can we do? We can either move the employee over to a shade or be half-sitting. You can pour water over their heads. You can have a wet towel. You can give them some water. Do not give them any alcohol at all. You can offer them some electrolyte replacement fluids and then have them take a very cool shower – that would also help.
What is heatstroke? Heatstroke can occur when the ability to sweat fails and your body temperature rises quickly, so the brain or the vital organs are effectively cooked as the body temperature rises to a dangerous level in a matter of minutes. So heatstroke is often fatal. Those who do survive may have permanent damage to their organs. Some of the symptoms that you may see out there could be either sweating, hot skin, confusions, coma and even seizures.
What should we do? Move the employee, again, to a half-sitting place. Call 911. If you are in an area that’s low humidity, spray water on them and then fan them. If you are in a high humidity, use ice on the neck, or the armpits or even groin area. No aspirin at all, of course, and no drinking at all. What I mean about humidity, if humidity is low 75%, spray the victim with water and fan. Again, if the humidity is above 75%, you want to use ice to the neck, the armpits and the groin. If it’s below, just spray water on the victim, that’s what you want to do.
Now other things that we need to keep in mind is: poison ivy; there’s extreme weather out there, you have mudslides, you have rain, you have lightning, you have hail; some of the explosions that may occur are pressurized cans are either in the truck or in the cars; there’s sunburn that happens very frequently; dehydration; you need to look for wasps, or bugs, or snakes are some of the things that you want to keep in mind.
This chart here is a chart that shows exposure to environmental heat. If you take a look at this chart, basically, we have about 37 work-related deaths and about 2,830 nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses that involve days away from work. Now this happened only in 2015, so there’s a lot more today. But 33 of the 37 fatal work injuries caused by exposure to environment heat occurred in the summer months of—guess what? Between June and September.
I got this chart from the DLS, which is one of our websites, so you have access to it. I’ll make sure that I put the website up so you can take a look at it, so you can pull some of this information yourself. When you take a look at this chart here, you can see that you have Texas and California, they had some of the highest numbers of nonfatal injuries and illnesses with days away from work.
My next chart here will actually show us the transportation and material moving occupations accounting for about 720 nonfatal causes with days away from work that resulted from exposure to the environment. Again, this was in 2015, so it’s a lot higher now. As you can see in the chart here, that was ¼ the total cases caused by environmental heat exposure, so there’s some good news out there.
What does OSHA say and who is OSHA? OSHA, basically, they’re the occupational, safety and health. What they say about heat, what should we do is basically employers are required to provide their employees with a place of employment that is free from recognizable hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious harm to employees. So they came up with a campaign called “Water. Rest. Shade.” With this campaign, they invented a little app. This little app is something that you can actually download, the employees can download this or anyone that’s working.
If you take a look at this app here, it will show you or the employees there’s a minimal risk, there’s low risk while you’re working, moderate risk, high risk and extreme risk. It will give you the temperature. It will actually tell the employees what precautions they need to take. In this case, it’s 78, so there’s no additional precaution necessary beyond basic health and safety planning. Now it will change dramatically if it is very, very hot, let’s say 110, to extreme risk, so then it will give you some other advice of what you should do. Again, you can download this either on your android app or your iTunes.
Tips on how to beat the heat. These are some of the tips that we came up with:
Track the weather, so you know what you will be facing that day and plan accordingly. It usually starts the day before. You don’t plan, necessarily, that morning. You need to plan the day before. If possible, don’t work in the hottest part of the day. In certain areas of the country, for example, Texas, Arizona, California, they actually work many times during late in the evening or at night.
They need to drink plenty of fluids. We recommend that they drink at least 40 ounces of water an hour. Now drinking lots of water at one time is not good enough. What they need to do is start drinking water the day before, and throughout the entire day, they need to be drinking some cool water.
Use some sunscreen and wear proper clothing. What I mean by proper clothing; make sure that, if they’re working out in the hot sun, they can use some sleeves. Think about the color of the clothing as well, whether it’s a darker color or a lighter color.
The employee should know their surroundings. They should walk the site and look for hazards before working. You need to keep your employees informed and make sure they understand the elements. Are they walking on dry dirt? Are they walking on pavement? Are they walking on concrete? That actually will increase the temperature for the employees walking around.
Allow for breaks throughout the entire day. Use tents, fans and other structures for cool zones for rest. When you select your tent, also think about the color of the tent. Certain tents will actually absorb, and some tents will actually not allow the air to actually come through and allow it to breathe.
Wear proper PPE. Companies might need to make exceptions when appropriate. The employee needs to really listen to their body.
What can we do? What kind of PPE should we use out there? There are some employees that may be using a cap-style hardhat. You can switch to a full-brim hardhat that provides more shade. Also look for accessories. There are accessories out there such as a cooling headband or cooling neck wrap. Some of these cooling bands and neck wraps will actually absorb cool water. You can put them on your neck and they will actually keep the employee cool for a couple of hours.
If you require earmuffs, invest in some cool pads. I know that Howard Leight has some cool pads that will help wick away moisture and stay comfortable. Maybe allow some earmuffs where—so instead of wearing earmuffs, maybe earplugs, right?
Make sure you have a first aid kit that includes sunscreen, bug repellent, sting relief, bandages and ice packs, enough ice packs throughout the day.
Invest in some good anti-fog eyewear. I know that you guys offer also some HyrdoShell coating eyewear that can actually last about 60x longer. Also makes sure that you use the right tint for the right application. So the employees are working near water, there’s a lot of reflection that comes off the water, there are certain tints that you can use for that. Then you want to protect the employee from UV ray eyewear. Don’t allow them to use, maybe, a clear eyewear, maybe they should move to a grey or espresso.
And then change to a lighter-weight glove that is a little bit cooler and more comfortable. I know that most people are still using some of the leather gloves out there. They are heavier, your hands are sweaty and they get hot. There are gloves out there that are more comfortable, more ergonomic and, in addition to that, they’re a lot cooler.
Then usually clothing that is lightweight and loose-fitting that’s able to breathe. I’m sure you’ve heard of dri-fit where it allows the employee to actually be cooled. There are other clothing out there that will reduce the body heat by almost 10%, so keep an eye out, there’s clothing out there as well.
I believe, Robin, you’re next.
Jamie: Alright, Robin. I should have just made you the presenter.
Robin: My name is Robin Regan. I’m the Application Training Specialist for Respiratory Products for Honeywell. We’re going to talk about silica dust today, specifically crystalline silica and how affects us in a respiratory manner.
Crystalline silica, you may have heard some talk about the new standard that has come out. Crystalline silica is found in a lot of natural materials, sand, concrete, stone, mortar. It’s used in a lot of different production, mainly our concrete workers are going to be the biggest ones exposed to silica. We’re not concerned about sand when people are driving over it at a job site. We’re concerned about ones that become airborne and reaches that very small, single-digit micron level. It’s going to be a hundred times smaller than a grain of beach sand, or playground sand or that sugar sand that we see on a lot of job sites. It turns airborne once we cut, saw, grind and drill into that stone, rock, concrete, brick, mortar, things like that.
A lot of different activities that will kick it up: sandblasting, drilling or cutting into concrete, sawing into concrete, grinding mortars is one of the bigger offenders. Usually, if we can see a visible dust cloud coming off of somebody working with any of these materials, then we’re well beyond what’s an acceptable exposure to silica dust.
The previous standard in place were 100 micrograms per cubic meter for general industry and 250 micrograms per cubic meter for construction and shipyard. That is the concentration of how many silica particles in the air. Very hard to visualize that, but new standard is 50 micrograms per cubic meter. To give you an idea of 50 micrograms per cubic meter should look like, it’s about a sugar packet’s worth. If you open up the sugar packet and throw it in the air, standing on the 50-yard line of a football field, and it evenly dispersed over the entire football field, that would be approximately 50 micrograms per cubic meter, so very small amounts can make a very large area above the concentration limit.
The previous standards were put in place over 40 years ago. Research was done in 60s. Honestly, even in the 1930s, we knew how dangerous silica dust was and crystalline respirable silica was. Evidence has shown that below 100 micrograms per cubic meter, lung cancer and silicosis can occur whether it’s acute or chronic silicosis. The new standard, again, has been lowered to 50, but before we were allowing up to 2.5x the dangerous level.
Not just silicosis, but lung cancer, COPD and kidney disease. You’ll see there a picture of a healthy lung versus a picture of a silicotic lung. We are very concerned when silica dust gets into the lungs. Crystalline respirable silica, it’s single-digit micron level and it stays very sharp. When it gets absorbed into the lungs, it starts to cut into the lung tissue. It stays in the lung tissue, it’s absorbed and scar tissue forms over where it’s being cut. Because it stays in there and because it stays sharp, it continues to cut into that scar tissue over, and over and over again. That’s why you end up with a lung like you see here on the bottom picture. It’s that continued exposure to crystalline silica particles that are already in the lungs.
So OSHA gets reports of 900 new cases of silicosis each year. Remember, that’s just the silicosis. We’re not talking about the COPD, or kidney disease or lung disease. That’s just the silicosis. They’re hoping that this new rule will actually prevent about 600 deaths per year. This is a big ruling. This is a big new standard. A lot of people refer to it as a new asbestos because of how many people are affected by it and how dangerous the potential is. It’s just not something that maybe we’ve heard of quite as much as asbestos and mesothelioma. As you can see here, silicosis is the #1 killer, but lung cancer and kidney disease are also in these numbers.
The rule was published in 2016. It went into effect—actually, that date for construction of June 23, 2017 got pushed back to September. There was a small grace period, then there were legal challenges. A lot of groups got together and filed challenges against OSHA, through the courts to change some of the ruling, to lessen some of the impact. All of those court rulings came back, the challenges failed, so all of the rulings have stood and the silica standard is where it is.
This year, very recently, June 23rd of this year, the silica standard also went into effect for general industry, so manufacturing, they all went into effect as well. They have a little bit more grace period to get medical surveillance into place, as you can see here, June 23, 2020. Hydraulic fracturing has a year after that to get their engineering controls into place.
As I said, the new standard, the permissible exposure limit is now 50 micrograms per cubic meter for an 8-hour average, equivalent to 0.05 milligrams per cubic meter, again, much smaller compared to the 250 micrograms per cubic meter that had been allowed.
The action level of 25, what that is, is half the exposure limits is the action level. Any time you are above the action level, you still have to monitor employee’s exposure and you still have to start medical surveillance. So even though they might not be required to wear a respirator, we still have to take certain actions and make sure that they’re not getting exposed too much and monitor it to prevent any future lung illnesses, lung diseases.
Some of the highlights of the standard. We’re going to talk a little bit about engineer and work practice controls. We’re going to talk about written exposure plans. Medical surveillance is a very big one because the medical surveillance is a little bit more extreme when you’re dealing with silica than it would be with normal contaminants. Then respiratory protection that you need to wear for certain tasks and then training in hazard communication.
This is a screenshot of Table 1, which was released by OSHA. Eighteen different tasks, they’re very common tasks in the construction industry. This is just for the construction side of the standard, but it breaks down 18 very common tasks. The first one we’re going to look at is using a stationary masonry saw. The next column is what engineering controls have we put into place. Also on the next slide, we’re going to look at whether you’re working indoors, whether you’re working outdoors. The last two columns are whether you’re averaging less than 4 hours a shift or more than 4 hours a shift. It will tell us specifically what level of respiratory protection we need based on all of these factors.
So here, using a stationary masonry saw with water delivery integrated into the saw. Whether you’re less than 4 hours or more than 4 hours, you do not need respiratory protection. Any time where you have the option to use an engineering control, it needs to be used. If you can use water delivery to the blade or a shroud with a dust collection system or vacuum system, it does need to be used.
Moving on to the next task. Here we are looking at using a hand-held power saw. It doesn’t matter what sized blade diameter. Still using the water delivery to the blade, but also, here, we do break down outdoors versus indoors. So for outdoors, less than 4-hour shifts, you’ve got good ventilation, you do not need respiratory—but if you’re more than 4 hours average per shift, then you have to have a protection factor of 10. Then if you’re indoors and in an enclosed area, very little circulation of air, regardless, you have to use a respirator with a protection factor of 10. We’re going to talk about protection factors here in 2 slides when we look at different products, but basically, the protection factor is how many times you can go above that permissible exposure. So an exposure limit of 50 micrograms per cubic meter, protection factor of 10 means you can go 10x that initial exposure limit of about 50 micrograms and still be safe in that respirator.
The third example we’re going to look at—like I said, there are 18 different tasks, but this is the only task that requires a protection factor other than 10 – using a handheld grinder to remove mortar. As you can see here, you are using a handheld grinder to remove mortar and it’s more than 4 hours average per shift, you need a higher protection factor of 25. Your protection factor of 10 is going to include disposable masks, half masks, whole-face masks that have gone through normal physical fit testing. They all have a protection factor of 10x the exposure limit, but this specific test, you would need a higher protection factor of 25. I have a few different ways of getting there, but again, it is the only one in this list that requires anything other than either no respiratory protection or an APF of 10.
So a little bit difficult slide to read here, but basically, this is an example of a written exposure control plan. It is mandatory that any time you are using respirators in the workplace and you’re above exposure limits for whatever contaminants you’re using, you do have to have a written respiratory program in place that highlights all of the different things you’re doing to be in compliance with the respiratory standard set by OSHA. This is separate. This is something you need to do in addition to that written respiratory program that just specifically talks about silica. It will talk about the description of what you’re going to be doing, what engineering controls you have in place, what work practices you have in place, which respirators you’re using and what protection level they have.
Then there are some housekeeping things on here. Not a respiratory issue per se, but one thing is you cannot dry sweep at the end of the day to remove dust that’s been kicked up by these tasks. We’re not just concerned about the sugar sands that’s on the ground now or the construction sand, we’re now concerned about crystalline respirable silica that has been put off by doing the tasks like using a saw on concrete, or drilling into concrete or crushing bricks, something like that. You cannot dry sweep anymore, you have to throw down a compound or use a wet method, use a HEPA vacuum or something like that.
Also it says on here is to restrict access to work areas, so there does need to be hazard communication. We have a plumber working in the same area as one of our concrete guys, we need to be in respiratory protection or we need to be limiting their access and have proper communications and signage up.
Alright, so competent person. If anybody is familiar with fall protection, you know that there is a class where you go to become a competent person. OSHA has used the same term here, but they mean something very different. Just being knowledgeable about the respirable crystalline silica hazard and being knowledgeable enough to identify the hazards and be able to see what hazards might come up in the future, that is what makes them a competent person for silica.
They’ve got to be able to put a plan in place, but they also have to be authorize to make changes. If that person cannot walk into a job site and say you’re not wearing a mask, or you’re wearing the wrong mask or you don’t have signage up, you must stop work immediately, then they’re not considered competent. So if they don’t have the full backing of the company, does not count and we should make some changes there, and they do need to make frequent, regular inspections of job sites just to make sure that the standards are being followed.
Medical surveillance. Prior to wearing any respirator, if you are, again, at or above the exposure limits for any contaminant, prior to wearing a respirator in the workplace, you must have a medical evaluation. Those medical evaluations, typically, can be done online. They don’t take very long. They don’t, necessarily, have to be done in person, and they’re good for the life of the career unless you’re working with a specific contaminant and silica is one of those.
Silica standard requires more extreme medical surveillance. If you are in construction, if you are required to wear the respirator for 30 days or more in a year, or in general industry, it can go into be above the action level, remember we talked about the action level of 25, you have to begin medical evaluation/medical surveillance. It’s every 3 years instead of just one time. The initial test requires a TB test. Every 3 years, you will do work history, physical exam, chest x-ray and pulmonary function test. So we’re getting a baseline and then, every 3 years, they’re ensuring that those silicosis, no lung disease is going into—nothing showing up on those results.
How do we protect ourselves against crystalline respirable silica? The vast majority of people exposed to this would end up being in an N95 disposable respirator. That’s not a guarantee. There are definitely people who would have higher concentration, but that task, any time where it says APF of 10, the cheapest, easiest product to access is an N95 disposable respirator. They can wear higher level of protection, they can wear an N95 or a P100, but it’s not necessarily required.
We’ll talk about valves here for a little bit, just because we are talking about summer safety and heat. If you’re in a humid area—I’m here in Georgia, it’s pretty much going to be humid 9 months out of the year down here, even worse than Florida where I do quite a bit of work. A valve is very important. That exhalation valve helps release some of the humidity and not allow the inside of the mask and the filter material to absorb too much moisture. If anybody’s asking, you know, “Why do I need a valve?” because it usually doubles the price of the disposable, that’s the real reason to get a valve. It helps keep the structure of the mask, helps you wear it for longer on a hot and humid day.
Half masks, you get much, much longer use out of them. You’re not throwing it away every day. You can use those filters day after day until they clog up. You’re not throwing them away simply because you’ve worn the disposable all day, and it’s now moist from all the expelled breathing air and you just have to throw it away at the end of the day. You can keep using filters until they clog up. So it may be more comfortable, a little bit better feel and get some longer use if the customer uses half masks with N95 filters, or if they wanted to use P100 filters, they could as well. If they’re working around multiple different contaminants, this is what they’ll have to start with so that they could also have let’s say they needed organic vapor protection plus N95 protection or plus P100 protection, a half mask would be the way they would go.
Full face masks, here is where we could start to get that protection factor of 25 that was needed for people grinding mortar for greater than 4 hours per shift. If you do a quantitative fit test, so that’s fit testing on a PortaCount machine or an OHD machine, you actually get a protection factor of 50 times the permissible exposure on full face masks only. Normal fit testing, Bitrex, irritant smoke, that still gets you a protection factor of 10.
Another option is to use a mask-mounted powered air unit. The battery typically worn on the hip and connects to a very simple blower motor that pulls air through a HEPA filter and provides a much higher protection factor of 1000 because this is a positive pressure respirator. Air is continuously being pushed into the respirator to breath and then expelled air comes out through the exhalation valve at a continuous flow so particles cannot work against that flow of air because, typically, you have a minimum of 4 cubic feet per minute on these powered air units.
There are also belt-mounted powered air unit. This is where you can have more than just the HEPA particular protection. They also can go up to protection 1000x the permissible exposure limit. You can also wear these with loose-fitting hoods. Some of the loose-fitting hoods just have a protection factor of 25. All of ours, except for one, have a protection factor of 1000. You do not need to fit test in a hood and you can have facial hair in a hood. You can also wear your own prescription glasses unless you need impact protection, something like that. That’s where the powered air unit can sometimes become popular.
That is it for me. I’ll hand it over to Tom. Thank you, everyone.
Tom: Alright. Good afternoon, everyone. My name is Tom Dillon with Miller Fall Protection. As Jaime shared with you earlier in the presentation, I am also a Missouri State firefighter. Recently, our department and many other departments across the United States participated with Drexel University in a study that is still ongoing, had thousands of firefighters as subjects. What they really wanted to find out was what some of the factors were that can cause accidents, near-misses and any type of injuries.
They had us, basically, track what we did during the day, kept a journal, how we slept at night, things that we did during the day, if we’ve gone out, stayed out late, things of that nature so that we could find out if something did happen, if there was a near-miss, our department would let Drexel know and they did additional interviews with us so that we could go over some of the things that had happened prior to that accident. What they found is that in almost every case, there was some factor of dehydration or fatigue that could have contributed to the accident, incident or near-miss. A contributing factor with a combination of lack of sleep, improper liquid intake and heat were probably the most common thread in all of that, which is extremely common for firefighters in general.
Once they found that subjects may not slept well the night before. It could have been that you were out all night on a fire call, it could have been you were out all night with your friends, it could have been just personal issues that kept you up all night, it could be physical things that kept you up all night, you know, shoulder, sore knee, a cold, whatever the case might be. They found that, in most cases, people drink coffee or energy drinks instead of water or some type of electrolyte drink, which would compound the dehydration. Then heavy clothing and tools that we use kind of exasperated that same situation that did this.
So as I participated in the study, it kind of came to mind that I think you can almost substitute construction worker for everywhere they put the word “firefighter” in this particular case. They could use anything, they may not sleep well, they drink coffee or energy drinks to keep them moving during the day, they have high-intensity work ethic and a lot of times, they have heavy clothing, heavy tools that they have to carry around to be able to do their jobs. So over the last few years, I’ve been trying to incorporate that into our fall protection programs to help people understand that, by doing this, we are contributing to some these accidents, really, that can be avoided.
Again, with the construction and maintenance workers, very similar to firefighters, what we want to try to do is minimize any type of weight or heat that they could have in using their fall protection working at heights. What most people don’t realize is that harnesses can weigh anywhere from 2 lbs to nearly 50 lbs depending on the different features that you would have on a harness, back pads, belts, side D rings, front D rings, extra padding, tool pouches. As you go up in features, in some cases, you also go up in a lot of weight. In some cases—a harness that big and that heavy isn’t really necessary for every specific job.
So hardware weight of a harness is extremely important. It varies between aluminum and carbon steel. So in a lot of cases you can reduce a lot of weight by going with an aluminum harness versus a carbon steel harness.
If we can educate the workers not to carry every single tool all day long if they don’t need those tools, it would also help. In many cases, you can go out of the job site, you can see a construction worker who has a belt full of tools with his harness. He may need those tools all day every day, but in some cases, maybe he’s going to do a job for an hour or so, and then he’s going to come back and he doesn’t need all those particular tools. You just need whatever, it might be a hammer and a wrench, so to carry all the rest of the tools with him is unnecessary. If we can get them to unload those tools, we can actually get them to be able to work lighter and longer, and there will be less fatigue on them as they do it.
In some cases, it’s really just a, for the lack of a better word, a macho mentality that it looks good. I’m carrying all these tools around because I’m working really hard, I got all these stuff. It’s the same with firefighters. We’ll grab a lot of things that we may not necessarily need to take with us just in case we need it when, really, one tool may do the job, we’ll take a couple of extras. I think the construction industry has the same type of mentality.
Padding should be more of a breathable foam, not a closed cell. It should be heat-formed, not dense. It should be a breathable material. In a lot of cases, what you find in, like in your own house, on a memory foam mattress, the mattresses are extremely comfortable, but because of the denseness of the material, it actually becomes extremely hot when you lay on it for a while. In a lot of cases, there are harnesses out there that use that same type of foam. All that does is it builds up heat on the individual as they’re wearing it. So if you can get an open and close material instead, it’s much better off. It dissipates the heat easier, let’s the airflow through better and it keeps the individual cool.
When it comes to connecting devices, it’s possible you can use webbing and plastic versus cable and steel, again, to reduce some of the weight. In most cases, these days, a lot of the webbing, some of the self-retracting lifelines and personal fall limiters are made out of are extremely strong and can actually take quite a bit of force, similar to what a cable or steel lanyard would be able to have.
So, with that, I think we’ve completed our total presentation, and we’re going to pass it back over to Jaime and open it up for any questions.
Jamie: Great. Thank you, Tom. Yeah, we do have quite a few questions that have come in. I guess, we’ll kick it right off. Jason is asking a silica question. Why did people challenge, in your opinion, I guess, why did people challenge the ruling for silica?
Robin: Sure. You can hear me okay?
Jamie: Sure, yeah. Perfect.
Robin: So if you think about not only the tools that need to be bought now, people need to buy shrouds for saws and for drills, and they need to buy dust collection and they need to buy respirators, but also the medical evaluation, that was usually just a very affordable, onetime, you could do it online and it was good for the career of the worker. Now you’re doing a very expensive medical evaluation that’s done every 3 years. You’ve got to pay administration people to keep these records and then, on top of that, yeah, you have to buy the shrouds and the equipment for the tools as well as the respiratory—this was a massive cost increase to anyone working with construction. I think we’re already seeing concrete prices going up across the country. This certainly plays a factor.
So I think if the standard had been put into place gradually over the last 40 years, maybe it wouldn’t have been challenged so much. This was a big change that came all at once.
Jamie: Interesting, thank you. Alright, we have a fall protection question. It’s from Mike. This is one of the questions asked before the webinar. Is there specific documentation required for fall protection, as an example, inspection forms, training forms, etc?
Tom: Yes, absolutely. So any time a fall protection product is purchased, we recommend that you document that you purchased, that you document when that actually went into service into the field. You have to document, on a regular basis, by a competent person, that the product has been inspected. If at any time the product does not pass an inspection, it has been used in a fall or damaged, it needs to be taken out of service and that would need to be documented as well. Then, any type of training that you do for individuals on any particular safety category, fall protection, for example, you should document the type of training that they did, and how long it took and keep a record of all that.
Jamie: Perfect, thank you. Here’s an interesting question from Mohammed. What is the legal high temperature when work must stop in Canada or the United States? If we can’t answer it, we can definitely find out.
Mario: I don’t think there’s, necessarily, according to OSHA, there are currently no specific OSHA standards that will say that this is where you’ll need to stop. I’m not sure about Canada since I’m not Canadian, located in Canada, but currently, there’s no specific standards for that under section 5(a)(1) of the OSHA 1970 standards.
Jamie: Perfect, thank you. I know when I worked up in Northern Canada, we had, on the cold side, -40, but that’s a whole different ballgame. Alright, Quintin has a good question here. I think, Mario, you mentioned we’re going to send out some links to the charts that you showed. Is there data out there that shows an increase in silica exposure to employees in the summer or are we making an assumption based on the increase of work and concrete work?
Mario: So just more of the work tends to happen in the summertime, depending on the state. In northern states, the roadwork, a lot of this work is only going to be done in the summer time. Where I’m at in the southeast, it’s a year-round issue. I don’t know of any specific data, but just based on when this work is done, it increases quite a bit in summer.
Jamie: Alright, thank you for that. A question about that app, the weather app. Does the app work in Canada? In fact, I will download it. I’m up in Canada, so I will download it myself and give it a shot. Yeah, I don’t know if you know offhand, Mario?
Mario: I don’t. I do not, but I don’t see why it would not work because it’s based off whatever the temperature is within that area. They have a couple of iPhone—yeah, I don’t see why it would not work. I haven’t used it there, but it should work.
Jamie: Okay. We had someone, a couple of people sign in to say, “No, it doesn’t,” so definitely will give it a shot, but thanks, everybody, for your help. Here’s a question from Victor. Cooling equipment in the market that can help control extreme heat in the summer, is there anything new that’s also dependable? So what are you seeing out there that’s new in regards to cooling equipment?
Mario: I’m not sure about the equipment per se. I am seeing some large fans that have a 55 gallon of water. They actually turning the fan on with the water and it’s actually cooling the employees. That’s something I’m seeing out there in the construction sites right now. I’m also seeing a lot of clothing that will actually absorb your own sweat and actually will cool the employee down, or you can actually use the headbands or the neck bands.
Jamie: Perfect, thank you. Here’s a question from Thomas. Quartz silica is a small portion of diatomaceous earth, hydrated lime, etc. Does the standard apply to these products? I don’t think that TWA would ever be reached due to the small percentage.
Robin: I’m not sure about every specific contaminant, but any time you’ve got a product like that—it’s different percentages. Normally, it’s about 10% to 20% of weather it’s brick, block or mortar, 10% or 20% of what’s coming off in that cloud of dust is the crystalline respirable silica, so we’re not talking about 100% of concrete dust. There’s a lot of other particulates and pieces that are in there, so each one has a different percentage. I don’t know every single one of them, but quartz, I would still be very, very concerned about high levels there.
Jamie: Perfect, thank you. I missed the name of—what’s the name of the weather app, Mario? Can you mention that again?
Mario: Yes. The weather app is just, if you go under iTunes, it should be under OSHA NIOSH Heat Safety Tool app.
Jamie: Cool. We’ll throw a link in the follow-up email. When we send out the recording, we’ll put a link to that as well. Here’s a question from Gary. Do you need to fit test disposable respirators?
Robin: If you are at or above exposure limits for whatever contaminant that you are working with, you do still fit test a disposable respirator. If you have one of those that is a single-strap, you can buy them in a pack of 50 or 100, and you can probably even buy them at the grocery store, that is not a respirator, typically. Unless it has the NIOSH logo printed on it and a TC control number from NIOSH that says it has been certified—NIOSH is the regulation board that certifies respirators that are under the CDC. Unless it has that, it is not a respirator and offers no protection. If it’s a true disposable respirator, it does need to be fit tested unless you’re below those limits, at which point, you can wear it on a voluntary basis, but all disposables do need to be fit tested.
Jamie: Great, thank you. Patrick has a question. Can you talk a little bit about silica dust in quarries and is it a problem?
Robin: Yes. You’re still drilling into rock. When you blast the rock, you’re creating a lot—that’s the situation where air sampling would need to be done. Typically, when the blasting is done, everybody is so far away that it wouldn’t necessarily be a respiratory issue, but that is a situation where air sampling would need to be done so that we could find out what the concentration level is, because it’s not going to, typically, fall under that Table 1 that’s used for the construction industry. In those situations, bring in an industrial hygienist to actually sample the air, measure the concentration levels, and it’s sent off to a lab to get specific levels so that we know exactly what level of respiratory protection we would need.
Jamie: Great. Thank you, Robin. A question around dehydration. You have these sports drinks out there, the electrolyte drinks. Is there a ratio of water to electrolyte drink? Can you talk a little bit about that.
Mario: There is. Unfortunately, I do not have those ratios, but yes, there is.
Jamie: Okay, so those just pound down the electrolyte drink. Get some water in there as well at the very minimum.
Tom: That’s correct. It’s almost an oxymoron because some of those electrolyte drinks actually have a lot of sugar. One thing you need to stay away from is sugar when you’re out in the heat.
Jamie: Awesome. Thank you for that. Emmanuel has a question, and I think this is covered in one of those slides, but we can talk about it a little bit. What materials in construction contain silica and what can be done to prevent exposure?
Robin: Concrete, brick, block, mortar, ceramic, asphalt, glass, jewelers are exposed to silica when they cut into diamond, dentists are exposed to silica when they grind on teeth, or implants or whatever. There’s an enormous amount of different materials that can expose you to silica. As far as cutting down, cutting down your exposure is going to be done with those engineering controls. That’s why, as part of the standards, if you have the option to put a dust collection shroud onto a saw, you need to do it and it needs to have a HEPA filter so that we’re not pushing that crystalline and respirable silica dust back out into the air. There’s even things in place for when you’re emptying out those bags. They need to be done a certain way and wear protection so that we’re not putting these silica dust back out into the air during that.
But any engineering controls that can be used, that’s where a lot of that increased cost comes in. A lot of tools have to have engineering controls added to them or if you can add water delivery to a blade or a drill bit. That’s how you’re going to keep the exposure down and stop it from getting airborne because when it’s airborne is the concern.
Jamie: Great, thank you. A question here. It says, “With regards to clothing in the heat, is there any specific type of clothing other than white that should be used with regards to hot weather?”
Tom: I’ve seen yellow and also orange, but I would definitely stay away from any dark colors, blue, green and, of course, the black colors, I would stay away from those. Go towards the lighter color. There are a lot of construction company supply stores today that offer clothing that’s specifically for the heat, and they have certain colors that will help minimize the heat exposure.
Jamie: Are there specific fabrics that work better than others?
Tom: There are. There definitely are. Unfortunately, I’m not a fabric specialist, but yes, the answer is yes, there are many fabrics that are designed to reduce your body heat almost by 10%. So yes, there definitely are fabrics out there that will help reduce. Some of the clothing actually has this solution on it that, again, will help your body absorb your own sweat and then use your own sweat to actually cool your body by almost 10%. Dri-fit is a good example.
Jamie: Alright. It looks like we are about 3 minutes from the top of the hour. We are also out—one more question from Jennifer. If you have a question and you want it to get answered, just get it in before—we’ve got about a few minutes left here. Let’s see here. How many fatalities are there in the summer from falls? If you know the answer to that.
Tom: Yeah, I don’t have a specific number in the summer versus the winter, but in the U.S., in most cases, there’s probably seven months where we can say construction season, depending—end of March/beginning of April until September/October, just depending on the weather. At that time of year, there are substantially more people working at heights than over the winter, but I don’t know if there’s a specific ratio of summer to winter fatalities in with this.
Jamie: Okay, thank you. Alright. It looks like it might be our last question, it’s Shauna. She says, “Just for clarity, the every 3-year respiratory protection medical certification, is that just for the silica protection or is that across the board?
Robin: So that is contaminant-specific. If you are just working around contaminants and wearing respirators that do not have contaminant-specific regulation, then one medical evaluation is all that you need. We recommend doing it more frequently than just once when you get hired, but you only need to do the one medical evaluation and you are cleared to wear a respirator for the rest of your career while you’re with that company. The silica has its own regulation, so it does require the 3-year testing, but that is just for silica. There are other contaminants that have their own regulation, asbestos is one that has more increased medical surveillance, but yeah, that is specific for silica, not just for general respiratory.
Jamie: Perfect. Thank you, Robin. Alright, it looks like we’re right at the top of the hour here. I’ll turn it over to Mario, if you have any parting words.
Mario: I just want to thank everyone and thank you, Jaime, for allowing us to visit with the customers.
Jamie: Yeah, definitely our pleasure. How about you, Robin?
Robin: No, nothing for me, just thank you, everyone, for joining us today.
Jamie: Okay. Tom?
Tom: We appreciate all of your time. If there’s anything that Honeywell Safety Products can do to help any of you with whatever your safety goals are, please just let us know.
Jamie: Perfect. Thank you, guys. Yeah, really an enormous thank you to the audience. Without you guys, these webinars wouldn’t even be possible. Big thank you to Honeywell Industrial Safety. Again, you’re really responsible for putting this webinar on. To Mario, Robin and Tom, thank you for taking your time, excellent job, great information.
Just a reminder to the audience, we will be sending out a link to the recording and the slides in just a few days. So, again, thank you all. We know you have a choice of where to spend your time and we’re very grateful that you spent it with us. So on behalf of Safeopedia and SafetyNetwork, have a great day and stay safe. We’ll see you on the next one. Take care, everybody.