www.agc.org • December 2013  

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On the Inside
Naylor, LLC
Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP)
Top News
The Annual Construction Safety Excellence Awards (CSEA) program, sponsored by Willis, has been an ongoing and evolving effort by AGC of America to recognize companies who have developed and implemented excellent safety and loss prevention programs achieved through management committee, employee training and participation, and program innovation.

Schedules and Deadlines: 
  • December 16, 2013 - Chapters/applicants submit their application to AGC of America.
  • January 13 & 14, 2014 - Initial review judging to determine finalists. 
  • January 2014 - AGC will notify the finalists in each division and category.
  • March 1 – 4, 2014 - Finalists present to an independent panel of judges.
  • March 5, 2014 - Willis-sponsored awards breakfast and ceremony during the AGC 95th Annual Convention in Las Vegas, Nev.
How to Enter:
All AGC members are encouraged to submit a completed application, using the three-part application form. There are two options for submitting applications: 1) submit completed applications directly to AGC of America, or 2) submit applications through your chapter. Applicants must first contact their "home" chapter to receive information on their established process or procedure. If the established process requires applicants to submit through the chapter, you must do so. A $250.00 entry fee to AGC of America is required upon submission.

For more information about the AGC/Willis Construction Safety Excellence Awards (CSEA) and to access the application and instructions/contact list, please visit www.agc.org/csea.

Regulatory & Legislative Updates
On Nov. 7, 2013, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a proposed rule to amend its current recordkeeping regulations to require the electronic submission of injury and illness information.  The proposed rule would require construction firms with more than 250 employees to electronically submit detailed records on a quarterly basis to OSHA, which would then be made available to the public online. OSHA is also proposing that firms with 20 - 249 employees be required to submit only their summary of work-related injuries and illnesses once a year. AGC knows that OSHA already has access to this data during an inspection. However, we are concerned about potential problems with the public dissemination of this information. Our concerns include identifying who is responsible for any website inaccuracies; the possible failure to sanitize personal data of employees from the records; how data will be characterized by competitors; and the possible misinterpretation of data by people lacking the construction expertise to evaluate the specifics of a reported incident. For more information, please contact AGC’s Director of Safety and Health Kevin Cannon at cannonk@agc.org.

Safety & Health Meeting 
January 15-17, 2014 
Houston, Tex.

AGC's 95th Annual Convention 
March 3-6, 2014 
Las Vegas, Nev.

Best Practices
By Dr. Cathy J. Rotunda
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Nail guns are popular construction tools that boost productivity. But this comes at a cost, because these power tools play a role in 37,000 injuries a year. General contractors now have a resource to help prevent nail gun injuries and to promote nail gun safety on their jobsites.

Nail Gun Safety: A Guide for Construction Contractors, now available in Spanish (Seguridad con las pistolas de clavos), was jointly prepared by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Nail Gun Safety was developed at the request of OSHA’s Advisory Committee for Construction Safety and Health, which is made up of employers and labor, state, and public representatives. 

Most reported nail gun accidents injure the tendons, joints, nerves, and bones of the hands and fingers. But the leg, knee, thigh, foot, and toes receive a fair share of injuries. The more serious injuries—those involving the spinal cord, head, neck, eye, internal organs, and bones—have caused paralysis, blindness, brain damage, bone fractures, and death.

How do nail gun injuries happen? Research shows seven ways a nail gun can cause injury:

1. Unintended nail discharge from double fire; 
2. Unintended nail discharge from knocking the safety contact with the trigger squeezed; 
3. Nail penetration through the lumber work piece;
4. Nail ricochet after striking a hard surface or metal feature; 
5. Missing the work piece;
6. Awkward-position nailing; and 
7. Bypassing safety mechanisms. 

Nail gun safety starts with understanding nail gun trigger mechanisms. Sequential triggers are the safest type. They fire a nail only when the safety contact tip is first pushed into the work piece, followed by squeezing the trigger. Both the safety contact tip and trigger must be fully released before another nail can be fired.

Contact triggers will fire a nail when either the safety contact tip or trigger is activated first. If the trigger is kept squeezed, then a nail will be fired each time the safety contact tip is pushed into the work piece. This is often called bump firing. 

Nail Gun Safety lists six practical steps that construction contractors can use to prevent nail gun injuries:

(1) Use full sequential trigger nail guns. A full sequential trigger is always the safest trigger for the job, because it reduces the risk of unintentional nail discharge and double fires. 

(2) Provide training. Safety training involves much more than handing employees the manufacturer’s tool manual. To effectively reduce the risk for nail gun injuries, contractors and their employees should understand these aspects of nail gun safety: 
  • How the nail gun (and trigger) works;
  • How injuries occur;
  • What to do when the nail gun malfunctions;
  • What nail gun work procedures the company requires;
  • What personal protective equipment (PPE) is required;
  • How to report an injury; and
  • How to give first aid. 

Hands-on training should include instructions on how to load the nail gun, run the air compressor, fire the nail gun, hold lumber during placement, spot ricochet-prone situations, perform awkward position work (toe-nailing and working on ladders), manage nail gun recoil, and avoid double fires.

(3) Establish nail gun work procedures. Accidents can injure nail gun users, coworkers, and others nearby. Safe work procedures include those common to all construction tasks and those that address the particular risks of nail gun work. 

(4) Provide PPE. Safety shoes, required by OSHA on residential construction sites, will help protect workers from nail gun injuries. For workers using nail guns, contractors should provide hard hats, high-impact eye protection, and hearing protection. 

(5) Encourage reporting and discussion of injuries and close calls. Studies show that many nail gun injuries go unreported. Company policy should include open discussions of all nail gun injuries and close calls. These "teachable moments" help both the experienced worker and the novice, ensure workers get medical attention, identify unrecognized job site risks, and prevent injuries. 

(6) Provide first aid and medical treatment. Even seemingly minor nail gun injuries can have less obvious complications, such as embedded glue/plastic/clothing that can lead to infection, secondary injury from improper removal of a nail, or undetected bone fracture. Every injury, even those that seem minor, should receive immediate medical attention. 

Nail guns are powerful, loud, and heavy, causing additional risks to workers. Contractors can provide a safe worksite by following industry standards, recommendations, and strategies designed to prevent these types of injuries.

  • Air Pressure. OSHA’s construction standard (29 CFR 1926.302(b)) on pneumatic power tools calls for using safety devices that keep the user from accidently disconnecting the tool from the hose and require contact between the tool’s muzzle and the work surface before the tool ejects the fastener. 
  • Noise. Pneumatic nail guns produce short, loud noise peaks from driving the nail and from exhausting the air. Peak noise levels of nail guns range from 109 to 136 dBA. This is close to 140 dBA, the level known to instantly damage the ear. NIOSH recommends that workers use earplugs or muffs to protect against a one-second burst of 130 dBA. Workers can also be injured by much lower levels of continuous noise. For instance, 15 minutes of 115 dBA has the same effect as eight hours of 90 dBA. NIOSH recommends workers wear hearing protection if they are exposed to an average of 85 dBA over an eight-hour shift.
  • Musculoskeletal disorders. Holding an eight-pound nail gun for a long time in awkward hand/arm positions can cause soreness or tenderness in the fingers, wrist, or forearm tendons or muscles. Such overuse can lead to pain and the inability to work. Workers who have these types of musculoskeletal disorders should immediately seek medical attention. More information on work-related musculoskeletal disorders can be found on the NIOSH website. 

  • Nail guns help workers complete jobs faster, but the high number of nail gun injuries show that when used improperly these power tools can make workplaces less safe: 
  • Nail gun injuries cause 37,000 emergency room visits each year. 
  • More than half of these injuries are to the hands and fingers, where tendons, joints, nerves, and bones can be damaged. 
  • Injuries have caused paralysis, blindness, brain damage, bone fractures, and death. 
  • One in 10 nail gun injuries happen when coworkers are hit by projectile nails or they bump into a coworker using a nail gun. 
  • Contact trigger nail guns pose twice the risk for injury over sequential trigger nail guns. 

For copies of Nail Gun Safety: A Guide for Construction Contractors, contact NIOSH at 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636), or TTY at 1-888-232-6348. Ask for DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2011-202. An electronic version (PDF) can be downloaded from the NIOSH Web site at www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2011-202/. For the Spanish version, ask for DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2011-202 (SP2012) or download a copy from http://www.cdc.gov/spanish/niosh/docs/2011-202_sp/.

See also these NIOSH products:
Straight Talk About Nail Gun Safety, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2013-149, written for nail gun users, is intended to supplement an established safety training program. 
Noise and Hearing Loss Prevention www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/noise/ 
Personal Protective Equipment www.cdc.gov/niosh/ppe/ 
Ergonomics and musculoskeletal Disorders www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/ergonomics/
Construction www.cdc.gov/niosh/construction/ 

Member News
To meet the goal of reducing occupational fatalities, injuries and illnesses, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, W.S. Bellows Construction Corp. and Phillips 66 have agreed to enter into a cooperative partnership agreement during the construction of the Phillips 66 headquarters in Houston.

W.S. Bellows, a member of AGC Houston, will begin construction operations in early December. It will employ about 1,000 workers and 100 contractors at the site when fully operational. The construction project is the largest W.S. Bellows has to date which will include two multistory buildings and a garage in excess of a million square feet each. OSHA's Houston South Area Office will support training efforts by participating in the quarterly management audit team and monthly safety meeting and will provide technical assistance, as needed.

Through the Strategic Partnership Program, OSHA partners with employers, workers, professional and trade associations, labor organizations and other interested stakeholders to establish specific goals, strategies and performance measures to improve worker safety and health. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/partnerships/index.html.

Employers and employees with questions about this or other OSHA partnerships can call OSHA's Houston South Area Office at 281-286-0583.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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