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Fire Protection and Prevention Training

 

Employers are required to implement fire protection and prevention programs in their workplaces.  The following is information on the fire triangle, different types of fires and extinguishers, extinguisher use and fire prevention.

A fire is a chemical reaction that requires three elements to be present for the reaction to take place and continue.  These three elements are heat (ignition source), fuel and oxygen.  These elements are usually referred to as the fire triangle.  If one of these elements is not present or removed, a fire will not start or a fire that is burning will be extinguished.  Ignition sources can include torches, welding or grinding or any other operation or equipment that emits a spark or flame.  Fuel sources can include combustible materials, flammable liquids and flammable gasses.

Fires are broken down into 5 categories A, B, C, D or K.  Class A fires involve ordinary combustibles, such as paper, trash, wood or some plastics, these fires usually leave ash.  Class B fires involve flammable gases or liquids.  Class C fires involve energized electrical components.  Class D fires involve metal (aluminum, magnesium, beryllium and sodium).  Class K fires involve vegetable or animal cooking oils or fats.

Fire Extinguishers

There are many different types of fire extinguishers designed to extinguish different classes of fires.  Most extinguishers on a construction site are A,B,C.  Before using an extinguisher, know what type of fire you are extinguishing and that the extinguisher is for that class, if not it can make the fire worse. All employees shall be trained to use a fire extinguisher and training shall be conducted annually thereafter.

If you must use a fire extinguisher, remember the “PASS” methods of early stage fire fighting.  PASS stands for Pull the pin on the extinguisher, Aim at the base of the fire, Squeeze the handle and Sweep side to side at the base of the fire.  If you are trained and the fire is in the incipient stage you can use the fire extinguisher to try and extinguish the fire, but remember to keep yourself between the fire and an escape route in case it doesn’t extinguish or grows.  If a fire cannot be extinguished using one full extinguisher, you should evacuate the area and let the fire department handle.

A 2A fire extinguisher shall be provided for each 3,000 sf.  Travel distance from any point to the nearest extinguisher shall not exceed 100’.  There should be at least one 2A fire extinguisher per floor.  In multistory buildings they shall be located adjacent to stairways.  A 10B extinguisher shall be provided within 50’ of an area with 5 gallons of flammable or combustible liquids are stored or used. Extinguishers shall be inspected on a monthly basis and maintained fully charged.

Fire Prevention

Only approved, closed containers shall be used for the storage of flammable and combustible liquids.  When transferring flammable or combustible liquids from one container to another, the two containers must be bonded together to prevent static electricity.  Safety cabinets allow for larger storage of flammable and combustible liquids indoors.  60 gallons or less of flammable liquids or 120 gallons or less of combustible liquids may be stored in a safety cabinet and up to three cabinets may be stored in one room.  The cabinet must be labeled “Flammable-Keep Fire Away”.  If a cabinet is not used only 25 gallons of either flammable or combustible liquids are allowed to be stored inside a building.  Outside storage requires containers not to exceed 1,100 gallons in any one pile or area, piles shall be separated by a 5’ clearance, piles and tanks must be at least 20 feet away from a building, tanks that exceed 2,200 gallons shall be separated by a 5’ clearance and individual tanks greater than 1,100 gallons shall be separated by a 5’ clearance.

2018 Q1 Safety Stars!

The Gribbins Safety STAR Program is a positive recognition program for all of our employees.  Any employee can nominate any other employee!  Each quarter, the safety department, area managers, and field coordinators will review all nominations and select up to 5 winners.  The winner and the nominator will each receive 20 bonus safety points.

Thanks to everyone who nominated a fellow employee!  During the voting process, all names and identifying characteristics are removed to ensure a fair vote.  The more detailed nominations seem to result in the winnings.  Give specific reasons and actions to describe why someone deserves to be recognized, so that you and the person you’ve nominated can win!

Click here for the nomination form.

Congratulations to the winners from the first three months of 2018!

Ken Heatherly – While removing insulation around a steam line valve, Kenny noticed white, suspected asbestos material butted up to the fiberglass he was removing. He left the area immediately and reported the finding. The material was sampled and work suspended in that area until results are received.  

Stevie and Reggie Henderson – Two employees repairing metal on the Precip roof 100′ from ground level. This task requires removing several sheets of metal to access the sub girt system which broke loose from windy weather. After taking the lift to the 100′ level to survey damage and remove a few sheets, both decided the situation with the wind was not safe and came down. 

Justin Kraus – Justin paid great attention to detail while instructing a new insulator foreman the proper procedures to take at Toyota while working on a night shift job. Justin explained the JSA process in great detail. He offered multiple suggestions to the new foreman as to how to remain safe while securing pins to ductwork using tuff bond adhesive (we are not able to bend the pins over using this method, resulting in a puncture hazard to anyone walking through the area). Justin also explained the Toyota safety procedure for utilizing an extension ladder to access the work area. I was very impressed with his attention to detail in regards to safety while also informing the new foreman of our scope of work.

Nate Schiff – Nate saw a giant icicle above a door, and he taped off the door so that people would not exit the door and get icicled to death.

Troy Sevier – Troy had to use a ladder for a quick touch up and got permission to borrow an electrician’s ladder that wasn’t being used and was nearby. As he moved it, he realized it was “rickety” and decided to go downstairs and get his Gribbins ladder which was in good shape instead of using the questionable ladder at hand.

 

 

Q4 2017 Safety Star Winners

The Gribbins Safety STAR Program is a positive recognition program for all of our employees.  Any employee can nominate any other employee!  Each quarter, the safety department, area managers, and field coordinators will review all nominations and select up to 5 winners.  The winner and the nominator will each receive 20 bonus safety points.

Click here for the nomination form.

Congratulations to the winners from the last quarter of 2017!

Austin Davis / Ryan Hobgood – Austin and Ryan were working on top of a reactor removing insulation and lagging. When the employees removed the lagging, the paper backing on the metal fell to the lower level and started smoldering. Both employees did not panic and climbed down to extinguish the fire. This incident was reported immediately to the foreman, and they then contacted our safety department and the Owner.

Denton Eldredge – Upon realizing his work area was 80 feet up, Denton developed a plan with scaffold board.  Before implementing the plan, he called his supervisor and the Safety Department for approval.  The plan was approved, and Denton completed his work safely.

Tony Barnes  Tony contacted our safety department to examine his work in an equipment room prior to beginning.  The location of the piping and duct requiring insulation was difficult to access, and Tony wanted input and advise on how to complete the task safely.

Phil Alexander – Phil maintained 100% fall protection while working on a scaffold with incomplete guardrails.  This is a standard requirement; however, in this case, maintaining 100% fall protection was especially difficult due to multiple obstructions.  Using two retractable lanyards, employee bent awkwardly, squeezed between and crawled over obstacles, while switching lanyards and connecting/re-connecting to maintain 100% fall protection.

Incident Reporting and Record Keeping

It is Gribbins policy that you report all incidents, accidents and near misses immediately.

All near misses, first aids, property damage incidents and injuries should be reported immediately to your foreman.  Once the foreman is aware of the incident they should contact one of the following within 30 minutes:

  • Trevor Atherton at 812-483-8049
  • Rick Jordan at 812-305-1801
  • Kent Kafka at 317-480-6252
  • Connor McCoy at 618-554-7348

Once the safety department is notified, the Area Manager should also be notified.

It is to the employee’s benefit to report these incidents immediately.   The employee can receive the medical care that is required to prevent increased severity of the injury and decrease pain and suffering.  One example of this is an eye injury:  if an employee feels like they have gotten something in their eye it needs to be reported immediately so they can get the appropriate first aid care to remove the debris.  This is an incident that if not taken care of immediately can cause more damage to the eye by the employee rubbing their eye or the debris becoming imbedded in the eye.  Another example would be lacerations that could become infected.  It is imperative that the laceration be cleaned out and antibiotics applied to prevent infection.  Another reason to report is that worker’s compensation requires the employee report the incident within the work shift that the injury occurs.  Also, when incidents and near misses are reported procedures or policies can be put in place to keep employees from being injured in the future from the same types of incidents.  If incidents are not reported immediately disciplinary action will be taken.

OSHA requires each contractor to use the OSHA 300 log to record each injury or illness during the year that meet the OSHA’s determination of a recordable, restricted duty or lost time accident.  At the end of the year the employer is required to fill out the OSHA 300A log and post it on each jobsite from February 1st thru April 30th of each year.  If OSHA conducts an inspection on your site during this time frame and the log is not onsite it results in an OSHA violation and a fine.  As long as you have this log in the back of your safety manual, you will be covered.  The log is also available here.  The password is required to access the page.  Contact the safety department for the password.

Report all incidents to your foreman or the safety department immediately!

Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is a colorless, strong smelling gas often found in water based solutions.  Commonly used as a preservative in medical laboratories and mortuaries, formaldehyde is also found in many products such as chemicals, particle board, household products, glues, permanent press fabrics, paper product coatings, fiberboard and plywood.  It is also widely used as an industrial fungicide, germicide and disinfectant.  Mineral wool insulation contains 1% to 4% formaldehyde used as a binder.

Although the term formaldehyde describes various mixtures of formaldehyde, water and alcohol, the term “formalin” is used to describe a saturated solution of formaldehyde dissolved in water, typically with another agent, most commonly methanol, added to stabilize the solution.  Formalin is typically 37% formaldehyde by weight and 6 to 13% methanol by volume of water.  The formaldehyde component provides the disinfectant effects of formalin.

The OSHA Formaldehyde standard (29 CFR 1910.1048) and equivalent regulations in states with OSHA approved state plans protects workers exposed to formaldehyde and apply to all occupational exposures to formaldehyde from formaldehyde gas, its solutions and materials that release formaldehyde.  The permissible exposure limit (PEL) for formaldehyde in the workplace is 0.75 parts formaldehyde per million parts of air (0.75 ppm) measured over an 8 hour time weighted average (TWA).  The standard includes a second PEL in the form of a short term exposure limit (STEL) of 2 ppm which is the maximum exposure allowed during a 15 minute period.  The action level, which is the standard’s trigger for increased industrial hygiene monitoring and initiation of worker medical surveillance is 0.5 ppm when calculated as an 8 hour TWA.  Gribbins Insulation Company has conducted industrial hygiene sampling on employees working with formaldehyde with results ranging from less than 0.01 ppm to 0.05 ppm.

Formaldehyde is a sensitizing agent that can cause an immune system response upon initial exposure.  It is also a cancer hazard.  Acute exposure is highly irritating to the eyes, nose and throat and can make anyone exposed cough and wheeze.  Subsequent exposure may cause severe allergic reactions to the skin, eyes and respiratory tract.  Ingestion of formaldehyde can be fatal and long term exposure to low levels in the air or on the skin can cause asthma like respiratory problems and skin irritation such as dermatitis and itching.  Concentrations of 100 ppm are immediately dangerous to life and health. Workers can inhale formaldehyde as a gas or vapor or absorb it through the skin as a liquid.  They can be exposed during the treatment of textiles and the production of resins.  Airborne concentrations of formaldehyde above 0.1 ppm can cause irritation to the respiratory tract.  The severity of irritation intensifies as concentrations increase.

Provision of the OSHA standard requires employers to do the following:

  • Indentify all workers who may be exposed to formaldehyde at or above the action level or STEL through initial monitoring and determine their exposure.
  • Reassign workers who suffer significant adverse effects from exposure to jobs with significantly less or no exposure until their condition improves.  Reassignment may continue for up to 6 months until the worker is determined to be able to return to the original job or to be unable to return to work, whichever comes first.
  • Implement feasible engineering and work practice controls to reduce and maintain worker exposure to formaldehyde at or below the 8 hour TWA and the STEL.  If these controls cannot reduce exposure to or below the PELs, employers must provide workers with respirators.
  • Label all mixtures or solutions composed of greater than 0.1% formaldehyde and materials capable of releasing formaldehyde into the air at concentrations reaching or exceeding 0.1 ppm.  For all materials capable of releasing formaldehyde at levels above 0.5 ppm during normal use, the label must contain the words “potential cancer hazard.”
  • Train all workers exposed to formaldehyde concentrations of 0.1 ppm or greater at the time of initial job assignment and whenever a new exposure to formaldehyde is introduced into the work area.  Repeat training annually.
  • Select, provide and maintain appropriate personal protective equipment.  Ensure that workers use PPE such as impervious clothing, gloves, aprons and chemical splash goggles to prevent skin and eye contact.
  • Provide showers and eyewash stations if splashing is likely.
  • Provide medical surveillance for all workers exposed to formaldehyde at concentrations at or above the action level or exceeding the STEL, for those who develop signs and symptoms of overexposure, and for all workers exposed to formaldehyde in emergencies.

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