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News

Gribbins Insulation Adds Safety Coordinator, Kent Kafka

Evansville, Indiana – In its ongoing commitment to exceeding industry safety standards, Gribbins Insulation announces the addition of Kent Kafka as Safety Coordinator. Kafka brings over 20 years of expertise to Gribbins, including prior experience as an Indiana OSHA Industrial Hygiene Compliance Officer, as well serving as an Industrial Hygienist/Safety Consultant. In describing what drew him to Gribbins, Kafka explains, “Gribbins’s outstanding reputation for safety, and literally, a room full of safety awards, and the opportunity to perform training attracted me to the position.” He adds, “What I find most impressive about Gribbins’s projects is the use of the latest technology and state of the art methods of producing and installing insulation, all while using the safest methods and going beyond what the OSHA standards require.” In discussing his responsibility as a member of the Gribbins team, he states, “As a Safety Coordinator, the key role is to serve as a resource for insulators and provide an additional pair of eyes, and options on how to perform the job safely as a team.”

Kafka holds a Bachelor of Science degree as well as a Master of Science degree, both in Microbiology, from the University of Illinois. His professional certifications include Certified Hazardous Materials Manager, Licensed Asbestos Building Inspector, Asbestos Project Supervisor, Water Damage Restoration, and Applied Microbial Remediation. Kafka is a member of the American Industrial Hygiene Association local chapter.

A native of Aurora, Illinois, Kafka has resided in the Indianapolis area for more than two decades. Although based in the Gribbins Indianapolis office, he will conduct training and provide support at the various Gribbins facilities and project sites. In his personal life, Kent is actively involved in his children’s sports and musical activities.

Founded in 1985, Gribbins Insulation is a commercial and industrial mechanical insulation contractor serving the Midwestern United States. Headquartered in Evansville, Indiana, the company has five branch offices in Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky.

Core Values Update

In 2010, Gribbins Insulation formally published our core values as: Integrity, Safety, Quality, Productivity, and Innovation. As part of our management and sales retreat in May 2017, we took a hard look at those values, which we want to be the foundation of our decision-making, whether in the office or on the jobsite, in vendor dealings or internal policies.  During that conversation, we realized that Productivity and Innovation, although important, are not part of the foundation on which we perform work and make decisions.  We feel that a core value is something you are not willing to sacrifice.  We are willing to sacrifice productivity and innovation for integrity, safety, and quality.  

Also, we decided to include Service as a core value.  Gribbins Insulation is very committed to service to all stakeholders in our work, including employees, customers, vendors, and owners.  

As a result, our updated core values are:

Integrity

Profit should be the result of good business.  We say what we mean and do what we say, inspiring trust in our customers, our partners, and our employees.  We strive to “do the right thing” in all situations.

Safety

No job is more important that YOU.  Safety is our culture, a value incorporated into every decision.  Through our award-winning safety program, we work hard to ensure all employees return home every day without a scratch, and we believe every employee is accountable for that goal.

Quality

We are committed to doing things right and will not sacrifice quality to save time, meet a schedule, or lower a price.  Our comprehensive training programs and extensive supplier network allow the men and women who lead the charge to keep quality at the forefront of what we do.

Service

Our team works hard to anticipate needs and react quickly to exceed those expectations.  Through professionalism, consistent communications, and friendliness, we strive to provide a superior experience for our customers as well as our fellow employees.  We want our clients to ask for us and our employees to stay with us

NEW Points Redemption Site!

The NEW safety points redemption site is live and ready for employees to place orders!

The new website allows employees to check their live safety points balance and order items online.  Employees may choose to have the items shipped to their home or to the Evansville office for pickup.

www.gribbinspoints.com

Your username is your first initial and full last name. Your password is your birthdate in this format – MM/DD/YYYY. After entering this information, click “sign in.”

 EXAMPLE: John Smith born on May 12, 1979

Username: jsmith

Password: 05/12/1979

For detailed instructions for the new points website, click here: gribbinspoints.com Instructions

ORDERING TOOLS STILL AVAILABLE!

To redeem your points for tools, review the list of tools here – Gribbins Tool Catalog – then send an email to Vickie Dubord (vdubord@gribbins.com) and Stacey Forrester (sforrester@gribbins.com).  

SUPPORT

Please contact Jessica King at Oswald Marketing with questions about your balance or logging in.  Her email address is jessicak@oswaldmarketing.com and you can call her at 812-426-0335.  Of course, you can always contact the safety department as well.

Excavation, Trenching, and Shoring

An excavation is any man made cut, cavity, trench or depression in the earth’s surface.  A trench is a narrow excavation made below the surface of the ground with a width not greater than 15 feet.

Excavations and trenches are areas where our work is normally not performed.  However, when we do perform in these areas, employees must be trained, a competent person must be onsite, and inspections must be completed.  Excavations and trenches are one of OSHA’s national emphasis program and continue to cause fatalities every year.  It is imperative that employees are trained and follow all rules and regulations while enter a trench or excavation.  The following are a list of safety precautions while working in or around trenches or excavations:

  • The area must be cleared, approved and a site specific safety plan must be completed by the Gribbins Insulation representative prior to the start of an excavation.  An excavation may be considered a confined space, therefore atmospheric testing may be required.
  • All excavations must have safe access ways, be properly barricaded and shall have a flashing light barricade at night.  Spoil dirt may be used to barricade one side of a ditch or similar excavation.  All dirt must be piled at least three feet back from the edge of an excavation and must be at least three feet high when used as a barricade.
  • All excavations four feet or deeper into which personnel may be allowed to enter, no matter how brief, shall be shored, benched and/or sloped to comply with OSHA requirements.
  • Access and egress ladders are required in any excavation at a minimum of every 25 feet of lateral travel per OSHA regulation.
  • Gribbins Insulation will have a competent person, as defined by OSHA, supervising all excavation work.  The competent person shall inspect the excavation daily before work begins and after significant amount of rain or other conditions that may increase hazards.  The competent person shall complete annual refresher training.
  • All soils are to be considered Class “C” unless a soil laboratory determines and documents otherwise.
  • All excavations shall be inspected daily using the Gribbins Insulation Excavation Inspection form.
  • All walkways over a trench/excavation shall have guardrails, if they are 6 feet or more above the bottom of the trench/exaction.
  • All adjacent structures shall be supported to prevent a collapse.
  • Check all excavation walls before entering and after a heavy rain or thaw.  Inspect shoring daily or more often in extremely wet weather.
  • Nobody is permitted in an excavation while equipment is being used next to the edge.
  • All excavations within three feet of a known active underground pipeline, conduit, or cable shall be hand probed and dug using insulated tools.  If the underground utility cannot be found, all work shall stop at this location and the Gribbins Insulation field representative shall be notified.
  • No employee is permitted to enter a trench or excavation without being properly trained.

Hearing Protection

Gribbins Insulation - Toolbox Talk

Gribbins Insulation must institute a training program for all employees with noise exposures at or above the action level (85 decibels) and ensure participation.  This training must be repeated annually for each employee in the hearing conservation program.  Training must be updated to be consistent with changes in protective equipment and work processes.

Gribbins Insulation must ensure that each employee is informed of the following:  the effects of noise on hearing, the purpose of hearing protectors, the advantages, disadvantages and attenuation of various types and instructions of selection, fitting, use and care and the purpose of audiometric testing and an explanation of test procedures.

Physics of Sound

Sound is the physical phenomenon that stimulates our sense of hearing.  It is an acoustic wave that results when a vibrating source, such as machinery, disturbs an elastic medium, such as air.  In air, sound is usually described as variations of pressure above and below atmospheric pressure.  These fluctuations, commonly called sound pressure, develop when a vibrating surface forms areas of high and low pressure which transmit from the source as sound.

The ear is the organ that makes hearing possible.  It can be divided into three sections:  External outer ear, air filled middle ear and fluid filled inner ear.

The function of the ear is to gather, transmit and perceive sounds from the environment.  This involves three stages:

  1. Modification of the acoustic wave by the outer ear, which receives the wave and directs it to the eardrum.
  2. Conversion and amplification of the modified acoustic wave to a vibration of the eardrum (transmitted through the middle ear to the inner ear).
  3. Transformation of the mechanical movement of the wave into nerve impulses that will travel to the brain, which then perceives and interprets the impulse as sound.

 

Effects of Excessive Exposure

Although noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common occupation illnesses, it is often ignored because there are no visible effects.  Hearing loss usually develops over a long period of time, and, except in very rare cases, there is no pain.  What does occur is a progressive loss of communication, socialization and responsiveness to the environment.  In its early stages (when hearing loss is above 2,000 Hz) it affects the ability to understand or discriminate speech.  As it progresses to the lower frequencies, it begins to affect the ability to hear sounds in general.

The three main types of hearing loss are conductive, sensorineural or a combination of the two.

The effects of noise can be simplified into three general categories:

  • Primary Effects, which includes noise induced temporary threshold shift, noise induced permanent threshold shift, acoustic trauma and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
  • Effects on Communication and Performance, which may include isolation, annoyance, difficulty concentrating, absenteeism and accidents.
  • Other Effects, which may include stress, muscle tension, ulcers, increased blood pressure and hypertension.  In some cases, the effects of hearing loss may be classified by cause.

Use of Foam Ear Plugs

The Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) is the rating of each type of hearing protection should be located on the packaging for that type of hearing protection.  If the NRR is 33 (dB) and the environmental noise level is 92 dBA then the noise entering the ear is approximately equal to 59 dBA, if hearing protection is worn correctly.

Fitting Instructions: Hands and plugs should be clean before fitting.

  • Step 1 – Roll plug slowly with thumb and fingers.  Gradually increase pressure to compress plug to a very thin crease free cylinder.
  • Step 2 – Insert compressed plug well into earcanal while pulling ear outward and upward with the opposite hand.
  • Step 3 – Check the fit after the plug expands in the ear.  You should feel only the end of the plug.  If you feel most of the plug outside the earcanal remove plug and repeat fitting.  Listen to steady noise with plugs in both ears.  Cover ears with tightly cupped hands.  The noise should sound about the same whether or not your ears are covered.

President’s Message

Core Values Update

Posted: 08/23/17 By: Megan Knoll, Dir of Marketing

Integrity, Safety, Quality, and Service are the four cornerstones of our work.

Read Full Article

NEW Points Redemption Site!

Posted: 08/01/17 By: Megan Knoll, Dir of Marketing

Visit www.gribbinspoints.com to redeem your points!

Read Full Article
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Toolbox Talk

Excavation, Trenching, and Shoring

Posted: 07/31/17 By: Trevor Atherton, Safety Mgr

Follow all OSHA rules and regulations when working in excavations and trenches.

Read Full Article

Hearing Protection

Posted: 07/24/17 By: Trevor Atherton, Safety Mgr

Although noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common occupation illnesses, it is often ignored because there are no visible effects.

Read Full Article