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Keep up-to-date with what's happening at Taurus Projects Inc, construction news in the region and local community news and events.

The days are getting hotter and higher temperatures can mean heat-related illnesses on the construction site. Construction workers are at high risk for heat exhaustion and heatstroke thanks to the strenuous nature of the job and prolonged exposure to the heat. Here are some important tips to help you beat the heat this summer.

 

1. Stay hydrated

Drink plenty of water and avoid pop and energy drinks. You should be drinking fluids every 15-20 minutes; coconut water and sport drinks such as Gatorade or Powerade are great for restoring electrolytes like sodium and potassium, necessary because they carry glucose and other nutrients to cells. When electrolyte levels get too low, people can experience cramps and dizziness.

 

2. Dress properly

Wear light colored, loose fitted clothing. A natural fiber such as cotton is a good choice or moisture wicking clothing is even better. Moisture wicking clothing helps to draw sweat off your body and allows you to cool down quicker.

 

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3. Put on plenty of sunscreen

Sunburn can occur even on the cloudiest of days. When you work outside, make sure to wear a sweatproof or waterproof sunscreen that can stay on for extended periods of time. It’s also a good idea to wear a hat with a wide brim, nape protection and wrap around sun visors. This will provide you with the maximum amount of protection.

 

4. Find shade

Take breaks in shaded areas and whenever possible, plan jobs to avoid direct sunlight. If possible, schedule work for the morning hours when it is cooler.

 

5. Eat for the heat

Avoid high fat foods such as french fries and hamburgers. Eating light, nutritious meals is a better choice. Eating small snacks throughout the day helps to maintain high energy levels and make sure to include foods such as bananas, almonds, apricots and avocados which are high in potassium.

 

6. Pay attention to the heat index

On a busy job site, it’s easy to lose sight of climbing temperatures. The heat index combines air temperature and humidity to determine an apparent temperature a.k.a what it actually feels like outside. If the humidity is high, the body loses the ability to cool itself and low humidity increases sweat evaporation which can lead to dehydration.

 

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7. Rest

Don’t be afraid to admit the heat is too much to handle! If you feel like you need to take five, find a cool area and go for a short break. Overexerting yourself and not being aware of your body’s signals can quickly lead to heat exhaustion or worse, heatstroke.

 

8. Know the signs

Heat stress, heat rash, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke can all occur on a construction site. Symptoms can occur quickly so pay attention if you experience any of the following: nausea and vomiting, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, hot flushed skin, rapid or slow heart rate, decreased sweating, muscle aches or cramps and shortness of breath. If the symptoms are not alleviated by moving to a shady or air-conditioned area and administering fluids, seek medical assistance.

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Summer in Edmonton is typically busy with various construction projects. Favorable weather gives rise to building and road construction. The city is undergoing such a rapid transformation, it is often difficult to keep up with the location of the projects underway. Here are a few projects that are on the horizon this summer.


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Blatchford Redevelopment

 

The construction of the Blatchford site has begun; the vision for the community located on the site of the former municipal airport will be green and energy efficient. Streets which are designed for walking and cycling, energy efficient buildings and community gardens will establish the entire community as one which is conscientious and sustainable. The first part of the project includes the installation of storm, sanitary and water servicing as well as piping for the district energy sharing system. After the deep utilities have been installed, construction crews can begin work on the stormwater pond for the geo-exchange. This is a renewable energy source which is part of the energy sharing system being built into the project. Architecturally designed buildings will not go up until next year, but it’s exciting to see how the project will unfold.

 

Valley Line LRT Southeast

 

Located between 102 Street downtown and Mill Woods Town Centre, the line currently under construction will be 13 kilometers in length. Planning to open to the public by 2020, the line will feature:

  • 11 street level stops

  • An elevated station with a 1,400 Park and Ride facility and a full transit centre located in the Wagner industrial area

  • The new Tawatina Bridge across the river

  • A short tunnel from the north face of the River Valley through to the Quarters redevelopment

  • An interchange point at Churchill Square to access the existing Metro and Capital LRT lines

 

41 Avenue - Chapelle Way to Desrochers Drive

 

Existing roads are being upgraded to accommodate growth and increased traffic flows. The road will be removed and replaced with two urban lanes. The new lanes will be aligned to allow for future development; the goal is to eventually complete a six lane arterial roadway. Over the summer the road will be closed entirely and is expected to re-open on October 31, 2017.

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Raymond Block

 

Located on Whyte Avenue and 104 Street, the Raymond Block is named after the Raymond Hotel which was located on the site in the early 1900’s. The completed project will include a six story mixed use building with a two story commercial podium and 95 residential apartments above. Overall, the building will be over 130,000 square feet.


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Stanley A Milner Library Renovation

 

The 50 year old public library will undergo extensive renovations involving asbestos removal, mechanical and electrical upgrades and a new exterior with floor to ceiling second floor windows. The estimated cost for the renovation will be around $62.5 million. During construction, the library has moved to a temporary location in Enterprise Square. Over 20,000 books were moved to accommodate the renovation and it is expected that it will take up to three years to complete. By 2020, the library will re-open the doors to the public.

 

 

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Since starting operations in 2006, Taurus has prided itself in the quality of service we provide. Our head office is located in Fort Saskatchewan which makes them accessible to most of Western Canada’s industrial plants, sites and major projects. We also have offices in Calgary, Fort McMurray, Saskatchewan and hope to expand to other locations in the future.  Our management teams have a combined history of over 100 years in construction which gives them experience in a variety of disciplines. With integrity and team collaboration, the company is committed to following best practices and safety procedures to ensure that all of our clients are satisfied with the work they complete. We are quite capable of providing a wide variety of services on any project. Here are some of the many services Taurus provides.

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  • Soil and compaction testing through accredited labs

  • Site surveying and utility locator service

  • Hydro testing of lines and vessels

  • High voltage preventive maintenance

  • Temporary utility installation and maintenance

  • Site clearing and preparation

  • Large earthworks

  • Deep underground utilities

  • Retaining and holding ponds

  • Erosion control

  • Connection of power, security, telephone, internet, gas, water and sewage for site trailers

  • Preparation of temporary and permanent roads

  • Dust control

  • Supply and installation of environmental bridges, Texas gates and rig mats

  • Erection and dismantling of scaffolding

  • Material handling

  • Snow removal and sanding

  • Warehousing

  • Electrical plug-in service at parking areas

  • Mobilization, maintenance and demobilization of temporary buildings

The extent of the services we provide is expansive and in addition to the quality of work we complete, we are also committed to core values which serve as the foundation for their commitment to excellence. Operating as a sustainable business with a focus on the environment, Taurus is aware of the impact a company may have upon future generations. They have site specific WHMIS/TDG trained personnel and follow a qualified environmental assessment service. We are fully prepared to provide emergency services for issues such as spill response and containment. Completing all projects with the least amount of negative impact to the environment is a goal that parallels we values.

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Taurus continues to improve in all areas. Commitment to providing quality services is based on implementing and maintaining values such as collaboration, accountability, leadership, integrity, empowerment, safety and quality. All projects are approached with the same degree of diligence and efficiency.

With a team of almost 500 skilled professionals dedicated to the goal of offering quality services, Taurus has completed many successful projects and has an extensive history of achievements. Many of our customers have commented on our exceptional service and solid teamwork. With memberships in a wide variety of associations, Taurus’s reputation and high standard of work has allowed us to maintain good working relationships with all of our partners. We have become one of the most trusted organizations in the Western Canadian construction industry and will continue to engage in the community with high standards of excellence.

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The construction industry is at high risk for eye injuries due to the nature of the work involved. The US Bureau of Labour reported that 70% of eye injuries were the result of falling objects or sparks striking the eye, with nearly three-fifths of workers stating that the objects were smaller than a pinhead. It has been noted that three out of five workers were not wearing eye protection at the time of their accident or were wearing the wrong kind of eye protection. Injuries can result in a permanent loss of vision so it’s important to identify some common hazards that can occur on a job site.

 

Eye protection is needed when these potential eye hazards are present on a work site:

 

1. Projectiles (such as dust, concrete, metal, wood and other particles)

Safety glasses with side protection are recommended as small things such as splinters, broken glass or dust can cause quite a bit of damage to the eye. It’s advisable to wear the glasses when using machinery that creates debris and dust.

2. Chemicals

Safety goggles form a special seal against the face to keep contaminants out. They usually have ventilation slats to help prevent misting. They can be worn over safety glasses or prescription eyeglasses.

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3. Hazardous radiation

Requires special safety purpose glasses, goggles or face shields that are designed for a specific task.

Eye protection should be fitted to each individual and adjusted to provide the appropriate coverage. The goggles, glasses or face shields should fit comfortably while allowing for sufficient peripheral vision. The importance of comfortable eye protection cannot be emphasized enough – workers will not wear eye protection if it is bothersome. If protective eyewear is worn throughout the day, comfort enhancing features such as cushioned brows, gel nosepieces or padded nose bridges, vented frames, flexible or ratcheted temples and lenses with adjustable angles will make a tremendous difference.

Training workers how and when to use eye and face protection is a crucial part of a safety program. Implementing eye safety policies and communicating this to workers is a key component to successful safety practices. Instruct workers when to wear eye safety protection, and explain how and where they can obtain the eyewear.  Tell them how to get replacements and show them how to take proper care of the equipment.

 

If an injury does occur on the job site, several steps can be taken in case of an emergency:

Chemicals in the eye

Flush the eye with water for at least 15 minutes. If necessary, remove contact lenses before flushing. Don’t neutralize the chemical with other substances and don’t bandage the eye. Seek medical attention after flushing.

Particles in the eye

Do not rub the eye. You can irrigate the eye with an artificial tear solution or lift the upper eyelid outward and down over the lower eyelid to remove the particle. If the particle does not wash out, keep the eye closed and seek medical attention.

Blows to the eye

Gently apply a cold compress (such as crushed ice in a bag) to the eye without putting pressure on the eye. If there is severe pain or reduced vision, seek immediate medical attention.

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Cuts and punctures

Do not wash or attempt to remove an object that is stuck in the eye. Cover the eye with a shield...even the bottom of a paper cup will do. Seek medical help.

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Smartphones and tablets have become part of everyday life and their presence is increasing on construction sites. With the help of mobile devices, project managers, architects and other workers can actively manage all processes and information involved with their projects. Using mobile technology is a sound financial decision as it saves money and increases productivity thereby allowing companies to stay competitive in the market. By using mobile apps, contractors can complete a wide range of functions such as project management, invitations to bid, building information modeling (BIM), accounting, customer relationship management and estimating. Here are some benefits to introducing and using mobile technology in your construction business.

 

1. Better communication and fewer errors

Mobility improves communication as employees on a jobsite can share data and pictures. Field staff and office staff can stay connected and updated with the most current information. By using mobile apps, the need for paper files is eliminated. Papers aren’t lost and equipment is less likely to go missing. The need for reworks decreases as errors that lead to reworks are reduced. A team is able to collaborate efficiently through the use of digital technology and costs are lowered.

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2. Greater efficiency

Everyone can work together on the same sources of information no matter where they are located. Some of the top uses for mobile technology include accessing customer and job information, drawings, schedules, photos and documents, daily field reports, job cost and project reports. Opportunities exist for foremen and project managers to request repairs or new equipment and project delays can be avoided. Work can be delegated and changes can be made immediately. All information related to a project can be uploaded to a document management system which puts everyone on the same page.

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3. Real time analytics

Gone are the days when reports were created after the daily job was finished. Foremen can use real time reporting to keep track of their teams, field conditions and project costs. Managers can predict problems and/or corrections and immediate action can be taken. If data is collected in an organized fashion, problems can be addressed by having the right people complete a job.

 

4. Preventing mishandling

Construction companies often suffer losses due to mishandling or robbery on construction sites. When no one is on site in the evenings or weekends or when the site is located in a remote area, supplies like copper and aluminum are targets for thieves. Mobile surveillance can assist in recovering misplaced or stolen items and a job site can be monitored easily from a smartphone or tablet.

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5. Integrates with existing systems

Mobile apps are easily integrated into systems like payroll, sales, logistics and supply chain management. Expanding the role of technology on the jobsite allows a company to experience the benefits of technology on all levels of operation.

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Spring in Edmonton is synonymous with pothole season. As we are busy manoeuvring to avoid vehicle damage, it may help to consider what driving is like in other parts of the world. Here are some places that are considered to be the most dangerous roads in the world.

 

1. The North Yungas Road, Bolivia

Known as the “Road of Death” as 200 to 300 travellers are killed annually on this road. On one side, the road is solid rock while the other side has a 2,000 foot abyss. The road itself is only 12 feet wide with many sections unpaved and without guardrails. Add frequent mudslides and tumbling rocks, and the road becomes even more treacherous.

 

2. Kabul-Jalalabad Road, Afghanistan

This 143 kilometre stretch of road snakes right through Taliban territory. It’s not only this fact that makes the road dangerous; the two-lane road runs along 600 meter high cliffs and mostly consists of gravel.

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3. James Dalton Highway, Alaska

The Dalton Highway is 667 kilometres long and begins north of Fairbanks, ending at Deadhorse near the Arctic Ocean and the Prudhoe Bay oilfields. The potholes along this road are more like craters and strong winds constantly throw rocks at vehicles. The highway is one of the most isolated in the world as there are only three towns located along the distance. With temperatures reaching -62C, it is extremely dangerous to get stranded here.

 

4. Karakoram Highway, Pakistan

This highway is the highest paved highway in the world and is regarded as one of the world’s hardest alpine climbs. It connects China and Pakistan across the Karakoram mountain range where the elevation reaches 4,693 metres above sea level. Prone to landslides and floods, the road is extremely dangerous.

 

5. Guoliang Tunnel, China

This tunnel is curved along the side of a mountain and continues through it. It’s 1.2 kilometres long, 5 meters tall and 4 meters wide. Thirteen villagers took five years to build the tunnel road. The road surface and tunnel walls are very rough due to the primitive tools that were used to build it. It is exceptionally dangerous in wet conditions.



6. The Zoji La Pass, India

Located on the Indian National Highway 1D between Srinagar and Leh, the pass has an elevation of 3,528 meters. It is considered to be extremely risky as storms can make the road impassable. High winds and heavy snowfalls make it impassable in the winter, but summer doesn’t make driving any easier. Narrow roads and sheer drops into an abyss make this a daunting journey in any season.

 

7. Skippers Canyon Road, New Zealand

This winding road cut in the middle of a sheer cliff face requires a special permit to drive it. It is a very narrow and difficult road to maneuver. The gravel road is 26.5 kilometres long and is one of two roads in the country where rental car insurance is not honoured if driven on.

 

8. Los Caracoles Pass, Chile

This road is snow covered for most of the year. Running between Chile and Argentina, it is well maintained which helps to reduce the number of accidents. The road ascends extremely steep slopes and consists of many sharp turns. Without barriers for safety, the road has an elevation of 3,176 meters.

 

9. The Stelvio Pass, Italy

At 2.757 meters, this is the highest paved mountain pass in the Eastern Alps. It is considered to be one of the most scenic drives in the world, but certain sections should only be driven by experienced drivers. Due to more than 48 hairpin bends, the road becomes very narrow at some points and has some very steep inclines.

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10. Sichuan-Tibet Highway, China

This road has a record of over 7,500 deaths for every 100,000 drivers. Due to rock slides, avalanches and poor weather, it is particularly dangerous during the rainy season. The road is 2,142 kilometres long and has many sharp mountainside hairpins. It makes 99 switchbacks along a 38 kilometre stretch and is a treacherous journey for even an experienced driver.

 

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Alberta’s economy has been in a downturn since 2014 when oil prices started to fall. The unemployment rate increased and the construction industry was hit hard with job losses. Statistics Canada noted that in November 2016, employment fell by 13,000 while unemployment increased by over 11,000.

There is hope on the horizon for 2017 and beyond as economists predict a modest improvement in the economy. Economic growth will finally re-emerge in the province, however it is important to keep things in perspective. Growth rates will probably be around 2.8%, signifying a slow and steady growth. Evidence can be observed in money being spent; as the economy has begun to stabilize, Albertans have started to spend money again. The provincial government is also making a commitment to increase their spending which keeps the economy moving forward. The government’s five-year, 34.8 billion dollar capital plan includes funding for roads and bridges, building and maintaining schools and funding for municipal infrastructure projects. This work will have an impact on the construction industry in particular. In a province struggling to regain its footing, the construction industry will need infrastructure spending to increase on both provincial and federal levels.

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Alberta will probably continue to face challenges, but investment continues on a global level. Companies are spending money where there is opportunity. For example, Inter Pipeline Ltd., Pembina Pipeline Corporation and ATCO Power have projects valued (in total) at 9 billion dollars which translates to 6,000 jobs. Alberta is viewed as a low-cost source of energy and feedstocks that are leveraged by the chemical industry to produce chemicals and plastics. Alberta has re-joined the list of location options in making competitive chemicals investment and has the potential to be a key player in the market. Industrial project construction such as carbon capture and storage upgrading of bitumen and petrochemical processing are all evidence of growth within the energy sector. Jobs and capital investment in the energy sector will build the construction industry and the economy for the future.

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New home construction has been on the decline, but home builders are calling for a modest rebound in 2017. Population growth has declined in Alberta due to outmigration to other provinces, directly affecting the need for housing.  Construction of multi family housing is expected to decline, but the number of new family homes being built is expected to increase. Recovery will probably be gradual but we can expect a rise of up to 9% overall in new home construction. Builders continue to be cautious but are waiting to see how rapidly the energy sector recovers. With the approval of the Keystone Pipeline project, the hope is that businesses affected by the economic slump will start to see the promise of the future.

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Many factors contribute to low productivity on a construction site. Lack of investment in education and safety, issues with equipment and material handling, focusing on results while ignoring the process and not measuring productivity all affect outcomes. Long periods of waiting, accidents, materials waste and theft and redoing completed work are other factors that can decrease productivity. By improving management practices, a construction company can increase productivity and performance. Here are some simple suggestions to follow.

 

1. Training

Providing training for all employees is essential for implementing sound management practices. Supervisors have the most impact on workers, therefore it is beneficial to provide supervisors with productivity related training. They need to learn how to analyze and work with the steps and processes of projects so they can maintain a clear vision of how to effectively achieve the desired goals.

 

2. Hire a good foreman

A foreman keeps workers on track, helps when needed and reports to management. The foreman can make or break a project and should have experience in labour and management practices.

 

3. Analyze the process

Measure key factors and set goals and benchmarks. Look at each step of the project and decide what needs to be accomplished. Organize work areas so that the project can proceed efficiently.

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4. Use technology

Gradually introduce new equipment and software that can increase productivity. There is a wide variety of software available for planning and scheduling. Take advantage of training for workers that will help to build momentum and increase performance.

 

5. Know when to implement changes

Introducing and implementing new processes at key times helps with transition and change. Positive times for transitions include when the days get longer in spring, moving to a new job site, at the start of a new phase and when there are changes within the team.

 

6. Planning and scheduling

One of the biggest issues in construction is resource unavailability. Equipment and materials may be unavailable or in transition, or it may be difficult to find skilled workers. Keeping track of scheduling can assist in determining realistic timeframes.

 

7. Extended overtime

The impact of extended overtime on construction productivity has been studied for over 40 years and some significant outcomes of these studies should be noted. Worker fatigue, increased accidents, absenteeism and high turnover are all factors that can affect productivity. Consider scheduling options that can reduce extended overtime.

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8. Keep the site clean and clear of clutter

When job sites are cluttered and disorganized, productivity decreases. A clean and clear site keeps workers organized and able to complete tasks more efficiently.

 

9. Implement best practice policies

Creating a culture of high productivity relies on effective safety practices, training, planning and clear accountability. Companies that implement best practices have a reduced number of accidents on their projects.

10. Improve meetings

Meetings are an essential component of any business. Ensure that meetings have a purpose and follow a specific plan. Keep the agenda to points that relate to tasks completed and goals for the future.

 

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Despite a general slowing down in Canada’s economy, the construction industry does not appear to have been negatively affected. Construction has been cited as one of the fastest growing industries in Canada and although cycles fluctuate, it continues to be profitable for both entrepreneurs and investors. According to Forbes magazine, five of the fastest growing industries in the US are affiliated with the construction industry. Construction spending has been growing which has influenced the overall economy in a positive way. It’s a similar situation in Canada. The Construction Sector Council forecasts that Canada will be in need of approximately 320,000 workers between now and 2020; that translates to a need for 100,000 jobs due to expansion demands.

So what is it that is driving the recent boom in the construction industry?  One factor that appears to be making a difference is the rising use of technology and the fact that technology has developed in a way that is useful to the construction industry. Gone are the days where project managers, superintendents and foremen were given complex programs that didn’t work for them. Solutions intended to save time and money involved more work and created new problems.

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With the accessibility of companies like Plan Grid, users will be able to track and sync changes to construction drawings in the field with a smartphone or tablet. Project management tools, drones and predictive data analytics have all contributed to changing the face of the construction business. Couple that with the fact that most people are familiar with the technology available on smartphones or tablets and apps are now more user-friendly and accessible to almost everyone working in the field. As younger workers enter the industry, the demand for technology will continue to rise as it will be viewed as a way to increase efficiency and set higher standards.

Another factor that is contributing to the boom in the industry is the demand for environmentally friendly construction. Sustainable, energy efficient projects are on the rise. IBISWorld projects estimate 23% annual growth in the green building industry. Partnered with a focus on building communities, entrepreneurs are committed to seeing the benefits firsthand.

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Investment in construction will continue to appeal to investors. The industry is vast and incorporates a variety of jobs. There are many jobs that will continue to be necessary and automation will not affect the long-term need for workers. Each project is unique and the process of beginning and finishing projects constantly changes. It’s impossible to ignore the impact the construction industry has and it will continue to thrive as demand grows. For investors, entrepreneurs, employers and employees, the industry will continue to offer exciting opportunities and possibilities for specialization which will make it easier for companies to create a niche in the industry. Competition will continue to be a factor construction companies will have to deal with, but specialization will lessen the pressure to provide a vast array of services.

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Spring weather is known to be unpredictable. It can snow or rain and the next day we can experience a heat wave. Job conditions for workers can be dangerous as the weather can create unsafe working conditions. Here are a few safety tips to be aware of when working on a construction site in the spring.

 

1. Make sure your clothing is appropriate for the weather. Long pants, safety goggles and slip resistant boots are essential when working around machinery. Waterproof clothing is an essential if the weather is rainy. If the weather is warm, wear long sleeves, a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from sunburn. Don’t forget to use sunscreen or insect repellent if necessary. Stay hydrated when it is hot outside and take breaks in shaded areas to minimize exposure to the sun.

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2. Rain can make conditions slippery. To avoid slipping, wipe off mud from gloves and boots before stepping onto equipment. Keep in mind that the dangers of slipping on mud exceeds those of slipping on wet surfaces.

 

3.The instability of the ground in spring weather makes it difficult to maneuver. When operating machinery, be aware that it has the potential to injure someone if it slides down a slope. Workers operating machines should always wear seatbelts.

 

4. Moisture loosens hard ground and makes excavating dangerous. If excavation is taking place, there is a higher chance of the earth caving in when the ground is unstable. Use a trench box to support the sides of the excavation and dig the hole so that the sides are properly sloped for the soil type.

 

5. During heavy rains or thunderstorms, it is often better to wait out the storm. Flash flooding can occur with heavy rain and high winds. Lightning which accompanies thunderstorms can be extremely dangerous for workers on equipment located high above the ground. Waiting for the weather to change is advisable as the safety risk to workers can be extreme.

 

6. Be aware of the effects of cold stress on workers. Cold stress can occur when temperatures are as high as 10 degrees Celsius with the addition of wind and rain. Five factors contribute to cold stress:

  • naturally or artificially cold environments

  • wind

  • wet clothing from water or sweat

  • cold water immersion

  • fatigue

Prolonged exposure can lead to hypothermia and workers can experience symptoms long before the situation becomes critical. It is important for workers to wear layers with an outer layer of waterproof gear. Provide shelters and space heaters if necessary and train workers to recognize the symptoms of cold stress.

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7. Avoid working a little too quickly in bad weather. Accidents can happen fast. Workers should work slowly and methodically to decrease their chances of accident and injury. Keeping a clean work site also contributes to minimizing accidents and is an important part in keeping a worksite safe.

 

8. Visibility is critical to a safe work environment. Safety goggles should be wiped with anti-fogging spray before going outside. Keep the workspace illuminated if clouds or fog are present. When visibility is poor, workers should wear bright reflective outerwear especially in areas with vehicle traffic.

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Technology is rapidly changing and advancing. The construction industry is not excluded from new innovative and creative ideas fueled by the ever-changing technology sector. Here are some trends that will enable the construction industry to utilize technology’s vision and efficiency.

 

1. Labour tracking

Labour tracking can enable contractors to cut costs and improve efficiency. Wearables can track workers in the field and ensure they are aware and protected from potential injuries. On the job site, equipment sensors will be able to monitor whether machinery is in need of repair and provides managers with the information they need to effectively control their fleets.

 

2. Virtual and augmented reality technology (VR/AR)

Being able to visualize what a project will look like when completed will provide construction companies with a way to explain the building process to their clients. By utilizing reality technology, collaboration can occur between project stakeholders before building begins. During the building process, it will now be possible to do virtual walkthroughs on any project, and VR and AR will allow construction teams to detect errors ahead of time and avoid costly mistakes. Job site safety will also benefit from this technology as managers and workers will be able to view jobsite conditions without subjecting workers to safety hazards.

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3. Building and Information Modeling (BIM)

Mainly associated with the design process, 3D building information modeling can be used before and after the construction process. Descriptions are available for every aspect of the build and information related to photos, specifications and manuals can be linked to objects in the model. It is a new form of information processing and collaboration which uses data embedded within a model. Because it is not a single piece of software it can create models separately, which allows for access to a combined view of the entire project. Workers will be able to determine which tools will be needed to complete a project and better plans will produce quick results and will keep the project on budget.

 

4. Drones

Unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly referred to as drones, can assist in conducting site surveys and help track a project’s progress in real time. Aerial photos, maps, 3D images and other sensor data can be turned into structural models, topographical maps and volumetric measurements. Data can be collected faster than human surveyors and provides an efficient method for cutting costs, avoiding delays and addressing any potential issues.

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5. Smart Buildings

Sensors, microchips and other devices will be able to collect data and manage a building’s function. Heating, ventilation, lighting, security and other home systems will be able to be monitored by business owners, managers and homeowners to reduce energy usage and minimize environmental impacts. In conjunction with energy-saving designs and construction, it will be possible to produce commercial buildings that are up to 70% more energy efficient.

 

6. Mobile Apps

Apps are available for everything from time tracking to project management. Anyone with access to a cell phone or tablet can find information on any topic. Communicating and sharing information will be quicker and more effective.

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After the long winter, a sure sign of spring in our climate is the beginning of road maintenance and repair. The city constantly assesses the condition of our roads and prioritizes repair work accordingly. Roads in fair condition can be resurfaced and are less expensive to repair, whereas roads in poor condition require pothole repairs and are the most expensive to fix. While spring road repairs are taking place throughout the city, there are some current road projects that you should also look out for.

Rainbow Valley Access Bridge Rehabilitation

Starting this spring, the Rainbow Valley access bridge over Whitemud Creek and under Whitemud Drive will be undergoing repairs. The bridge, constructed in 1971, provides access to the Snow Valley Ski Club and the Rainbow Valley campground. It carries approximately 750 vehicles per day, providing a link to some of the city’s well known outdoor features. Construction will occur in two stages; each stage involves closing half the bridge for construction while the other half will maintain one lane for bi-directional traffic. Access for pedestrians and cyclists will be provided during construction.


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Victoria Trails Bridges Rehabilitation

Between 2017 and 2018, the City of Edmonton will repair two northeast area bridges on Victoria Trail: Victoria Trial over the Yellowhead Trail bridge and Victoria Trail over the Kennedale Ravine bridge. When completed, the bridge over Kennedale Ravine will have a new asphalt roadway surface, new barriers and median, a wider sidewalk and new pedestrian railings, concrete repairs and various miscellaneous repairs. Similar repairs will be completed on the Yellowhead Trail bridge, with construction occurring in three stages and the bridge possibly reduced to one lane at stage two and three. Trail closures may occur during construction.

 

Bike Routes

Changes are being made to roadways which will accommodate the growing number of cyclists in our city. Various bike routes throughout the city will be opening and sidewalks are being reconstructed to provide safer routes for bikes. The city has already completed bike routes from 99 Street to 96 Street as well as a portion of the route stretching from 96 Street to 136 Street. In 2017, we can look forward to improvements to existing routes along 40 Avenue.

 

McCauley Streetlight Replacement

The McCauley Revitalization Strategy was approved in 2011. Roadway reconstruction and streetscaping began in the spring of 2015 along 106 Avenue from 97 Street to 101 Street and 107A Avenue from 95 Street to 97 Street. The project was completed in the fall of 2016 and the next phase of upgrading involves streetlight replacements along 95 Street from 107A Avenue to 109 Avenue. Work will include the removal of existing trolley poles, streetlights and pedestrian lights and replacing them with new LED streetlights and pedestrian signals.

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Construction sites are busy places. Heavy-duty equipment, teams completing different tasks, moving parts and noise can all contribute to the hectic environment on the job site. As the job site constantly changes, it is essential that safety staff are on hand to review and assess any potential hazards that may affect the safety of the workers. Here are a few questions that every safety professional should ask themselves about the job site they are working at.

 

1. Have I made the job site safer today?

As workers get ready to end the workday, have them contribute in the task of finding and fixing hazards that could cause injuries the next day. Being alert and thinking ahead addresses safety as a priority for everyone on the site. It also makes workers more informed about potential safety risks.

 

2. Are the employees using the safety equipment they have been provided?

It goes without saying that simply having the appropriate equipment is not enough. To instill good safety habits means utilizing and working with safety equipment on a daily basis. If the workers have been trained about the required safety equipment, they will understand the importance of using it properly.

 

3. Am I communicating regularly with the workers and updating them about safety on the job?

Practice safe behaviour yourself and lead by example. Make safety part of daily conversations with workers and provide them with any additional information they request.

 

4. Has anything changed on the jobsite since yesterday?

Inspect the job site with workers on a daily basis. Ask them to identify any activity, piece of equipment or material that concerns their safety. Use a checklist to identify problems and keep the workers involved and committed to safe practice.


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5. Have I walked around the job site to look for unsafe behavior or equipment?

Set aside a regular time to take a walk around the site with the intent of looking for possible hazards. This will ensure that good practice is followed and foreseeable emergencies can be identified.

6. Have I talked to my boss about safety issues on the job site?

Setting safety and health as a priority includes addressing concerns with management. Outlining and identifying hazards allows for improvements to be made and for the job site to become a safe working environment.

 

7. Have I checked the OSHA regulations to make sure that all safety requirements are up to date?

In an industry that is constantly changing, it is important for safety staff to stay informed about updates and/or changes to legislation. Staying abreast of current legislation protects the employees as well as the employers.

 

8. Am I willing to take action against employees who continue to behave in an unsafe manner?

Part of the role of a safety professional is to educate and train employees about safe practices. If an employee is unwilling to follow identified procedures, they can be putting themselves and others at risk.

 

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9. Do employees feel they can come to me about safety concerns?

Keep communication open by allowing employees to feel comfortable with identifying issues they deem as hazardous. Develop a simple procedure for workers to report any injuries, illnesses, incidents, hazards, or safety and health concerns without fear of retaliation. Include an option for reporting hazards or concerns anonymously.

 

10. Have I done what I promised others I would do to take care of potential hazards?

Setting personal standards sets the standards for the workers on the job site. Safety becomes a priority that everyone is involved with. Safe worksites function efficiently and standards are set that become goals for identifying and improving the job site for all workers.

  

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Several construction projects in Edmonton have started or are in the process of being completed. Due to the economic downturn, many projects have been delayed and continue to be delayed or rescheduled. Here are a few projects that look to be completed in 2017 or are in the process of getting started.

1. Alex Decoteau Park

Known for his athleticism, Alex Decoteau was a talented long distance runner. He was also the first Aboriginal Police Officer in Canada when he joined the Edmonton Police Force in 1909. Killed in active service in the Canadian Army in 1917, Decoteau was dedicated to community service. In honor of his commitment and dedication, a downtown park will be built in his memory, the first downtown park to be built since 2000. Located on the northwest corner of 105 Street and 102 Avenue, the 0.35 hectare park will include open green space, a community garden with raised beds, a fenced off-leash dog park, in-ground water fountains and displays of public art. The City of Edmonton anticipates the completion of the project in 2017.

 

2. MacEwan University Centre for the Arts

The $181 million addition to MacEwan’s downtown campus located on 104 Avenue and 110 Street is scheduled to open in August 2017. The building was designed by architect Bing Thom and will include theatres, a recital hall, recording studios, two-storey dance spaces, fine art and digital design classrooms and a student art gallery.


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3. Funicular

Opening in the fall of 2017, the $24 million “mechanized river valley access” project will provide an alternate path from the river valley to downtown for people unable or choose not to use the stairs. The plexiglass structure runs between a 200-meter parkway at the bottom of the hill to a bridge at the water’s edge. About 20 people will be able to ride at a time. Instead of moving vertically, the funicular moves at an angle. There will be stairs for runners on one side while the other side will have blocks for people to sit on. Viewing platforms are also included in the design.

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4. Premium Outlet Collection

Located near the Edmonton International Airport near Highway 2, this project is part of planned airport development. More than 100 stores located on a 40,000 square meter space is expected to open in the fall of 2017.

5. Valley Line LRT 

TransEd Partners composed of Bechtel, EllisDon, Bombardier Rail and Fengate Capital Management combined with Arup Canada and IBI Group has partnered with the City of Edmonton in the design and development of the Valley Line LRT. The project began in 2016 and saw the removal of the Cloverdale Footbridge as part of LRT construction. Scheduled to start this year, the Tawatinâ Bridge piers will be built on the north and south sides. The piers should be visible in the late spring this year.

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6. The Rossdale Substation 

EPCOR began construction in June 2016 on the existing Rossdale Substation. Controversy around the project involved discussion with First Nation communities regarding the proposed expansion. The land the substation is located on is of archaeological and historical significance for the First Nations communities situated so EPCOR is working to ensure the project does not interfere with the site and an archaeologist will be consulted during the completion of the project. The new building will be approximately 18 meters long by 10 meters wide in the larger section and 7 meters long and 7 meters wide for the smaller section.



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Over the last 10 years, technology has had a huge impact on the construction industry. Power distribution, heating, ventilation and lighting have changed thanks to innovations that have improved residential and commercial construction. Infrastructure has also benefited from improvements due to technology and advancement in the area of civil construction. New materials that are stronger and environmentally friendly have opened the door to exciting new possibilities.

1. Turning trash into bricks

Researchers at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology have developed a technique for making bricks using cigarette butts. Dealing with cigarette waste is a difficult environmental dilemma. By adding cigarette butts into clay bricks before firing enables the energy expended during the firing process to decrease by 58%. The firing process traps the poisonous pollutants so they cannot be leached into the environment leaving the finished bricks with the comparable structural properties of normal bricks. The finished bricks weigh less than traditional clay bricks and have better insulation capabilities.

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2. Concrete that generates its own light
A process is being developed which will provide an alternative to the usual concrete mix required to make concrete. By using sulfur based concrete which can absorb and irradiate light, the applications could make a difference to the architectural market. Dr. José Carlos Rubio Avalos at the Michoacan University of San Nicolás de Hidalgo claims that it can be used in swimming pools, bathrooms kitchens, parking lots or in the energy sector for spaces that don’t have access to electricity. The material would charge by exposure to natural or artificial light and could create new sources of light that would not be high in energy consumption.

 

3. Protection from earthquakes
The Komatsu Seiten Fabric Laboratory located in Japan has created a thermoplastic carbon fibre composite which can be used to protect buildings from earthquakes. The fibre strands are extremely lightweight but have a high tensile body which provides buildings with a strong support system. 160 meters of the CABKOMA Strand Rod weigh only 12 kg and is easily transportable. Metal wire is generally five times heavier. In addition, the composite strands are eco-friendly.

 

4. Concrete that repairs Itself
Erik Schlangen of Delft Technical University in the Netherlands is testing a product that he calls “self-healing asphalt.”  Infusing concrete with a harmless limestone-producing bacteria creates a material which has the potential to self-heal micro-cracks in the presence of rainwater. It could reduce noise pollution and save millions in maintenance and repair.

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5. Walls that could replace air conditioning
A team at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia have created a new material from a combination of clay and hydrogel. The material is referred to as hydroceramics and can cool building interiors by up to six degrees centigrade. The material can absorb up to 500 times its weight in water. On hot days, the contents evaporate which results in a decrease in temperature.

 

In the next 10 years, construction design will become increasingly sophisticated. Improved management methods and automation will positively affect productivity. More effective design decisions, insight and vision combined with creative technology will lead to extraordinary developments within the construction industry on a global level.

 

Which of these innovations are you most excited for? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!

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How and when to bring safety concerns to an employer’s attention may not be an easy decision to make. Not knowing how the concern will be received or how it will be addressed can leave an employee feeling uncertain and vulnerable. No one wants to feel that their observations may be dismissed or overlooked, yet when safety is the issue, many people can be affected by a concern if it is not reported.

Depending on the nature of the safety issue being reported, there are two main points to consider: if the hazard does not present immediate danger, there is time to consider how to bring your concerns to the attention of your boss. If the safety issue presents an immediate danger or threat to anyone’s safety or their life, the concern needs to be addressed immediately. Here are some suggestions on how to proceed when reporting a safety concern.

 

Think it Through

Before you report the problem, make sure you have thought about what the exact

concerns are. A supervisor may feel that the problem may have been easily fixed without

having it brought to his attention. If you have determined that the issue cannot be easily

fixed, think of some suggestions that could assist in rectifying the problem before you

bring it to the attention of anyone else.

 

Follow the Chain of Command

Talk with your immediate supervisor first and let them have the opportunity to fix the problem. If the supervisor’s response is unsatisfactory, you may need to take your concern elsewhere. It could mean addressing the problem with a safety manager. This provides an opportunity for the safety manager to check out the concern and approach the supervisor without involving you in the process. If there are no safety supervisors, find an ally and discreetly let them know about your observations...they may be able to think of another way to approach the situation.

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Be Cooperative

Approach management in a cooperative manner. Avoid making accusations which will only elicit negative reactions. Let your boss know that you have given the issue thought and that you are concerned. Offer solutions and let your employer know that you will help in correcting the situation.

 

Be Certain Your Facts Are Correct

If you are uncertain, do research before you report the problem. Safety standards change and you want to ensure that your complaint is valid with current standards. If you are informed that the problem is compliant with the law, accept this explanation.

Know Your Rights

If your concerns are not addressed and you have exhausted your options, you may have to report the concern to a governing authority. Before you take this step, ensure that you have reported it to the appropriate people and be sure that what you are asking for is right. No one wants to be perceived as a problematic employee, but standing by your convictions may be instrumental in saving someone’s life.

 

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Safety is a primary focus at Taurus. Dedicated to quality and high standards, we focus on preserving the environment for employees, clients, subcontractors and the public. We are also certified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The ISO sets quality management standards for organizations based on quality management principles. We support strong customer focus and provide the motivation and implication of top management in the process approach and continual improvement.

As part of our commitment to safety and the environment, Taurus is affiliated and certified with various organizations and associations well respected within the construction industry. All of these groups adhere to standards of health and safety within the construction industry. Taurus is committed to maintaining high standards in addition to proactively protecting the wellbeing and safety of their associates.
 

Certificate of Recognition (COR)

COR is an occupational health and safety accreditation program that ensures safety and health programs meet national standards. It provides employers with a safety and health management system to reduce incidents, accidents and injuries. COR establishes a safety culture within the workplace and improves overall efficiency at the work site. It also assists in lowering WCB rates and qualifies a company for refunds.

www.workalberta.ca

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Contractor Qualification Network (CQN)

CQN specializes in the automation of contractor management systems. They provide major cost savings and simplify data transfer and streamline document management. Through CQN, the security and safe transfer of online information is ensured.

www.canadvantage.com
 

ISN

ISN provides contractors with an online contractor management database. They provide services related to health, safety, compliance, environmental standards and quality. Dedicated to providing services for hiring clients and contractors they provide services which all members to access and analyze data with reporting tools that benchmark performance. ISN supports over 500 hiring clients to manage 63,779 contractors and suppliers in more than 85 countries.

www.isnetworld.com

 

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Alberta Construction Safety Association (ACSA)

This association builds links within the construction industry with the purpose of making workplaces safer. They partner with Alberta Labour in the Partnerships in Injury Reduction (PIR) program. PIR is a voluntary program in which employers and employee representatives work collaboratively with the government to build health and safety management systems. The PIR program in turn awards Certificates of Recognition (COR) to employers that have met established programs. These certificates are issued by the Alberta government. Employers must maintain this certificate to be eligible for financial incentives through the Worker’s Compensation Board (WCB).

www.workalberta.ca

 

Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE)

The CSSE is the largest national and most established organization for health and safety practitioners. They have more that 5,000 members and 36 chapters throughout Canada, the United States and worldwide. The purpose of the organization is to enhance health and safety within the workplace. Offering courses and connecting with members defines them as a resource for research and innovation within the field of safety.

 

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Explained simply, ergonomics is about fitting a task to a person. Employees often perform jobs that expose them to injuries and illnesses due to the poor design of a workstation or tool. Assessing and identifying ergonomic risk factors can instill changes to improve the fit between job demands and the capabilities of employees. Generally, the greater the exposure to a risk factor or risk factors increases the probability of an injury or illness. Three of the greatest ergonomic risk factors are:

 

  • Force - how often you lift/push/pull

  • Repetition - how often the task is performed

  • Posture - how someone holds their body while standing or sitting

 

Other factors include vibration, contact stress, cold temperatures and sustained exertion.

 

Employers can assess the workplace to determine safety and ergonomic risks. Workstation design, modified work practices and other tools can reduce or eliminate ergonomic risk factors. Job descriptions are a tool for determining the risk factors associated with each job. Examining the type of work involved can determine which part of the task needs to change. It may necessitate the use of new tools or working methods, but the overall goal of decreasing injuries and illnesses will be achievable.  If a job is too physically demanding on a worker, the quality of the job may suffer. By incorporating ergonomics into the safety and productivity of the workplace, turnover and absenteeism can be decreased. The quality of the work completed can be improved and overall performance improves. Both employers and employees can benefit from the changes.

 

As a construction worker, there are some simple ways to reduce ergonomic stress:

  1. Be aware of the job you are completing. If you are required to lift a heavy load, get someone to assist you. Use your legs to push up and lift the load. Avoid using your upper body or back and do not twist your body during a lift. Injuries to the back generate the highest frequency of disabling injuries and if untreated, can persist as a health problem for months or years.

  2. Avoid stretching or unnecessary stress when completing overhead work. Frequent and prolonged flexion is associated with low back pain. Raising your arms continually above shoulder level is associated with shoulder disorders. Adjust scaffolds to the appropriate height or use a lifting device to hold materials in place.

  3. Use appropriate tools such as hammers that are designed to reduce shock. Using tools with handles that maintain a neutral wrist position eliminates the repetitive action of twisting the hands and wrists. When using vibrating tools such as jackhammers, ensure that they are equipped with built-in vibration dampers. Be sure to wear gloves to help absorb the vibrations.

  4. Rotate job tasks to reduce repetitiveness. Organize and pay attention to work/rest ratios to reduce fatigue and make sure to take organized breaks when scheduled.

 

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Construction is a broad term and the pay varies according to the type of project or skills you have. The downside of construction is it's cyclical and you may have to work away from home for long periods of time. The upside is that hard workers with a great skillset will always be in demand. For a committed and reliable worker, the key to being constantly employed means making good contacts and developing a good reputation. Here are a few suggestions for anyone beginning a career in the construction industry.

  1. Be on time and be willing to work hard. Being on time not only impacts your job, but the jobs of others who can’t continue their tasks until you finish yours. Consider coming in 15 minutes early to get a feel for the jobsite and the other workers. This will also make a good impression and show that you are eager and reliable. Make a point of showing up every day and plan on working a full day as indicated by the supervisor. When you excel at your job and get your tasks completed on time, management will be confident that they made the right choice in hiring you.

 

  1. Come prepared. Have appropriate work clothes such as steel-toed boots, gloves, a hat and a reflective vest if needed. Dress for the season….keep warm in winter and cool in summer. If it is hot, a long sleeve shirt and lightweight pants or jeans will keep the sun off and prevent sunburn. For Canadian winters, warm clothing is essential when working outside. A layering system is the best solution to stay warm and comfortable. Start with a wicking layer of clothing next to your skin to absorb moisture; the next layer should be a light insulating layer such as light fleece or thin wool. Follow with a heavier insulating layer such as heavier fleece or wool and finish with a windproof/waterproof jacket. Don’t forget to keep your hands, feet and head warm with toques or balaclavas, gloves, mitts and two layers of socks.

 

  1. Bring supplies such as water, a lunch or sunscreen. Don’t assume that the employer will provide anything and be prepared to have whatever you think you will need for the day.

 

  1. Pay attention and learn everything you can. What you learn on the job may differ from what you already know. Be open to learning different approaches as it may be beneficial in the long run. People won’t expect you to know everything so don’t be afraid to ask questions or wait to get instructions.

 

  1. Stay off your cell phone. Construction sites can be dangerous and it is essential to avoid distractions. If you need to check your phone, wait for breaks and lunch time.

 

  1. Stay focused. Construction work can be repetitive and you may be doing the same thing for hours or days at a time. Focusing on the same task may be challenging but it is a necessary part of getting a job done.

 

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