U.S. Department of Labor Reminds Employers of Important Protections for Working Safely in Summer Heat

Throughout much of the U.S., high temperatures and humidity in the summer season can create hot and hazardous working conditions, both outdoors and indoors. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reminds employers of their duty to protect employees from the risks and dangers of heat exposure. OSHA reminds employers of the following ways to mitigate heat hazards:

  • Water. Rest. Shade. Employers should encourage workers to drink water every 15 minutes, and take frequent rest breaks in shaded or air-conditioned areas;
  • New and temporary workers are most at risk to the hazards of excessive heat. Monitor new employees and offer them extra protections from elevated heat conditions until they are fully acclimatized. Create a plan to protect new workers from heat illness;
  • Strenuous physical exertion increases body heat and workers’ risk of heat-related illness.  Evaluate the combination of body heat and environmental heat to determine if heat stress is a potential hazard. OSHA recommends assessment tools that are based on levels of physical activity and wet bulb globe temperature readings;
  • Recognize that serious heat-related illnesses can occur on normal summer days, when temperatures are not extreme. A good rule of thumb is that workers need additional protective measures whenever the Heat Index is 80 degrees Fahrenheit or above;
  • Indoor industries, such as kitchens, laundries, and warehouses, can also become dangerously hot.  OSHA offers a list of those industries at high risk;
  • Increase ventilation, use cooling fans, and whenever possible schedule work at a cooler time of the day. OSHA’s heat page includes a list of best practices;
  • Ensure adequate planning and supervision to keep workers safe in the heat; and
  • Train workers on the hazards of heat exposure and how to prevent illness.

OSHA’s Occupational Heat Exposure page explains the symptoms of heat illness, first aid measures to provide while waiting for help, proactive engineering controls and work practices to reduce workers’ exposure to heat, and training.

For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

MCA Publishes Three Updated Environmental Product Declarations

The Metal Construction Association (MCA) has released three updated Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). The subjects of the updated papers are Metal Composite Materials (MCM), Insulated Metal Panels (IMP), and Roll Formed Aluminum and Steel Cladding.

These three documents provide key data on the manufacturing and use of these products and discuss the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and environmental impacts associated from the use of metal cladding in construction.

EPD for Metal Composite Material Panels

This EPD discusses MCM product definition, the basic material and its origin, product manufacture and processing, in-use conditions, life cycle assessment results, and testing results and verifications. Information on a significant number of performance standards in the area of fire, system performance, and finishes are detailed.

EPD for Insulated Metal Panels

This paper provides LCA-based information about the environmental aspects of IMPs. It describes the history, manufacture, and use of IMP panels and systems and investigates product lifespan from raw material supply, manufacturing, application, maintenance, performance standards, energy use, water use, demolition, and waste recovery or recycling.

EPD for Roll Formed Aluminum and Steel Cladding for Roofs and Walls

This EPD details the manufacture process of role forming metal materials into a finished product. The forming process, which can be accomplished either in line or in the field, is also discussed, as well as the products’ environmental aspects and impact.

“These updated documents, developed under the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), provide an invaluable resource for architects to assess the environmental impacts associated with these products and systems and meet LEED requirements,” says MCA Executive Director Jeff Henry.

For more information, visit www.metalconstruction.org.

FRSA Convention & Expo Moves to Online Platform

After closely monitoring the worldwide situation with COVID-19, the FRSA Executive Committee and staff made the difficult decision to cancel FRSA’s 98th Annual Convention and the Florida Roofing & Sheet Metal Expo, originally scheduled to take place July 15-17, 2020 in Kissimmee, Florida.

“We did not make this decision lightly,” said Lisa Pate, CEM, FRSA Executive Director. “In our 98-year history, we’ve never had to cancel an expo, even after some major hurricanes, but at the end of the day, health and safety must be our priority.” 

With the cancellation confirmed, FRSA staff got right to work transitioning components of the event to an online platform. Extensive roofing-specific changes to the 2020 Florida Building Code and the FRSA-TRI Tile Installation Manual 6th Edition made seminars a clear priority. The Association partnered with AAA Construction School, Jacksonville, and will host 17 online seminars taught by industry professionals. Seminars are competitively priced and Florida and industry specific. A full 14-hour package is $69, an 8-hour package is $39, and a single hour is $14. To register for the seminars, visit www.floridaroof.com and click on the “Register” button on the right. 

Next to receive a digital overhaul was the Silent Auction hosted by FRSA’s Educational and Research Foundation. Each year, donations, such as vacation getaways, restaurant gift cards and roofing materials, raise money for student scholarships. After awarding an unprecedented $30,000 to deserving students this year, the auction was pivoted to an online format in hopes of setting new record-breaking numbers next year. The auction will run from July 10-17. To register and bid on items, text FRSA to 243725 or visit www.floridaroof.com and follow the Online Auction link. 

With contractors unable to walk the aisles of the Expo hall this year, the next challenge was finding new ways for Florida roofing contractors to connect with the exhibitors, sponsors and associate members that support the Association. The all-new Expo Guide was the perfect solution. The 92-page guide highlights many components of the show, including the 2020 S.T.A.R. Award winners, recipients of important industry awards, seminar descriptions, advertisements from generous event sponsors and a complete list of the exhibitors that donated or rolled over their 2020 booth fees.

The guide is currently in the mail heading to over 10,000 Florida roofing contractors and will be available in digital format on the FRSA website and social media platforms. As an added bonus for those flipping the pages, FRSA has included two unique opportunities to win cash. The FRSA 25 Square Challenge has moved online this year. Visit the websites of participating companies to answer trivia questions and send in your answers for a chance to win $1,000. FRSA members are also eligible for the $1,000 Grand Prize by finding the answers to ten trivia questions hidden throughout the Expo Guide. 

“It’s been a learning year for everyone as we stepped away from our normal routine,” said Pate. “We are excited about our online offerings this year and some of them may stick around for future events.” But don’t expect anything online to replace FRSA’s in-person Annual Convention any time soon. “Success in this industry relies on relationships, networking and face-to-face meetings. We will gather again and we are more excited than ever to celebrate our 99th year in 2021.” 

FRSA’s 99th Annual Convention and Expo will take place July 21-23, 2021 at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center. To learn more about online events happening this year, visit www.floridaroof.com

U.S. Department of Labor Issues Guidance to Ensure Uniform Enforcement of Silica Standards

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued a compliance directive designed to ensure uniformity in inspection and enforcement procedures when addressing respirable crystalline silica exposures in general industry, maritime, and construction.

The new directive provides OSHA compliance safety and health officers with guidance on how to enforce the silica standards’ requirements, including:

  • Methods of compliance
  • Table 1 tasks and specified exposure control methods
  • Exposure assessments
  • Housekeeping
  • Respiratory protection
  • Regulated areas
  • Recordkeeping
  • Employee information and training
  • Medical surveillance
  • Communication of hazards

The directive also provides clarity on major topics, such as alternative exposure control methods when a construction employer does not fully and properly implement Table 1, variability in sampling, multi-employer situations, and temporary workers.

OSHA began enforcing most provisions of the construction standard in September 2017, with enforcement of the requirements for sample analysis starting in June 2018. Enforcement of most of the general industry and maritime standards began in June 2018, with enforcement of some medical surveillance requirements commencing on June 23, 2020. On June 23, 2021, OSHA will begin enforcing requirements for engineering controls for hydraulic fracturing operations in the oil and gas industry.

For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

Roofing Alliance Opens Nomination Period for MVP and Gold Circle Awards

The Roofing Alliance, the foundation of the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), has opened the nomination period for two industry award programs—the 2020-21 Most Valuable Player (MVP) and the Gold Circle Awards. The two programs spotlight and promote excellence in the industry with the MVP Awards Program recognizing workers committed to excellence on and off the roof and the Gold Circle Awards program recognizing Roofing Alliance and NRCA members for outstanding workmanship, innovation and safety in roofing.

MVP Awards

The Roofing Alliance’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) Awards program recognizes workers who make outstanding contributions to their companies, co-workers and communities.

The award categories include:

  • Outstanding On-the-Job Performance/Workmanship – Dedicated, reliable employees are vital to a company’s success and, among those employees, usually one stands out above all others. That’s the employee who 1) Has a strong work ethic, 2) Shows leadership, initiative and resourcefulness, 3) Has earned an outstanding safety record, 4) Shows support for his or her co-workers and 5) Goes above and beyond. 
  • Outstanding Performance/Other Noteworthy Contributions Outside the Workplace – Outstanding workers not only have a passion for the work they do and a sense of loyalty toward their employers, but they also show compassion for others outside the workplace. They volun­teer their time with their communities, churches, families and friends. They are determined to overcome challenges and obstacles they may face personally or stand by others who need their support. They’re always willing to extend a helping hand. They display exemplary service, leadership, commitment and selfless devotion.

MVPs are role models who demonstrate work-related and personal goals to which others aspire. Roofing professionals are encouraged to nominate employees for an MVP award to recog­nize their outstanding contributions through on-the-job performance and workmanship and for their outstanding performance and other noteworthy contributions outside the workplace.  In addition, one MVP winner will be chosen to be Professional Roofing’s Best of the Best. The person selected as the Best of the Best typically stands out in both categories.  Deadline for nominations is November 20, 2020.  Applications and additional information can be found at http://roofingalliance.net/programs/mvp/.

Gold Circle Awards

The Roofing Alliance’s prestigious 2020-21 Gold Circle Awards program recognizes Roofing Alliance and NRCA members for outstanding professionalism, innovation, safety and workmanship in roofing. Unique roofing-related jobs (commercial or residential), programs and services completed between June 1, 2018, and May 31, 2020, are eligible. Roofing contractors are encouraged to submit their best work for a chance to earn this elite recognition.

Roofing Alliance and NRCA members are nominated for contributions to the roofing industry in two categories:

  • Outstanding Workmanship and Innovative Solutions -Outstanding workmanship and innovative solutions applies to projects that exceed standard roofing practic­es.  Submitted projects must be unique, creative and useful.
  • Safety Preparedness and Performance – Safety is integral to a successful roofing project. Completed jobs that exemplified safety preparedness, execution and review  are eligible for nomination.

All entries will be evaluated by a panel of judges within the roofing industry. The highest-ranking entries will determine the winner.  The deadline for Gold Circle Awards is October 23, 2020.  Applications and additional information can be found at http://roofingalliance.net/gold-circle-awards-program/.

For more information, visit www.roofingalliance.net.

Virtual Western Roofing Expo 2020 Launches July 1

The Western States Roofing Contractors Association (WSRCA) announced that the Virtual Western Roofing Expo will launch on July 1 through July 15. The event features a virtual trade show and offers more than 25 educational webinars. VWRE registrants will have access to the trade show and webinars until December 31, 2020, so they may attend every webinar and visit every trade show booth – a task that was impossible at the traditional WRE.

The Virtual Western Roofing Expo will include: 

  • Virtual trade show showcasing new products and services.
  • Live demonstrations.
  • More than 25 webinars selected by the roofing contractor panel.
  • Opportunities to earn IIBEC and AIA CEU’s.
  • Members only raffle.
  • Legislative updates from Washington insider Craig Brightup.
  • Scholarship award ceremony.
  • Virtual Silent Auction to benefit the Davis Memorial Foundation Scholarship Program.

WSRCA President Leo Ibarra stated, “In these unprecedented times, Western States has found ways to still bring you education on new and inventive products. That’s what this Association is all about; continuing to adapt the industry in this ever changing world. I am honored to be a part of such an incredible organization and can’t wait to see you at the virtual Expo.”

WSRCA Executive Director Thomas Papas added, “As you have come to expect from the Western States Roofing Contractors Association, we have turned this challenge into an opportunity for the industry.”

Attendees can Pre-Register for the VIRTUAL WESTERN ROOFING EXPO by CLICKING HERE!

NRCA Commends U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Concerning the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program

The National Roofing Contractors Association issued a statement commending the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

“NRCA appreciates the U.S. Supreme Court ruling finding that the Trump administration improperly rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in 2017,” said NRCA CEO Reid Ribble. “The June 18 ruling underscores NRCA’s long-held belief that, rather than the executive branch acting unilaterally on this matter, Congress should go back to work on a bipartisan basis to fix this and other aspects of the broken U.S. immigration system. This should include a permanent solution that addresses the needs of DACA recipients and individuals with Temporary Protected Status, visa reform to meet the workforce needs of the roofing industry, and other immigration policies.”

Ribble continued, “NRCA looks forward to continuing to work with lawmakers to achieve bipartisan immigration reform designed for the 21st century, which is long overdue.”

For more information about NRCA, visit www.nrca.net

MRCA Sets Dates for MRCA 2021 Conference & Expo

The MRCA Board of Directors has made the difficult decision to cancel the MRCA’s 71st Annual Conference & Expo scheduled for November 10-12, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, due to the current and future impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. MRCA announced that Milwaukee will host the 2021 MRCA Conference and Expo on November 8-10, 2021. 

“Throughout 2020 MRCA will continue to offer and expand the practical and timely programs and resources you have come to rely on over the years,” said MRCA President Fred Horner. “Even if we cannot physically be together, we can still offer strong support to one another through these challenges.”

MRCA noted the Milwaukee Hilton will automatically be cancelling all existing 2020 hotel room reservations that were made inside the MRCA Room Block. If you have already registered to Sponsor the Conference or Exhibit at the Expo, your sponsor/booth space contract will automatically be transferred to 2021. If your company prefers MRCA to issue a complete refund, please contact Amanda Lynn at alynn@mrca.org.

For more information, visit http://www.mrca.org

USGBC Releases New LEED Guidance to Address COVID-19 and Support Buildings with Reopening Strategies

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has released four new Safety First Pilot Credits in response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The credits outline sustainable best practices that align with public health and industry guidelines related to cleaning and disinfecting, workplace re-occupancy, HVAC and plumbing operations. The credits can be used by LEED projects that are certified or are undergoing certification. 

The Safety First credits are part of USGBC’s economic recovery strategy released last month, which focuses on sustainable solutions to rebuild a stronger and healthier economy by prioritizing healthy people in healthy places. The credits were created in direct response to COVID-19 and focus on the safety of those working in a building. These credits are available to all LEED 2009, LEED v4 and LEED v4.1 projects. 

“These new credits are a first step in helping the building and construction industry demonstrate its commitment to sustainable strategies as part of building a healthier, more resilient future,” saidMahesh Ramanujam, president & CEO of USGBC. “Supporting environmental and occupant health is a critical part of supporting community health and, as we look ahead, we know LEED and the USGBC community will play a role in delivering solutions that lay a better foundation for our economic and environmental well-being.”

The Safety First: Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Space credit requires facilities to create a policy and implement procedures that follow green cleaning best practices that support a healthy indoor environment and worker safety. Unlike the need to develop new vaccines and medical treatments for COVID-19, current disinfectants and cleaning processes are effective against the Coronavirus, and sustainable options exist. In addition to product considerations, the credit also requires procedures and training for cleaning personnel, occupant education and other services that are within a management team’s control. 

The Safety First: Re-Enter Your Workspace credit is a tool to assess and plan for re-entry, as well as measure progress once a space is occupied. It identifies sustainable requirements in building operations and human behavior that take precautions against the spread of COVID-19. It aligns with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Re-occupancy Assessment Tool and requires transparent reporting and evaluation of decisions to encourage continuous improvement.

The Safety First: Building Water System Recommissioning credit helps building teams reduce the risk that occupants are exposed to degraded water quality. Building and business closures over weeks or months reduce water usage that can potentially lead to stagnant water and water that is unsafe to drink or use. The credit integrates recommendations from industry organizations and experts, including the U.S. EPA and CDC. It requires buildings to develop and implement a water management plan, coordinate with local water and public health authorities, communicate water system activities and associated risks to building occupants and take steps to address water quality from the community supply, as well as the building. 

The Safety First: Managing Indoor Air Quality During COVID-19 credit builds on existing indoor air quality requirements and credits in LEED. Building teams should ensure indoor air quality systems are operating as designed and determine temporary adjustments to ventilation that may minimize the spread of COVID-19 through the air. Additional considerations include increasing ventilation and air filtration, physical distancing of occupants and following measures outlined in public health and industry resources, as well as guidance found in the Re-Enter Your Workspace credit. The guidance also encourages monitoring and evaluating indoor air quality on an ongoing basis.

These credits are based on current, known information. USGBC will refine its recommendations and is looking for feedback on the new credits.  

In addition to these new LEED pilot credits, projects can also take advantage of Arc Re-entry, a set of resources launching tomorrow to help facility teams assess and communicate recovery efforts, as well as the WELL Health-Safety Rating. GBCI will be providing third party certification support for the WELL Health-Safety Rating. 

For more than a quarter century, USGBC has defined global best practices for designing, constructing and operating sustainable buildings and spaces through LEED. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the world’s most widely used green building rating system and promotes the use of strategies that reduce environmental impact, enhance human health and support economic development. Currently, there are over 102,000 projects across nearly 180 countries and territories participating.

With much of the country entering into an initial reopening phase, businesses and government must rebuild people’s trust and demonstrate how the estimated 5.6 million commercial buildings in the U.S. are focused on health and committed to positively impacting communities moving forward. Third party verification systems like LEED provide guidance on best practices and encourage transparency. USGBC is focused on sharing its recommendations with all projects, regardless of whether they are pursuing LEED certification, in an effort to continue to support economic recovery while also laying the foundation for society to be more sustainable, healthy and equitable.

For more information, visit usgbc.org.

OSHA Issues Frequently Asked Questions About Face Coverings, Masks and Respirators in the Workplace

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published a series of frequently asked questions and answers regarding the use of masks in the workplace.

“As our economy reopens for business, millions of Americans will be wearing masks in their workplace for the first time,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt. “OSHA is ready to help workers and employers understand how to properly use masks so they can stay safe and healthy in the workplace.”

The new guidance outlines the differences between cloth face coverings, surgical masks and respirators. It further reminds employers not to use surgical masks or cloth face coverings when respirators are needed. In addition, the guidance notes the need for social distancing measures, even when workers are wearing cloth face coverings, and recommends following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance on washing face coverings.

These frequently asked questions and answers mark the latest guidance from OSHA addressing protective measures for workplaces during the coronavirus pandemic. Previously, OSHA published numerous guidance documents for workers and employers, available at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/, including five guidance documents aimed at expanding the availability of respirators.

For further information and resources about the coronavirus disease, please visit OSHA’s coronavirus webpage.

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 help 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 www.osha.gov.