Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Expect To See More Women Managers On Construction Jobs

According to this CT Post article, the future is bright for women in the construction industry. Although a traditionally male-dominated industry, construction businesses are not only seeing an increase of women working on job sites but women in management roles, as well.

Sophomore Zamarie Rivera adjusts the table saw Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, during carpentry class at Bullard-Havens technical school in Bridgeport, Conn. Photo: Autumn Driscoll / Connecticut Post
CT Post
As women are being urged to "lean in" to corporate jobs, there's another challenge for management-minded ladies: breaking the proverbial glass ceiling -- with a hammer.

Working out in the field as a construction manager, Dianna Barrella likes to be the first one on the job site every morning. She likes the ever-changing nature of the work, the variety of people she meets on each project, the opportunity to work with different teams of consultants, architects or engineers. Over the past 16 years she's spent at Turner Construction in Shelton -- almost her entire career -- Barrella has relished her roles, which have included overseeing jobs like in-house building projects at UBS in Stamford. But it took time to get there.

"When I started at Turner, I think I may have been a little intimidated, being the only girl out in the field," Barrella said. "But in the industry, that has changed. There's many more women now. The challenges are pretty much the same for men and women."

Construction has traditionally been a male-dominated business, with the small percentage of women who do join -- just 8.9 percent of the industry nationwide, according to the U.S. Dept. of Labor -- often relegated to doing clerical or support jobs. In Connecticut, based on the state's demographics, it's likely the numbers are even lower, said Jacob Kovel, associate professor and chair of the department of construction management at Central Connecticut State University.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

How To Protect Crewmembers from Hearing Loss

Workers exposed to noise levels of 85 decibels or higher for longer than a period of 8 hours could be at risk of hearing loss. This Total Landscape Care article provides information on hearing loss and ways to prevent it at your worksite. 

Total Landscape Care
Different levels of noise are all around crewmembers every day on jobsites.

However, whenever workers are exposed to some of those sounds for hours on end every day, hearing loss can become a serious problem.

In fact, 4 million workers go to work each day with damaging noise, and 10 million people in the U.S. have a noise-related hearing loss.

“In 2008, approximately 2 million U.S. workers were exposed to noise levels at work that put them at risk of hearing loss,” NIOSH says. “In 2007, approximately 23,000 cases were reported of occupational hearing loss that was great enough to cause hearing impairment. Reported cases of hearing loss accounted for 14 percent of occupational illness in 2007.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Power Of Salt For Renewable Energy

According to this Plant Engineering article, potential for a new form of renewable energy lies where salt water and fresh water meet. A team of mechanical engineers at MIT are currently studying this process.

Plant Engineering
Where the river meets the sea, there is the potential to harness a significant amount of renewable energy, according to a team of mechanical engineers at MIT.

The researchers evaluated an emerging method of power generation called pressure retarded osmosis (PRO), in which two streams of different salinity are mixed to produce energy. In principle, a PRO system would take in river water and seawater on either side of a semi-permeable membrane. Through osmosis, water from the less-salty stream would cross the membrane to a pre-pressurized saltier side, creating a flow that can be sent through a turbine to recover power.

The MIT team has now developed a model to evaluate the performance and optimal dimensions of large PRO systems. In general, the researchers found that the larger a system's membrane, the more power can be produced - but only up to a point. Interestingly, 95 percent of a system's maximum power output can be generated using only half or less of the maximum membrane area.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

3 Ways To Extinguish Burnout

A burnout happens gradually but is usually realized suddenly. Once you are aware of the issue, you need to take charge of the situation and fix it. This Total Landscape Care article lays out three helpful steps to extinguish your burnout.
Total Landscape Care

Are you thinking about work 24/7? Do you look forward to the weekend because you’ll have uninterrupted time to work? Has your stress level gotten so high that you don’t even remember what it feels like to be relaxed?

If so, you’re probably burned.

The more you work, the more successful you can become. You enjoy hearing you’re doing well and making clients and employees happy. But, your “To Do” list soon becomes unachievable, and you start to hate the thing that once brought you happiness.

And if you think about it, there’s no one else to blame (speaking from experience): You’re the only one looking out for you. No one else cares if you do too much, and the better you do, the more people are going to want from you.

Continue reading the article here.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

First 2014 Human Cases of West Nile Virus Confirmed

Landscapers and any outdoor workers alike need to be taking the proper precautions to prevent West Nile Virus. This Total Landscape Care article discusses the first 2014 case of West Nile Virus, as well as ways to protect yourself from it while working outside.

Total Landscape Care
The West Nile Virus is spreading as the first signs for 2014 appear.

The first 2014 case was confirmed when a Pennsylvania man was hospitalized due to the virus and has since recovered. The second case took the life a 75-year-old Louisiana resident.

The Dallas County Health and Human Services confirmed a third human case of West Nile Virus for the season on Monday.

Landscapers need to be on the look out and be using proper protection while working outdoors, especially as more West Nile Virus cases are confirmed.

Landscapers should be using DEET-containing insect repellents and covering exposed skin with lightweight clothing.

Continue reading this article here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Just Not Buying It: Purchase of 'Green' Products Slows Down

Today, about a quarter of Americans purchase products based on their green reputation, but this number is declining. This EHS Today article discusses the projected future for consumers and green product consumption. 

EHS Today
A new study finds that “green” certification and brand reputation are playing a larger role for

Further, when making a product selection, about 30 percent of American consumers select products based on a company’s “green” reputation, and 25 percent look to see if the product has been certified by a leading certification organization.

The study also pointed out that while overall interests in green and sustainable issues are gaining ground, many green purchases and behaviors – including selecting green cleaning products and personal care and food products, and energy and water conservation – either are stagnant or in decline.
consumers when choosing products. The Shelton Group, a marketing and communications firm focusing on the sustainability and energy sector, conducted the study and found that 70 percent of consumers want “greener” products and corporate commitments to sustainability.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

New Resource Helps Practitioners Enhance Posture Assessment Practices in the Workplace

According to this CDC article, injuries to muscles, bones and joints from overexertion cost businesses billions of dollars per year. Reports have shown that conducting posture assessments at your workplace can prevent and control these injuries, making it a safer environment. 

Cover page for publication 2014-131
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), in partnership with the Canadian Centre of Research Expertise for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders, has released a new report that can help occupational health and safety practitioners more accurately and efficiently assess postural stress of workers performing their duties at work. The ability to conduct posture assessments in the workplace can assist with the prevention and control of musculoskeletal disorders.

The report, Observation-Based Posture Assessment: Review of Current Practice and Recommendations for Improvement, describes a research-based approach to classifying the severity of torso and arm posture. This approach has been demonstrated to improve the accuracy and efficiency of workplace posture analysis. Authors address enhancements such as the benefits of digital video, computer software, training and use of visual cues. Additionally, the report provides practitioners with useful tips for digitally recording and analyzing workers’ posture.

Click here to read more!