Due to the present state of the coronavirus, as a precautionary measure, NWLETT is immediately cancelling all classes at all training sites (Kingston, Pasco, Satsop, Spokane, Utah, and Des Moines) for the next four weeks.
In-local classes are still scheduled to take place as planned; however, if this changes, cancellations will be posted to the schedules on the website.
Please check the website for updates.
Please stay safe and wash those hands!
Sunshine and clear skies are here! Every year, outdoor work ramps up in the drier weather. Ditching a desk job to work outside often tops the list of things construction workers love about their jobs. But spending months under the hot summer sun can also present specific dangers to construction workers.
Learn the signs of heat stress and get familiar with your team’s heat safety plan to keep yourself and your crewmembers safe this season.
We’re all responsible for each other
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 20 construction workers die each year from heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Construction laborers not only work long hours outdoors, but also often wear heavy protective clothing and work near heat sources such as engines or hot asphalt.
It’s extremely important that workers and their supervisors know the signs of heat-related illnesses and learn the best ways to prevent them. Before you get to work this season, make sure you’re familiar with your crew’s heat safety plan — and your role in it. While supervisors are in charge of setting up a safe work environment, you share the responsibility for yourself and your coworkers when it comes to recognizing signs of heat stress.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Heat Illness Prevention Campaign focuses on three words to remember: Water. Rest. Shade. Heat safety starts with making sure you’re hydrated, taking adequate rest breaks, and cooling down whenever possible — and encouraging your work crew to do the same.
What is heat-related illness?
The most common serious illnesses are heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Know the signs:
Who is at risk?
While anyone who works in hot conditions is susceptible to heat stress, there are personal and environmental factors that can increase your chances of becoming ill.
You may be particularly at risk if:
Beyond water, rest and shade, one simple preventative measure is wearing lightweight, breathable and light-colored clothing whenever possible. If you must wear heavy protective equipment on the job, make sure you’re taking more frequent breaks to cool down.
Acclimatization, or gradual exposure, is also an effective way to reduce heat stress. At the beginning of a heat wave or after a period of rest away from work, start slow. It can take at least five days and up to two weeks to fully acclimate to hot conditions.
What if I notice symptoms?
Report signs or symptoms immediately if you notice them in yourself or in a coworker. Talk to your supervisor about where and how to report and what to do during a heat-related emergency.
Symptoms can progress quickly. If a supervisor isn’t available, get to a cool, shaded area as fast as possible, rest, and drink water. If a coworker is unresponsive, call 911 right away.
Stay safe. Love your job.
Following a few simple safety measures can make sure you continue to thrive in what you love doing: Spending time outside, working with your body and your hands to build and improve the world we live in.
Ready to think beyond the cubicle? Contact NWLETT to find out more about our paid construction apprenticeships.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that technology has completely transformed the world during your lifetime. Whether you’re 22 or 62, even science fiction writers couldn’t have imagined everything that has changed or been invented while you’ve been around.
One small example: There’s more computing power in your smartphone than there was in the computers that landed the first man on the moon.
And technological advances are definitely not confined to the “high-tech” world. Construction may be the definition of a brick-and-mortar industry, but technology is helping it change and evolve.
Think about the all advances in that powerful smartphone; the same is true for the construction industry. Tools of all kinds evolve to adapt to new methods and materials. Technology has had an enormous impact on how we design, engineer and build structures.
In the traditional sense, you probably think of infrastructure as physical structures like roads and highways; bridges and dams; water, gas and oil pipelines; wastewater treatment plants; and communication networks and power grids. But infrastructure also includes technology. The power of the cloud, machine automation, the Internet of Things, big data and other technological developments are changing everything.
Check out just some of the things happening in construction today:
Ok, some of these concepts may seem a little like sci-fi. But they actually have real potential to enhance design, increase productivity, improve safety and even elevate quality in the construction industry.
The NWLETT Laborers Apprenticeship program will teach you traditional construction skills and techniques – but also give you a look into the exciting world of emerging construction technology. Laborers are consistently among the first in the industry to incorporate new tools and technology that increase productivity.
Learn more about the outstanding benefits of the Laborers Apprenticeship program.
The following article by Janet Lubman Rathner is from the Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund of North America website.
The frequency and consequences of concussions among players in the National Football League is getting a lot of press these days, but construction workers are also at risk for suffering this type of injury on the job. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the construction industry has the highest number of fatal head injuries in U.S. workplaces. Between 2003 and 2010, more than 2,200 construction workers died from traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
What Is a Concussion?
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a sudden and direct bump, blow or jolt to the head or body that causes the brain to bounce and twist inside the skull. This violent movement can cause bruising, damage blood vessels and nerves and create chemical changes.
Concussions, which can occur even if the head never smacks the ground, can range from leaving a worker feeling slightly dazed or experiencing a very brief loss of consciousness to a prolonged loss of consciousness and longer recovery times. Severe TBIs can be life-threatening.
Repeated concussions, even when mild, can also lead to serious health problems. These include post-concussion syndrome, in which the effects of a concussion, including headaches and dizziness, last for weeks and sometimes even months after the initial injury.
High Risk for Head Injuries
The falls and struck-bys that cause most fatalities in construction are also the source of most concussions among workers. National estimates are not available, but in the state of Washington, these types of injuries accounted for 20 percent of work-related injuries from 1998-2008. They can lead to costly compensation claims and workers who suffer them are more likely to require hospitalizationthan other types of injuries.
“A concussion can occur in the blink of an eye. All it takes is a missed step on a ladder or being hit by a falling object from above,” says LIUNA General Secretary-Treasurer and LHSFNA Labor Co-Chairman Armand E. Sabitoni. “That’s why it’s important for every worker on site to be able to recognize the symptoms of a concussion and for someone to be designated to call 911 or take the injured worker to the emergency room, even if that worker says they’re fine.”
Symptoms of a concussion include:
Diagnosis and Treatment
A doctor will determine the severity of a concussion by:
Recovery may require several days of bed rest, fluids and over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen. Follow-up care may also be needed to ensure there are no complications such as memory loss, cognitive impairment and personality issues. Follow-up medical evaluation is important for ensuring the injured person has recovered and is ready to return to work.
Reduce the Risk for Head Injuries
In addition to providing hard hats, employers can reduce the risk for concussions by:
The LHSFNA offers a number of materials that can help reduce the risk for falls and struck-bys at construction sites that can lead to concussions. These include the Fall Protection in Construction Health Alert and the A Clean Site is a Safe Site poster. Order these and other health and safety materials through the Fund’s online Publications Catalogue. You can also read more about preventing falls in our January 2016 article, “Protecting Workers During All Aspects of a Fall.”
The LHSFNA’s Occupational Safety & Health Division can provide additional guidance with thorough site visits and reviewing an employer’s safety and health program. The Fund’s online Site Safety and Health Program allows signatory contractors to create individual safety and health programs customized for their specific needs. For more information, call 202-628-5465.
Planning on watching the total solar eclipse on August 21?
Protecting your vision during during all phases of this incredible event is important. The only safe time to view without protective eyewear is during the approximate two minutes of totality.
Here’s an informative piece which recently ran on NPR which details the safest methods (and it even includes a link to reputable, NASA-approved dealers of protective eyewear).
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