April Showers bring…

Click here for Spanish

April showers bring May flowers!

At least that is how the saying goes. But April showers have the potential to bring a lot more than just flowers in May. With Spring having officially arrived it is time to Prepare for Spring Weather!

Depending on what part of the country you live and work in your “Spring Weather” can be vastly different from others, but one thing that is very likely regardless of your location is that it will be UNPREDICTABLE!

Flooding

As the temperatures start the rise the snows begin the melt. For those that live down river or down valley from the melt can be devastated by flooding. If the spring thunderstorms hit areas where the snow has melted, flooding is just as likely since the ground is potentially still frozen or is already saturated.

Thunderstorms

Thunderstorms are also quite prevalent in the spring as the warm and cool temperatures collide in the atmosphere. Strong winds can cause trucks to flip over while traveling. Strong winds can also pick up materials that aren’t properly secured and create flying debris hazards.

Lightning is another hazard that comes with Thunderstorms. If you work outside you need to make sure you have a great weather app that can alert you to incoming lightening storms. I personally recommend WeatherBug, but I am sure there are others out there that have similar features. When lightning is detected within a 10 mile radius of where you are working you should stop all outside work and take cover until the lightning moves out of your area.

Tornadoes

Tornadoes are the ultimate of the spring weather hazards. And while tornadoes are most prevalent in “tornado alley” they are possible throughout the US so it is important to be prepared.

For some helpful tips check out the following links from the CDC

Daylight Saving Time – 2019

Click here for Spanish

It is that time of year again. When the days are getting longer and warmer and we start wanting to spend more time in the sun enjoying our days instead of at work. But to get to that, you have to go through the dreaded time change.

On Sunday morning at 2 AM you will turn your clocks ahead one hour. Or if you are like me, and all of your clocks are magically connected to something digitally, it will happen for you while you are sleeping. If it doesn’t happen for you magically in the middle of the night then do it before you go to bed on Saturday or you might be late for whatever you have planned for Sunday.

Adjust now so you don’t have to adjust all at once on Monday morning

Start trying to go to bed a little earlier each night and waking up a little earlier each morning. By adjusting these times by 15-20 minutes each night/morning you will transition your body gradually rather than abruptly on Monday morning when you actually need to function properly.

This includes Sunday! Don’t sleep in. Set your alarm and get out of bed at your “normal” time. Take a short 20 minute nap if you need to in order to make it through the day, but get out of bed.

Resist the extra cup of coffee, the night cap, and the heavy dinners

I know it may feel like you won’t make it without one or all of these, but for the next three days it really is better to avoid them if you can. They all worsen your quality of sleep, which will in turn create an even bigger deficit than the one you will already be facing on Monday. So, do yourself a favor and avoid the temptation.

Get some sun and some exercise!

Even if you have to bundle up, getting outside in the sunshine can help reboot your natural sleep patterns and help you acclimate. And the exercise will help you get tired enough to go to sleep each night.

Help the kids adjust too!

By simply turning off the electronics at least one hour prior to bed you will help your children rest better. This is good advise even when we aren’t talking about Daylight Savings Time, but for this weekend it is even more critical.

And make their morning routines as simple as possible. Having everything prepared and ready to go the night before will help make getting them out of the door the next morning easier.

Arctic Freeze – Stay Safe!

Click here for Spanish.

Given the Arctic Freeze that America is in the middle of this week, it seems a great time to share some important information regarding Cold Weather Safety and what to do if you find yourself stuck in a Stranded Vehicle

Luckily, for those of us located in Texas for most of the year we don’t have to deal with the extremes of cold weather, but it is still important to make sure we dress appropriately for the weather and that our vehicles are properly stocked for any emergency.

Proper Attire

In the winter, layers are your friend. Especially in Texas where it is not only possible, but likely, to see a temperature swing of 40 degrees from morning to late afternoon. Without layers there is no way to adjust to the temperatures properly.

There are several synthetic options these days, but if you are looking for great natural options then consider wool and cotton. Wool, worn next to your skin, will naturally wick away the sweat so that you remain warm and not chilled. Cotton has some of the same abilities, but it doesn’t work as effectively.

My recommendation is to layer the cotton on top of the wool, followed by a jacket. This will keep you warm in the morning, and allow you to shed your layers through the day as it heats up.

Stocking your car

During the winter make sure your car is stocked with some extra warm clothing, gloves and blankets. While it may not be because of a crazy winter storm, there is always a possibility of being stuck in a stranded vehicle. If that happens you want to make sure you have the ability to stay warm until help arrives.

And if your travels are taking you far afield, make sure it is also stocked with some non-perishable foods and liquids.

New Year – New Goals

Click here for Spanish

It is that time again… a time of reflection and planning.

Reflection…

2018 was challenging. Probably one of the most challenging years in my career. But it is in struggle that we grow and mature.

If I could wind back the clock and change some of the actions that created the challenges, would I? Absolutely. Because there are those whose lives were forever altered.

However, that is not a luxury that any of us have. So instead, we plan!

Planning

What can we do differently in 2019 in order to achieve our Goals? The starting point is to have Goals! And those Goals must be SMART!

In case there are some of you that aren’t aware of what SMART Goals are they are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

So, things like “I am going to have a great year!” don’t count. There is nothing specific or measurable about that statement. So dig deep, and figure out what it will take to have a great year.

EHS GOALS

Of course, every year our goal is to have fewer incidents than the year before. But what are we going to do, what actions are we going to take, to make that aspiration into an actual SMART Goal? In case you are wondering, it will not be achieved by the actions of one. It will require the actions of ALL!

Some goals that would help us achieve that end result, if everyone did it, are:

  • I will speak up when I see someone creating a hazardous situation. I will no longer turn a blind eye because they “aren’t my responsibility”.
  • I will take the time to talk to someone that is putting themselves or others at risk. I know they may not understand the hazards that are being created, so I will share my knowledge with them.
  • I will actively participate in training that is being offered to me. I may have a personal story that someone else can relate to that will keep them from being injured on the job site.
  • I will not knowingly allow myself or others to drive while distracted. So, that phone call, that text, that email, that Facebook post… it can wait until I am to my destination and safe.

These are actions that can be taken every day by every one of you. And if we ALL did it we would reduce the risks in our workplace to ourselves and to others.

All that is required is for you to remain alert and care enough out your partner to speak up.


Let someone know that you are on their team
when it comes to watching out for them and their safety.

Time to Enjoy…Not Stress


Click here for Spanish

For many of us, today or tomorrow marks that last day of work before our official “Holiday Break” begins. And with that I want to leave you with just a few reminders.

Relationships are the most important thing to remember during the holidays.  

This time of year can add an enormous amount of stress to everyone. There are more “obligations” that we suddenly find ourselves committed to… Holiday Parties, Family Dinners, Holiday Cards, Gift Buying, House Decorating… All of these traditions and rituals can be fun and can create great memories. But they can also add unnecessary stress to our lives so remember it is the relationships we have with others that is most important, not those traditions. If it stops being fun and meaningful, then do something different.

Here are some ways you can help manage holiday stress:

  • Change or Update Traditions – This should be a time of joy and happiness. If those “Traditions” are not providing that joy and happiness then it is time for something different. You are not obligated to send the 10-page Christmas Letter about your perfect year. You are not obligated to decorate 100 perfect sugar cookies. You are not obligated to hang a single decoration. If those are not things that bring you joy, then skip them. Find new ways to celebrate the relationships in your life.
  • Change your “Christmas Dinner” – Who ever said it had to be a fancy laborious ordeal? I mean, if you love cooking and having folks over, by all means do it. But if that is something you hate, order pizza or Chinese food or eat hot dogs… the thing is, it is your day, your meal. You are the one that should be enjoying it.
  • Minimize the Decorations – If rearranging your entire house to hang some ornaments isn’t your thing, then skip it. I assure you, the Decorating Police will not come knocking at your door.
  • Spend less on Gifts! – This one is a big one. Of course we all like getting fancy expensive gifts, and lots of them. But it isn’t necessary. Agree as a family on a price range and a number of gifts. No cheating! Do not go over either of the pre-determined amounts. Spending more money than you have on a gift that will be “cherished” for 10 seconds is stress-inducing for months. Don’t do it.

And if you really want to change things up, think ahead to next year. Think of all the money you would normally spend on gifts, decorations, dinner… and start saving it. Now, think about really changing traditions! Take the money you would have spent on a “thing” and spend it instead on a “memory”! Take a trip with your family instead. Plan it together.

Some other holiday Safety Tips can be found here:

Enjoy a Safe Holiday Season

Click here for Spanish

Holiday safety is an issue that burns brightest from late November to mid-January, when families gather, parties are scheduled and travel spikes. Take some basic precautions to ensure your family remains safe and injury-free throughout the season.

Check out these pointers from the National Safety Council (https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/tools-resources/seasonal-safety/winter/holiday) on how to keep yourself and your loved ones safe this Holiday Season:

Traveling for the Holidays? Be Prepared

Many people choose to travel during the holidays by automobile, with the highest fatality rate of any major form of transportation. In 2015, 355 people died on New Year’s Day, 386 on Thanksgiving Day and 273 on Christmas Day, according to Injury Facts 2017. Alcohol-impaired fatalities represent about one-third of the totals.

  • Use a designated driver to ensure guests make it home safely after a holiday party; alcohol, over-the-counter or illegal drugs all cause impairment
  • Make sure every person in the vehicle is properly buckled up no matter how long or short the distance traveled
  • Put that cell phone away; many distractions can occur while driving, but cell phones are the main culprit
  • Properly maintain the vehicle and keep an emergency kit with you
  • Be prepared for heavy traffic, and possibly heavy snow

Even Angel Hair can Hurt
Decorating is one of the best ways to get in a holiday mood, but emergency rooms see thousands of injuries involving holiday decorating every season.

  • “Angel hair,” made from spun glass, can irritate your eyes and skin; always wear gloves or substitute non-flammable cotton
  • Spraying artificial snow can irritate your lungs if inhaled; follow directions carefully
  • Decorate the tree with your kids in mind; move ornaments that are breakable or have metal hooks toward the top
  • Always use the proper step ladder; don’t stand on chairs or other furniture
  • Lights are among the best parts of holiday decorating; make sure there are no exposed or frayed wires, loose connections or broken sockets, and don’t overload your electrical circuits
  • Plants can spruce up your holiday decorating, but keep those that may be poisonous (including some Poinsettias) out of reach of children or pets; the national Poison Control Center can be reached at (800) 222-1222
  • Make sure paths are clear so no one trips on wrapping paper, decorations, toys, etc.; NSC provides tips for older adults on slip, trip and fall protection

It’s Better to Give Safely
We’ve all heard it’s important when choosing toys for infants or small children to avoid small parts that might prove to be a choking hazard. Here are some additional gift-related safety tips:

  • Select gifts for older adults that are not heavy or awkward to handle
  • Be aware of dangers associated with coin lithium batteries; of particular concern is the ingestion of button batteries

Check out the Consumer Product Safety Commission website to see which toys have been recalled

Watch Out for Those Fire-starters
Candles and Fireplaces
Thousands of deaths are caused by fires, burns and other fire-related injuries every year, and 12% of home candle fires occur in December, the National Fire Protection Association reports. In-creased use of candles and fireplaces, combined with an increase in the amount of combustible, seasonal decorations present in many homes means more risk for fire.

  • Never leave burning candles unattended or sleep in a room with a lit candle
  • Keep candles out of reach of children
  • Make sure candles are on stable surfaces
  • Don’t burn candles near trees, curtains or any other flammable items
  • Don’t burn trees, wreaths or wrapping paper in the fireplace
  • Check and clean the chimney and fireplace area at least 
  • once a year

Don’t Give the Gift of Food Poisoning
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides some holiday food safety tips.

  • Do not rinse raw meat and poultry before cooking
  • Use a food thermometer to make sure meat is cooked to a safe temperature
  • Refrigerate food within two hours
  • Leftovers are safe for four days in the refrigerator
  • Bring sauces, soups and gravies to a rolling boil when reheating
  • When storing turkey, cut the leftovers in small pieces so they will chill quickly
  • Wash your hands frequently when handling food

HAPPY HOLIDAYS !! 

Holiday Safety

Click here for Spanish

The Holiday Season is upon us. 

In so many ways this is a season of joy.  We get to spend some extra days with those we love doing the things we enjoy. Many of us pack up the cars with our families and luggage and head out across the state or, for some, across the nation to spend this time with family that we haven’t seen in several months.  Or, if we aren’t driving there, then we are hopping on a plane and heading there.  Of course, there are some of us that won’t be heading out anywhere because we will be hosting the joyous occasions at our homes so the family and friends are coming to us.

Whether you are heading out or staying in chances are the “Holiday” has already started.  You are spending time thinking about what to pack, what to buy, where people are going to be sleeping, how you will fill those happy hours…or get through the dreaded ones (come on, I can’t be the only one that has those moments…okay may it is just me). 

The point it, your mind is already somewhere else, focused on something else.  And that is where the Holidays create hazards in the work place.

We want you to enjoy your Holidays with your family.  We want you to spend the time laughing and eating and relaxing.  But in order for you to do that we need you to stay focused while you are here at work.

If you are a supervisor, make sure your crew members are focused on the task at hand.

  • Spend more time than usual discussing the THA. Review it throughout the day and if something changes in the planned task make sure you review those changes. 
  • Spend some extra time with your crew to make sure they are “fit for duty” for the day, or even the moment.  And remember “fit for duty” doesn’t just mean “not impaired”.  Holidays aren’t always joyous occasions for everyone, so some of your crew members may not be mentally or emotionally fit for duty.  Take the time to talk to your crew members and make sure they are focused on their work.  
  • Check in with your crews at the end of the day and talk about the after-hours activities, like safe driving tips and responsible drinking and the hazards of distracted driving.  Even things like how to safely fry a turkey.  All of these things are important.  

If you are a crew member, help keep your co-workers, your friends, focused on the task at hand so that we can all enjoy our holidays.  You know them better than your supervisor does because you work closely with them every day.  You know when their head isn’t on the task so reel them back in if needed.  Enjoy the conversations about the upcoming activities during your breaks, but while working, don’t let those plans be a distraction.

From the Safety Team and all of us at Jordan Foster Construction!

Additional Resources