Category: Features

Case Study: St. Augustine Apartments

In the Morrisania neighborhood of the South Bronx in New York City, the site of the old St. Augustine’s Church and school building is being given a second chance. A new 13-story structure is nearing construction completion, with a chocolate brown facade and beaming floor-to-ceiling windows. St. Augustine’s Church was a Roman Catholic parish founded in 1849. The Baroque and Renaissance Revival church itself was built in 1894, but after 117 years of serving the community, the church struggled with low attendance, high maintenance fees and impossible structural repairs. St. Augustine’s decided to merge with nearby Our Lady of...

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A Safer 2018: The Basics of Scaffolding Safety

SCAFFOLD INSPECTION Jobsite conditions are in a state of constant change. Weather conditions, activities by workers from other trades, and the wear from daily use can affect the integrity of equipment. Scaffolds are no exception. OSHA requires the inspection of scaffolds before each shift and after an event that could affect the scaffold’s structural integrity. Inspections must be performed by a competent person, but anyone who uses a scaffold should check for potential problems before use. When inspecting a scaffold you should check for physical defects in the scaffold and environmental conditions, which affect safety as well as OSHA...

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Case Study: Burnside Bridge Restoration

Master builder John Weaver and a handful of farmers built Rohrbach’s Bridge over Antietam Creek in 1836. They built the creamy white stone bridge with three magnificent barrel arches and elegant proportions: 14 ft. 9 in wide and 125 ft. long. They made wood-capped parapets atop the structure of limestone sourced locally from there around Sharpsburg, Maryland. Their work provided an architectural focal point worthy of lingering upon. Then, as now, mossy bridge walls accentuated surrounding verdant fields and the green creek flowing below. In such an idyllic setting, how could Weaver and the farmer/builders have known that, just decades...

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Risk Management Strategies

A Good Employment Policy Involves More Than Just Hiring Business owners frequently ask, “What can I do to avoid a wrongful termination charge by an employee?” The easy answer: “Don’t hire the wrong person for the job.” The reality is, one day every business owner will face the unpleasant task of having to terminate an employee for one reason or another. How can a business retain good employees and avoid terminations? Diligence when hiring is the first step Always check a candidate’s background, references, and driving record if driving will be a part of the job. Have two management level people involved in all hiring decisions. A second set of eyes reviewing an applicant helps ensure that the hiring decision is based on the candidate’s qualifications and work experience, rather than one person’s opinion of an applicant’s personality. What happens after the handshake? So, the ideal candidate walked in your door, everything checked out, and you hired yourself a new employee. Of course, you will train and orient your new hire. And, once you feel confident that he or she has the abilities and knowledge to perform the job, it’s back to business as usual again, right? Not so fast. Did you know new employees face more job-related risks? According to the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost twenty-eight percent of workers injured on...

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How much training do I need?

Training on aerial work platforms, scaffolds, swing-stages and mast climbers is vital in the effort to reduce serious injury or death on construction sites. Working at height requires a safe working attitude, a respect for the challenges of working at height, and comprehensive training. Talk to trainers about their training experiences and they will relate to you some of the questions they regularly get asked by exasperated employers who are less than happy about having to lose productivity time because of training, and the questions they ask point to the challenge ahead: How much training do I need? I...

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