Blog

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

 

The Process Behind the Walterdale Bridge Project

 

The construction of the Walterdale Bridge has gone through many ups and downs in addition to unexpected delays. Construction began in 2013 and was scheduled to be finished by the fall of 2015. The project was complex and several challenges delayed the opening of the bridge by two years. A brief look at the project from beginning to end gives an overview of the obstacles that were encountered.

 

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2013

In river berm construction was completed in March. Queen Elizabeth Park Road closed to traffic on July 15 and in August, heavy equipment was used to create new slope grades. Drainage pipes and utility relocations were installed. By September, grading and drainage were completed and 40 sheet pilings were installed on the south side of the river; nine drilled concrete piles were installed on the north side. Queen Elizabeth Park road re-opened for traffic on October 1 and in December, sheet pilings continued to be installed.

 

2014

From February to December construction continued as scheduled. Walterdale Hill was closed until August. Pile driving was completed. Watertight cofferdams were excavated and backfilled in preparation for the construction of thrust blocks which would serve as foundations and anchors for the arches. Decorative streetlights were installed on Queen Elizabeth Park Road.

 

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2015

On April 8, the city announced the scheduled opening date was pushed back one year from fall 2015 to fall 2016. Delays were related to problems with the contractor’s scheduling. 42 steel arch structures were held up by the manufacturer in South Korea. As a result of the delays, the contractor faced penalties that started at $10,000 and increased to $17,000 per day by November. The first shipment of arch steel arrived in mid January. By October all the steel arches were on site and the North Saskatchewan River was dredged to prepare for the arches to be floated across the river.

 

2016

In January the first of two major arch lifts took place and by April, the second arch lift was installed. Construction started on the bridge deck in July. The connection from river edge to river edge was finally completed and stringers held the bridge deck in place. Concrete, asphalt and waterproofing work could not be completed before the onset of winter and further delays occurred. Work was scheduled to resume the following spring.

 

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2017

Pieces of the shared use path began arriving on site in April. Installation and welding of sections were completed first and deck and railing work followed. On September 17 two of the three lanes of the bridge were opened to traffic. Crews continue to work on the north side of the bridge but some work could not be completed until the old Walterdale Bridge was officially closed.

 

 

The completion of the Walterdale Bridge was a challenging project but the city now has a unique signature bridge that will be able to stand the test of time. The new Walterdale Bridge will require less maintenance than the old steel deck bridge which required constant repairs due to welds breaking.

 

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What is your opinion on the Walterdale Project? Mixed emotions? We would love to hear what you think!

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Disputes on the construction site are common. Disagreements and differences of opinion can occur between contractors, owners, and employees when goals, timeframes and budgets are shared between all parties. There are some approaches and skills that can minimize conflicts on any construction site.

 

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1. Recognize there is a problem

It’s tempting to let conflicts resolve themselves, but choosing this approach usually means that the situation becomes worse over time. Small issues can quickly become big problems. Addressing conflict directly and working towards resolution will ensure that the project stays on task and lingering issues have a lesser chance of affecting long-term goals. Remember that conflict can lead to growth and change. New challenges can inspire creative ideas and solutions and can be a positive stimulus for an organization.

 

2. Get to the root of the problem Recognize there is a problem

A conflict between one or more parties can create problems for everyone working on a project. Misunderstandings are common and it is important to give everyone a chance to air their grievances. It then becomes easier to clarify underlying issues and uncover the root of the problem. Previous experiences, personality clashes, personal problems and points of principle can be underlying factors in a conflict and can affect personal and business interactions. Listen attentively to all parties and assess all opinions before deciding on a solution that meets everyone’s needs.

 

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3. Be objective and willing to compromise

Approaching conflict from an objective perspective helps to direct focus onto the overall project goals rather than being influenced by individual points of view. Conflicts can become emotional and can escalate quickly when tempers flare. Opposing parties generally feel passionate about their opinions, and thoseideas can become more important than the overall project goals. It's not a matter of one party being right and the other wrong; compromise, cooperation, and collaboration are necessary components of creating a beneficial solution for everyone. Compromise often creates a win and lose agreement which gives all parties a bit of what they wanted, but not the entire outcome they had hoped for. Give those involved in the conflict an opportunity to express their opinions and without an overload of emotional input, find a workable solution for everyone. The negotiation process involves give and take in order to reach a mutual agreement.

 

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4. Communicate clearly

One of the greatest skills that can assist in successful conflict resolution is effective communication. Active listening, assertive (not aggressive) behavior, empathy, accountability, and creativity are all aspects of effective communication skills. Be clear about expectations and “non-negotiables”. For example, discussing points that have been identified by building or safety standards are not

areas that should be open to dispute. Once a resolution has been reached, identify what issues may still exist. Provide detailed explanations for decisions that have been reached and ensure that all parties understand why the decisions were made. Follow up with all parties after the conflict has been resolved and remember that resolution does not necessarily mean a win-win situation for everyone. Be consistent with all communication and be proactive in identifying and addressing issues which may arise in the future.

 

 

Have you had any experience dealing with conflict? We want to hear your opinion! 

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Taurus prides itself on its ability to offer professional and quality services. With a team of approximately 500 skilled professionals, we are flexible and competent in responding to a wide variety of projects. In addition to our head office in Fort Saskatchewan, we have offices in Calgary, Fort McMurray and Saskatchewan. Following core values of accountability and commitment to clients, Taurus is a company that is focused on accomplishment and excellence in every facet of our business. Here are a few of the varied services Taurus offers.

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Common Services

Working in the private and public sector, Taurus is capable of adapting to the needs of any project. From furniture assembly and office setups to general maintenance, we are skilled in areas such as:

  • Scaffolding setup and takedown

  • Construction of stairs, railings, sidewalks, barricades and storage sheds

  • Concrete cribbing and placement

  • 24-hour snow removal and site sanding

  • Rail-spur maintenance

  • Roadside assistance services, maintenance, fueling and washing of all-site equipment

  • Temporary water, air, gas and sewage installation

 

Parking Roads and Laydown

As specialists in road construction, Taurus has expanded from traditional road and pavement building into civil engineering, groundworks and infrastructure. No project is too big or too small.

 

Ground and Site Clearing

Providing services such as erosion control, ditch forming, regrading, granular surfacing or removal of organic fill, Taurus excels in all aspects of site preparation.

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Environmental Remediation and Survey Testing

Dedicated to protecting the environment, projects are assessed by trained and qualified personnel. Every detail of a project is completed with a focus on avoiding any negative impact to the environment. Survey testing involves such things as soil compaction testing, site surveying and utility location services, hydro testing and temporary utility services maintenance.



Material Handling

We have specialized equipment and innovative technology which can meet the needs of any sized business.  Our services such as supplying manpower and speciality equipment, packing and hauling sea containers and preventative maintenance all meet industry standards and are focused on having a low impact on the environment.

Electrical and Mechanical

From high voltage maintenance to connection of power, security, telephone, Internet, gas, water and sewage, Taurus can accommodate the electrical and mechanical needs of any project.

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Safety Services

Taurus places a high value on safety and can construct safety packages suited to each individual project. We are affiliated with CSO (Construction Safety Officers) and CRSP (Canadian Registered Safety Professionals). Our award-winning team is committed to the core values of accountability, quality services and commitment. Each job is assessed and completed with attention to the needs and safety of workers, the environment, and the community.

By investing in our clients and maintaining high standards, Taurus has become one of the most knowledgeable and trusted organizations in the construction industry. Please contact us for a full list of our services.

 

www.taurusprojects.ca



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Technology advances have been quite rapid and the construction industry is embracing many new trends. With the promise of more efficient, safer and cost-effective builds, companies that do not embrace new technologies are at risk of falling behind. The face of construction is changing all over the world and here are a few of the ways in which the changes are being implemented.

 

1. The Internet of Things

Technology can change the landscape of the building site. Wearables, drone surveying, and equipment have built-in technology that help managers cut costs and improve site operations. Decisions will be made based on real-time information whicontributesute to fewer mistakes made and better efficiency.

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2. Virtual and Augmented Reality Technology

VR and AR allows construction teams to detect errors ahead of time. Worksite safety can be improved as managers and workers are able to view job conditions without being exposed to safety hazards. When combined, VR and AR technology can create a collaboration between project stakeholders before building begins.

 

3. Cloud Computing

Although the cloud is not new to industry tech trends, it can have a big impact on the construction industry. Storage and computing resources can be accessed by smartphones, tablets, etc. which makes it easy for workers, contractors, and clients to access design, permits and other documents. Information sharing has become more streamlined and gives workers in the field immediate access to pertinent information.

 

4. Thermal Imaging

Companies no longer need to rely on thermal imaging cameras as apps can now be purchased for smartphones. With thermal imaging technology, builders can locate moisture to pinpoint water leaks, identify electrical hot spots, diagnose air and roof leaks and plumbing clogs as well as identify structural defects.

5. Construction Exoskeletons

Designed to reduce the stress and strain of lifting heavy tools, exoskeletons help to ease the burden on workers. Unpowered exoskeletons use counterweights, metal tubing, and a harness to transfer the weight of a heavy tool into the ground.

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6. Detailed 3D Modeling

Building Information Modeling is mostly associated with the design process, however, it can also be used before, after and during construction. The BIM model provides every aspect of a building by linking information such as photos, specifications or manuals which allows plans to be created quicker and within budget.

 

7. Prefabrication

In use for many years in the construction industry, new technologies and construction practices are making prefabrication more beneficial. Due to building information modeling, it is now possible to use prefabrication on larger and more complex projects. Work can be started offsite which contributes to a shorter construction schedule and creates cost savings. Weather does not have to be a factor when modules can be fabricated within factories or off-site.

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8. Energy Saving Buildings

Energy saving building design and construction helps businesses to save energy and cut costs. With access to information provided through technology, construction teams can collaborate to design and create environmentally friendly buildings. By using energy efficient materials and technology, buildings can be up to 70% more energy efficient.

 

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Despite the economic slump in Alberta, many construction projects are still moving forward. Here are a few interesting projects that have been recently completed or are close to being operational.

 

1. Waterfront Trails, Sturgeon County

The federal and provincial governments were involved in the River Valley Alliance Capital Plan, a project focused on enhancing and improving public access to the North Saskatchewan River and river valley through the completion of multi-use trails. Thanks to the plan, more than 19 kilometers of primary and secondary trails now link Sturgeon County to Edmonton through the Lamoureux Trail and the Fort Augustus Trail.

 

2. Fort Hills Project, Fort Hills

Located 90 kilometers north of Fort McMurray, this sands mining project is operated by Suncor. The utilities plant is the final area to be completed and will be the last step in construction before production begins. 5,000 construction workers were employed during peak construction and approximately 1,600 permanent positions will be available when the mine and bitumen facility becomes fully operational. The project is 90% complete and when completed, will be able to process 110 million tonnes of oil sand per year yielding an average of 194,000 barrels of bitumen per day at full production. It is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2017.

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3.12th Street S.E. Bridge Replacement, Calgary

The 12th Street Bridge spans the Bow River on the side of St. George’s Island. Due to its deteriorated condition, the bridge was in need of replacement. Originally constructed in 1908, the bridge was originally designed for horse and buggy traffic as well as pedestrians. The bridge deck has been completed and work will continue on roads leading to the bridge on the north and south sides. The new bridge was built 2.5 meters higher than the old bridge and as a result, roadways need to be built higher to meet the new bridge deck. The budget for the overall project was approximately $20 million.

 

4. Alberta Railway Terminal, Lamont

Construction of the $34 million project began in August 2016. Located in Lamont, the site provides great access between Edmonton and Winnipeg. The unique positioning of the terminal allows it to provide rail services to industries which need access to the world market; having a connection with both CP Rail and CN Rail certainly adds to the flexibility and appeal of the terminal. The service should be ready by October and offers sixteen storage yard tracks and five operating tracks.

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5. Ivor Dent School, Edmonton

Located in the Rundle area of Edmonton, the replacement project was approved for funding in 2014. The project involved consolidating three existing schools: Rundle, R.J. Scott and Lawton Jr. High. By replacing schools that were underutilized, the innovative idea was geared towards building a school that provided education for Kindergarten through to Grade 12. Located at 11005 - 34 Street, the cost for the project was approximately $25 million.

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Wearable technology is becoming more common on job sites. In addition to personal protective equipment like hard hats, gloves, safety vests and work boots, construction wearables are now including biometric and environmental sensors, GPS trackers, Wi-Fi, voltage detectors and other technology that alerts workers to potential hazards.

Preventing Injuries

Creating the right environment on site is an essential component of a company’s success. The new field of wearables allows companies to provide safety for employees working in high risk areas. The capabilities of the various technologies can alert workers to dangerous situations; the risk could be as simple as identifying a ladder that is too far for a worker to reach, to reminding workers to use safety harnesses when they are working on scaffolds. These kind of reminders and alerts contribute to a decrease in injuries on site.

 

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Utilizing wearables creates a safety check for individual works and also helps to support teams. If one team member takes a risk, the rest of the team may also be exposed to risks. Wearables ensure that every employee is protected and the responsibility for safety is in the hands of each worker.

 

Equipment

In addition to preventing injuries, data from wearables can transfer information. Hard hats are being designed with special visors that allow project supervisors to access information from them. It is now possible to view changes occurring on a project rather than guessing what the results will be. Some hard hats with specialized visors can support 300 degree cameras and 3D imaging. The new hard hats are also capable of sending medical data that can inform a project manager if a worker is in danger of suffering from a medical episode.

 

Working at night or in the dark is unsafe as many accidents and injuries occur when visibility becomes an issue. The new Halo Light wraps around hard hats and provides light in all directions allowing workers to see and be seen for up to a quarter of a mile.The light contains a rechargeable battery which lasts up to twelve hours.

 

Safety vests are being designed with built in GPS badges that alert employees when they are entering a pre-defined danger zone. With employees constantly on the move on the job site, managers can identify potential issues and inefficiencies that contribute to optimal time management.

 

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Safety glasses are now coming equipped with a camera that is wired to the internet which provides real time feedback. What is viewed by the worker on the site is communicated back to the manager. Communication becomes instantaneous and problems can be dealt with quickly and efficiently.

 

Although not specifically designed for the construction industry, the Myo wristband can be extremely beneficial on the job site. When a worker attaches the wristband to their arm, it can be used in conjunction with other technology (such as smart glasses) to communicate with co-workers, take pictures and mark off completed task lists.

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The challenge of keeping a project on schedule is a common problem within the construction industry. Factors such as weather, funding and labour and material shortages are areas that can be out of your control, however there are some ideas and suggestions that can contribute to keeping a project on time and on task.

 

1. Identify Delays and Blockers

A delay can occur when things don’t go according to plan. Many delays are unavoidable; bad weather is a good example of a delay that no one has any control over. Blockers differ in that they involve tasks that must be completed before other tasks can be started. Careful planning is essential in identifying possible delays and blockers in order to be aware of obstacles that may be likely to impact the timeline.

 

2. Overbooking the Crew

A manager who knows his or her crew’s capabilities can contribute to keeping a project on task. If too many projects are scheduled the crew is forced to rush to get everything done. The end result is that all of the projects end up being behind schedule. An informed and involved manager ensure these types of delays are avoided by being aware of realistic goals and timelines.

 

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3. Keeping the Crew on Task

Hand in hand with knowing the capabilities of their crew, a manager also keep the crew on schedule. The amount of waste time that occurs on job sites causes projects to fall behind. Even a small amount of time per day adds up and can create delays in schedules. Keeping the crew focused and on task is an important part of effective time management. The schedule should be reviewed frequently so that potential delays are identified and corrective actions can be put in place. Managers should also set aside specific times for contacting subcontractors, reviewing work and ordering materials.

 

4. Assign Clear Roles and Responsibilities

Construction projects involve many types of personnel. From managers to employees, it is important that each party’s responsibilities are established. Identifying accountability is part of setting an effective project plan and timeline. It’s not simply what needs to be done that is a priority, it’s who will be responsible for doing it and when.


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5. Schedule Contractors in Advance

Determine what contractors will be needed well ahead of time so that appointments can be made in advance. Architects, designers and other contractors are busy with other projects and it may take a long time to get quotes for their services. This is an important point to consider when creating a timeline and plan for a project.  Make sure you give yourself plenty of lead time and be prepared for each step of the process.

 

6. Maintain Clear Communication

Poor communication between parties can create big delays on a project. Problems must be identified, assessed and communicated between various parties to find a quick resolution. Everyone on board should have a clear idea when building activities are occurring and what the timeline is for completion of the project. By utilizing tablets, smartphones and construction software, communication can be improved substantially throughout the construction process.

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Lean construction is a method of production that is aimed at reducing materials, time and effort. In essence, it’s a method based on the philosophy that less is more. The outcome is geared towards maximizing the value and output of a project while minimizing wasteful aspects and time delays.There is no cookie cutter approach to lean construction, however there are a number of principles that can be implemented to achieve the desired results.

 

How It’s Different

To implement the practice of lean construction, it’s important to understand how it differs from standard construction practice. One of the primary differences is that every aspect of the construction process is aimed at maximizing performance for the customer. Current standard construction practices are generally aimed at mass production and the outcomes are usually less predictable. Lean construction operates like a well oiled machine when implemented properly and employees, distributors and managers can work cohesively throughout the entire project. Every job is allocated to a specific group which encourages all parties to work as one.

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How to Integrate it Into Your Business

Companies must first look at the process of the project and correlate it to the customer’s input and ideas. Lean construction philosophy believes that it is essential to align the vision of the project with the customer’s so that all waste can be eliminated. Factors such as overproduction, excessive inventory, defects and incorrect processing are all examples of things which are not of value to the customer. To integrate the process simple steps can be followed:

  • Before the project begins, establish a plan of action

  • Identify and measure the causes of waste by research and communication between groups

  • Each project differs, but when problems or unpredictability occurs, deal with it quickly to correct the issue

Benefits

The benefits of lean construction are numerous:

  • Using fewer materials reduces waste and costs

  • With careful planning, construction time is reduced

  • Focus and understanding increases safety and there are fewer job site accidents

  • Schedules are more predictable and reliable

  • Productivity, profits and customer satisfaction are increased

  • Workers experience increased job performance and decreased levels of stress

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Drawbacks

The overall goals of lean construction are beneficial, however there are some drawbacks:

  • In order to be effective in all areas of management the workers must diligently follow the plan. If there is a break in the plan, it cannot work.

  • Change may be difficult for management, workers and distributors

  • Management must be able to guide the workers efficiently

  • Training and education takes time and dedication

  • Cohesive teamwork is essential

  • Suppliers and distributors have to be notified of all changes and have a clear understanding of the goals and projected outcomes

Opportunities for Improvement

The ability to improve processes and eliminate waste is the core belief of the lean construction philosophy. Opportunities for improvement can be identified and subsequently applied to future projects. When projects are on time, on budget and have a high degree of satisfaction everyone benefits from the lean approach.

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Technology is advancing and there are now some great software apps available to help with construction management. In the past, the construction industry was slow to adopt technology partly due to the complexity of the industry. Apps are now becoming more common because of their ability to contribute to the efficiency of a project.

 

1. Big Blue Pixel - Photo Measures

With this app, contractors can work with remote clients by accessing photos taken to obtain exact measurements and dimensions. It ensures that all items fit perfectly in any given location.

www.bigbluepixel.com

 

2. Clock Shark

Preparing time sheets is a thing of the past with this app; it has automated time tracking features enabled by GPS, works across multiple platforms and devices and syncs with Quick Books for payments processing.

www.clockshark.com

 

3. Magic Plan

Users of this app can come up with accurate floor plans using the camera on iPhones or iPads. It can also be adapted to Android and IOS platforms. Having the ability to create and export 3D floor views saves time and money by shortening the floor plan development process.

www.floorplanner.com

 

4. Proposify

This mobile optimized software enables the user to create professional proposals to win projects. With countless templates and customizable default settings, it gets a job done faster and facilitates better collaboration between teams.

www.proposify.biz

 

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5. Truckfast

This specialized app helps to streamline data and information received from a fleet of trucks Powered by GPS, it allows for real time information and updates for better accountability and transparency on jobs.

www.truckfast.com

 

6. Site Diary

Mobile Site Diary replaces the existing paper site diary. By using this app, a time period of one hour per day can be saved. All team members can receive synchronized information instantaneously.

www.mobilesitediary.com

 

7. Fieldwire

The entire field team from contractors to foremen can stay connected by using this app. Everyone can view drawings, blueprints, work schedules and task management lists while in the field.

www.fieldwire.com

 

8. Fall Safety Pro

Available for iPhones and Android devices,  the app detects falls by using a cell phone’s built in accelerometer. If the app detects a fall, an alarm alerts emergency contacts by emails, text and voice messaging while providing a location through GPS.

www.fallsafetyapp.com

 

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9. Tool Tracker

Tools and equipment are important assets to any construction business. By placing barcodes on tools and equipment and scanning the information into the app, it is possible to see which tools are being used or need maintenance. Up to 10,000 tools can be tracked and assigned to specific job sites.

www.tooltrackerapp.com

 

10. Construction Return on Investment Calculator

This app is the perfect tool to use while at the bidding stage. The calculator projects factors such as amount and timing of assets including cash use, cash coming in, and gross profit dollars. This enables the user to set an accurate bid and improve cash flow. The app is currently available through Apple.

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Canada’s construction industry has been involved with infrastructure projects and energy projects which will have a lasting impact on the lifestyle of many Canadians. With such massive growth taking place in the country, it’s good to look back at some of the projects that have been completed and are continuing to develop..

 

1. Lower Churchill Hydroelectric Project

Over 50 years ago, Newfoundland and Labrador began exploring the potential of harnessing the power of the Churchill River. A generating station was built in 1971 and in 2010, an agreement was made to go ahead with the development of a 825 MW hydro project at Muskrat Falls. The project is expected to be completed in 2019 and the projected cost is $6.2 billion.

 

2. Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station

In 2005, New Brunswick announced plans to refurbish the nuclear facility four years later. Problems with the installation of special calandria tubes during the initial phase of construction delayed the project. Issues with finances further contributed to delays but it was eventually reconnected to the grid on November 23, 2012. The final refurbishment cost was $3.3 billion.

 

3. GTA Transit Expansion

Several components are involved in the overall expansion of the transit system in Toronto; the Scarborough Crosstown LRT, the Spadina subway expansion, the Union Station revitalization and the Air Rail Link. The projects involve funding from all levels of government and total costs are projected to be $11.77 billion with final completion dates between 2020 and 2030

 

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4. Bruce A Nuclear Generating Station

Located in Kincardine, Ontario, the project involved refurbishing and carrying out major maintenance on a plant which opened in 1977 and went out of service in 1995. There are 8 units between the Bruce A and Bruce B plants. The goal is to operate all of the units until 2043. The approximate cost was $4.25 billion.

 

5. Alberta Clipper Project

Construction of an oil pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta to Superior Wisconsin is owned and operated by Enbridge. The pipeline was placed into service on April 1, 2010. Enbridge applied for an expansion in 2013 and increased service in July 2015. The cost is estimated at $2 billion.

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6. Canada Line

A 19.5 kilometer north-south rapid transit line running from Vancouver, Richmond City Centre and the Vancouver International Airport was opened on August 17, 2009. It is the third rapid transit line built in the Sky Train Metro system and provides service for approximately 137,000 people daily. The estimated cost for construction was $2 billion.

 

7. Keephills 3 Generating Plant

Located 70 kilometers west of Edmonton and 5 kilometers south of Wabaumun Lake, the project was started in 2011. Keephills 2 was completed in 2008 and involved a pilot test project of mercury control technology. Keephills 3 was built to continue the dedication to sustainable energy. It is one of Canada’s largest and cleanest coal fired facility with low CO2 emissions. The project cost approximately $1.6 billion.

 

8. Romaine Complex A Renewable Energy Project

Construction began in 2009 in Havre-Saint-Pierre, Quebec on the shores of the Riviere Romaine. It includes four hydro generating stations which increase the generating capacity of Quebec’s energy needs. Construction continues with a projected completion date of 2020. The projected cost of the project is $6.5 billion.

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9. Edmonton International Airport Expansion

The project involved expanding the Terminal building and renovating the combined office and air traffic control tower. The first phase was completed in 2009 with the building of six new gates. The living wall located in the airport is the first of any airport in North America and is a symbol of sustainable design.  Costs are estimated at $1.8 billion.

 

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10. Niagara Tunnel Project

Located in Niagara Falls, Ontario, the tunnel diverts an additional 500 cubic meters of water per second. It is the largest tunnel ever built in North America and was officially placed in service on March 21, 2013. The tunnel was bored under the City of Niagara Falls and is able to provide energy for approximately 160,000 homes. The cost is estimated at $1.6 billion; the tunnel is expected to have a 90 year life span.

 

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With city buildings becoming taller and taller, points of view vary as to which material is the best to use in the construction of these large buildings. How do steel and concrete stack up against each other and how do you choose which one is best? We’ll let you decide after looking at some of the pros and cons of each.

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Concrete

  • Concrete offers protection against debris and high winds up to 200 miles per hour. With a core typically encased in 2-foot thick concrete, it is also fairly fireproof. Cast in place concrete offers resistance to explosions on impact and can endure very high temperatures for a long period of time.

  • With the cost of construction materials increasing, concrete can be more expensive initially but the return on the investment is greater. Insurance companies recognize the benefits of the increased safety of cast-in-place reinforced concrete and companies can save up to 25% annually on the cost of property insurance.

  • Buildings made of concrete can almost always be built faster. Developers can finish jobs quickly and move onto the next project. As a general rule, on a 2-day cycle, up to 20,000 square feet can be poured per day.

  • Concrete is usually a product that can be locally sourced and can be transported to building sites easily. At the end of its life, concrete can be crushed and recycled but the recycled material cannot be used for new building construction.

  • Using concrete allows for very thick floors which create better sound insulation.

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Steel

  • One benefit of steel construction is that it is easily fireproofed with a variety of spray on or attached materials. Although steel can soften and melt at extremely high temperatures, the addition of fireproofing increases its ability to sustain greater temperatures.The added fireproofing prevents damage to surrounding materials.

  • Steel can be recycled and the majority of construction that takes place uses recycled steel. Due to its magnetic properties steel can be easily separated from other debris. The energy used to produce recycled steel is one-third less than what is required to produce steel from iron ore. Steel tends to be environmentally friendly for other reasons; there is little to no construction waste, less need for maintenance or repair and it is flexible when it is used to adapt a structure for a different use.

  • Steel has the highest strength to weight ratio of any construction material. Creating long open spaces in a design are possible. Prefabrication allows for shorter on site construction and safely allows other trades to work in structures that have just been erected. Prefabrication can also compress the steel erection portion of a project by 40-50%.

  • Steel allows for an accelerated schedule due to advancements in building information, design, detail and fabrication.

It’s evident that there are pros and cons for using either material on a construction project. Ultimately it depends on the type of project that is being built and what the plans are for future development. Making an informed choice takes planning and careful consideration!

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Statistics for 2017 indicate that some of the most in demand jobs happen to be in the construction industry. Having the right south after skills and experience in a trade increases job prospects and opportunities. According to the Canadian Construction Association, the construction sector of the Canadian economy employs 1.37 million Canadians and is responsible for nearly $119 billion in economic activity. With that in mind, here are some jobs that are presently in demand and are likely to remain so in the future.

 

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1. Electricians

Licensed electricians are highly sought after in commercial, industrial and residential areas. Entirely responsible for laying out, assembling, installing, testing and repairing electrical wiring, fixtures and control devices, an electrician’s skills are essential to every construction project. Starting a business is another option that creates the opportunity to branch out in other directions.

 

2. Hydropower Experts

Hydropower represents one of the most natural conversions of the earth’s resources into energy and creates 63% of the electrical supply in Canada. As Canada is a world leader in the hydropower industry and with an increasing demand for clean energy, more jobs will become available in this area. Jobs include mechanical, electrical, structural and civil engineering as well as a variety of trades. With more than 500 hydroelectric power plants in Canada, there is the potential for a variety of work.

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3. Miners and Oil and Gas Drillers

Despite the economic downturn, skilled miners, oil and gas drillers and other occupations related to this industry are still in demand. 6,700 wells are forecast to be drilled across Canada this year with Alberta leading the way. There is also a demand for crush proof sand that is used to help extract shale from oil and gas and more drilling rigs are being set up as a result of this cost saving process.

 

4. Health and Safety Trainers and Educators

A construction job site can be a dangerous place to work. The amount of injuries that construction workers sustain are proof of that. Having proper health and safety training for workers is a key component in maintaining a highly efficient job site. Days lost due to injuries  can compromise the successful completion of a project. Staff who are well trained about the use of equipment, proper protective clothing, safety monitoring and emergency response are a valuable asset to any organization.

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5.Construction/Project Managers

A construction manager’s duties are varied. From overseeing contractors to hiring and firing workers, a good manager has to have a wide set of skills. Creating schedules, ensuring safety standards and maintaining communication between various people on the job site is the responsibility of the manager and every company knows that the outcome of a project is directly affected by the capability of the project manager. This job will continue to be in demand as construction projects continue to increase.

 

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With the recent experience of the Ft. McMurray wildfire, it is easy to see why diligent fire safety and awareness should be critical for every job site. A wildfire can spread instantaneously and the devastation it leaves behind is tragic. Reviewing fire safety on the jobsite is critical during the summer months when the threat of fires and wildfires are high. Here are some techniques and practices to keep in mind on the job site this summer.

 

1.  Fire Safety Planning

Prior to construction, fire safety risk assessments should be completed. This will lead to the implementation of proper methods and processes which will minimize or contain potential fire hazards. Being aware of ignition sources ensures that potential hazardous waste materials are stored, disposed of and kept at a safe distance from any source of danger. Display contact numbers for fire emergency services where they are visible and can be easily accessed. After the assessment is complete, follow a regular inspection program that can be reviewed and updated as the construction/demolition progresses.

 

2. Training

Ensure that workers are trained and educated about fire safety. Having regular safety meetings or fire drills helps workers to become familiar with what procedures to follow in the event of a fire. Maintaining a clean job site free from debris, having identified access routes and making firefighting equipment accessible are the kind of information workers should be familiar with. Assign people to be fire wardens and ensure the various trades are all represented. Give instructions on what procedures to follow if an alarm is sounded and identify a meeting point where workers can gather in the event of an emergency.

 

3. Safety of Electrical Systems and Equipment

Have Journeymen electricians install and maintain all electrical systems and equipment. Faulty wiring, overloaded outlets and blown circuits are fire risks that can be identified by electricians and repaired. Using the right cords for a job and ensuring the cords don’t become tangled are simple rules to follow for any workers using equipment on a job site. Electrical equipment such as portable devices and electrical cords should be regularly maintained and inspected as part of a day to day routine. Temporary wiring can be removed when it is no longer needed.

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4. Smoking

Discarded cigarettes can easily start a fire on a job site. Combustible and flammable materials must be kept in containers for disposal. Smoking should be allowed only in designated areas and all workers can be reminded about the danger of tossing cigarette butts away carelessly. One ember can start a fire near the jobsite or can be responsible for starting a massive forest fire.

 

5. Waste Disposal

Materials such as wood, drywall, rags and paper should be disposed of in receptacles designed for construction waste. Having a pile of garbage on a site is a hazard and one spark combined with a dry, windy environment can be the right combination for a fire to start. Ensure that containers and/or storage areas have proper signage and are locked and vented.

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All great things deserve sequels. If you haven’t noticed, we’re all about safety. But it’s been awhile since we’ve shown you the other side of the coin; that is, what happens when safety goes horribly wrong, so this week, we felt it best to show you some things seen around the Internet we’ve found ourselves waving a finger or two and chuckling at. If you need a quick refresher, you can check out parts one, two, three and four here. Otherwise, commence facepalming.

 

1. Clearly, Norwegian hardhats are all the rage on European job sites everywhere.

 

 

 

2) When you need that extra little bit of height and only someone’s flat back will get you there.

 

3) Who signed off on this?



 

4) When you’re stranded with no ladders around and have to improvise.

 

5) Safety visors and hard helmets have nothing against the powerful technology of a well-cleaned Tupperware.

 

What did you think of these safety fails? Anything we forgot to include? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!  

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Taurus is a forward looking company that has excelled in the construction industry. Looking at some of our past accomplishments illustrates why we are so respected within the industry. We work hard to meet deadlines while staying within budget and their experienced personnel provide the highest quality of work. Every project receives the same level of commitment and service as Taurus prides itself on our core values of integrity, hard work, accountability experience and safety.

 

When the company started in 2006, we were providing site grading for the RV Superstore located in Sherwood Park, Alberta. In 2007, we provided underground utilities for BA Energy in Fort Saskatchewan. A year later, we partnered with Lockerbie and Hole and in 2009 we extended our services outside of Alberta when we worked on the Consumers Cooperatives Refineries in Regina, Saskatchewan. In 2012 and 2013, we partnered with Bechtel, the Northwest Redwater Partnership and SNC, Lavalin on projects ranging from common services and civil works to yard management and various field work. It was only three years ago when we completed a project for the City of Leduc installing underground utilities.

 

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Many of our projects have shaped the face of Western Canada. The Northwest Redwater Partnership is one of the most significant energy projects Alberta has seen for many years and we take pride in our contribution to bettering the community for future generations. One of our more recent projects was the Eastern Alberta Transmission Line. The $1.8 billion project saw the installation of the first long distance HVDC lines in Canada to be completed since 1986. Taurus was involved in unloading and reloading materials in three separate yards that spanned 485 kilometers; we met and exceeded those goals despite battling challenges such as ground conditions and weather and environmental guidelines. Some additional partnerships that Taurus has been involved with include: the County of Whitecourt, ATCO Electric, Shell Canada, Jacobs Industrial Services, McAsphalt Industries Limited, Air Products Canada Ltd., International Union of Operating Engineers, Horton CBI, Bantrel Canada Co. and TWD Technologies.

 

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During our years of operation, we have received several awards including Manufacture/Industry of the Year and Heavy Civil Contractor of the Year. We have also been shortlisted for Canada’s Safest Employer. Placing a high value on the health and safety of our clients, employees, subcontractors and visitors, we work to integrate health, safety and environmental considerations into all decisions we make. In addition, Taurus ensures that all the work we complete complies with all applicable safety, health, security and environmental laws and regulations. Working directly with customers, contractors and suppliers all of the HSE standards are achieved. Risks such as driving, working with pressure, working at heights, working with electricity and hazardous chemicals are all assessed and appropriate safe practices are implemented and adhered to. This attention to detail has helped to make Taurus a company that can be respected and trusted as a leader in their field.

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Creating and submitting a good resume is an important step in getting hired. There are key points that pertain to working in the construction industry that will get a reader’s attention. General knowledge, dedication, interest in labour work and physical abilities are all points that can be included in a resume. Here are some other points to consider when crafting the perfect resume for the construction industry.

 

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Use a Format

 

Divide your resume into sections. The format does not really have any effect on the strength of the resume, however it provides a structure that addresses all the necessary information. The person reading the resume will be able to find information quickly and easily. These four headings will give an overall view of your experience and credentials.

 

  • Objective: The first heading shows why you are applying for the position. Educate yourself about the job requirements and state why you are a good candidate for the job. Focus on what you can give the company, not what the company can do for you. You need to convince the manager that you have what it takes to work in the position you are applying for.

  • Core Competence: The second heading gives you the opportunity to show who you are. Expand on any knowledge, skills, abilities, talents and experiences that will explain why you are right for the job.

  • Work Experience: The third heading is pretty straightforward; state responsibilities and duties you have performed in previous jobs and outline your work history. The content of this section should give the employer the understanding that you have the experience to get the job done.

  • Professional Qualifications: The final heading will provide information about your credentials. List educational qualifications and all construction-related training programs.

 

Entry Level or Experienced?

 

If you do not have a lot of construction experience, you will be gearing your resume towards an entry level position. Describe your work abilities and use phrases such as “fast learner” or “pays attention to detail.” Use keywords such as “general labour” or “construction labour” so that the manager will know that you are willing to do jobs that do not require specific skills. There are many jobs on a construction site such as cleaning or unloading trucks that can give you a start in the industry. List things such as voluntary experience or showcase things such as math skills or the ability to work with people.

 

An experienced professional resume should contain a number of different jobs performed and all specialized training or certifications. List points such as qualifications with organizations such as OSHA or unions that are trade specific. The intent is to get hired to a specific job that either utilizes your skills or gives you the opportunity to acquire new skills.

 

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Be truthful about your background and skills. Filling in gaps to make a resume look better can be challenged if a background check is completed and brings your resume into question. A well written, concise and visually appealing resume geared towards the job’s requirements will get noticed. There is no need to embellish the facts; an honest, straightforward approach is always the best.

 

Some sites to consider if you are looking for a construction job:

 

www.workopolis.com

www.monster.ca

https://alis.alberta.ca

https://ca.indeed.com

 

 

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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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