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Archive for September, 2016

Voluntary Use of Respirators

Gribbins Insulation - Toolbox Talk

Gribbins Insulation Company may provide respirators at the request of employees or permit employees to use their own respirators, if Gribbins Insulation Company determines that such respirator use will not in itself create a hazard.  If Gribbins Insulation Company determines that any voluntary respirator use is permissible, Gribbins Insulation Company shall provide the respirator users with the information contained in Appendix D to this section.

In addition, Gribbins Insulation Company must establish and implement those elements of a written respiratory protection program necessary to ensure that any employee using a respirator voluntarily is medically able to use that respirator, and that the respirator is cleaned, stored and maintained so that its use does not prevent health hazards to the user.  Exception:  Employers are not required to include in a written respiratory protection program those employees whose only use of respirators involves the voluntary use of filtering face pieces (dust mask).


Appendix D to Sec. 1910.134 (Mandatory) Information for Employees Using Respirators When Not Required Under the Standard

Respirators are an effective method of protection against designated hazards when properly selected and worn. Respirator use is encouraged, even when exposures are below the exposure limit, to provide an additional level of comfort and protection for workers. However, if a respirator is used improperly or not kept clean, the respirator itself can become a hazard to the worker. Sometimes, workers may wear respirators to avoid exposures to hazards, even if the amount of hazardous substance does not exceed the limits set by OSHA standards. If your employer provides respirators for your voluntary use, or if you provide your own respirator, you need to take certain precautions to be sure that the respirator itself does not present a hazard.

You should do the following:

1. Read and heed all instructions provided by the manufacturer on use, maintenance, cleaning and care, and warnings regarding the respirators limitations.

2. Choose respirators certified for use to protect against the contaminant of concern. NIOSH, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, certifies respirators. A label or statement of certification should appear on the respirator or respirator packaging. It will tell you what the respirator is designed for and how much it will protect you.

3. Do not wear your respirator into atmospheres containing contaminants for which your respirator is not designed to protect against. For example, a respirator designed to filter dust particles will not protect you against gases, vapors, or very small solid particles of fumes or smoke.

4. Keep track of your respirator so that you do not mistakenly use someone else’s respirator.



Chuck Leroy, Foreman and Safety Leader

Insulator Chuck Leroy

Insulator Chuck Leroy

Gribbins Insulation is committed to safe, high quality work.  Much of that commitment revolves around the efforts of our union workforce, who work in all types of weather, at all types of jobsites.  Recently, we received the following email from Andy Kuhens, Environmental, Safety, and Health Engineer for Messer Construction at the University of Kentucky Academic Science Building project.  Mr. Kuhens has graciously allowed us to share his words about one of our foremen, Chuck Leroy:

I don’t typically write e-mails like this; however, I felt compelled to due to the outstanding job your foreman, Chuck Leroy, did at the UK Academic Science Building. As you know, Messer takes their safety very seriously and strives for a Zero Injury culture. Unfortunately, a lot of contractors don’t share the same views on safety as we do. I can’t say that about Chuck. Each day presented new challenges for Chuck and his crew, especially with fall protection, and without fail he always would call to discuss the situation to figure out a safe plan of action. That’s pretty rare for a foreman to go above and beyond like that. Chuck was always proactive when anticipating hazards and holding his guys accountable to work safe. Likewise he was always very respectful to Messer management and other contractors on the jobsite. It was a real pleasure working with him. Anyhow I just wanted to take a few minutes to brag on him – he did a great job!

An insulator for Gribbins Insulation since 2008, we are extremely proud of Mr. Leroy’s efforts.  Chuck worked at the UK Academic Science Building project for approximately 12 months.  He has now moved to running our work at the Student Recreation Center, which is another year-long project at the University of Kentucky.  Our Louisville Area Manager, Kyle Forrester, states, “At Gribbins, safety is number one.  We strive to maximize customer satisfaction by providing the highest levels of safety, quality, and productivity, and we have recognized Chuck’s commitment to these ideals for quite some time. I am thrilled to know that our clients also notice his efforts.”

Congrats to Chuck Leroy on a job done WELL and SAFE!

Asbestos Awareness

Gribbins Insulation - Toolbox Talk

The purpose of this program is to make our employees aware of the health effects caused by asbestos and how to identify potential sources of asbestos fiber.  Gribbins Insulation Company does not engage in asbestos removal and employees are prohibited from handling asbestos containing materials (ACM) or entering controller areas where ACM is being removed.

Asbestos is a mineral fiber mined from natural deposits.  The most common form of asbestos used in construction is Chrysotile, a whitish mineral fiber.  Other types used include Amosite (used in elbows and around boilers) and Crocidolite.  In construction, Asbestos was used prominently in fire protection, insulation, wrapping of boilers, hot water and steam pipes, textiles, plaster, ceiling tile, floor tile, siding, and roofing materials.  Asbestos was a popular building material because of its natural fire retardant properties.  Asbestos is found in the majority of buildings built or remodeled between 1930 and 1976 such as schools, hospitals, offices, and homes.  It is most dangerous when disturbed, sending microscopic fibers into the air to be inhaled by workers.

Materials are considered to be ACM (Asbestos Containing Materials) when they contain more than 1% of asbestos fiber by weight and shall be handled in accordance with applicable OSHA and EPA standards.  Gribbins Insulation Company does not engage in asbestos removal.  Employees who suspect that ACM is present shall notify their Supervisor immediately. The Safety Director or other person competent in the recognition of Asbestos shall inspect the suspect ACM material.  If the material is found to be ACM, work will cease in that area immediately and the property owner notified.

Diseases related to asbestos exposure include:

  • Asbestosis – scarring of lung tissue that may become so severe that the lungs are unable to get enough oxygen to the bloodstream and vital organs.  Symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath and a tightness or pain in the chest.  Causes of death include heart failure, respiratory infections or the later development of lung cancer.
  • Lung Cancer – malignant tumors may grow in the lungs.  Symptoms include cough or change in cough habit and chest pain.
  • Pleural Mesothelioma – malignant tumors may grow in the lining of the chest or abdominal cavity.  Symptoms include shortness of breath, pain in the chest wall, weight loss and cough.  Death usually occurs one year after diagnosis.
  • Gastrointestinal Cancer – tumors may grow in parts of the digestive tract, esophagus, stomach, colon or pancreas.

Risks of getting asbestos-related diseases depend upon the following:

  • Level of asbestos exposure (primary consideration)
  • Length of asbestos exposure
  • Smoking habits (smokers are more susceptible than non-smokers)

Symptoms could occur as much as 10-40 years after exposure.

Asbestos fibers get into the lungs by being inhaled through the mouth or nose.  The fibers are so small, that the body’s natural defenses against inhalation of dusts are ineffective.  Asbestos fibers reach all parts of the lungs and injure the lungs by scarring the tissue.  As scar tissue develops, the lungs are less able to transfer oxygen from the air to the bloodstream and to transfer carbon dioxide from the bloodstream to the air.  Some scarring may also result in the growth of cancerous tumors.  The smallest fibers of asbestos are smaller than human cells, and the fibers can migrate into other parts of the body.  Ingested asbestos fibers may damage the stomach and intestinal tract.

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