Sunday, May 18, 2008

The following article from the Sacrimento Bee again shows the value of contractors and Cal OSHA working together to solve safe methods of using a very dangerous, but very important tool on construction sites including House Builders, Commercial or Industrial Builders to complete their work in a timely, Horse Sense way.

Nail gun 'e-tools' in works

Workplace safety officials and builders plan to use the Web in drive to halt construction accidents.

By Andrew McIntosh -

Published 12:00 am PDT Saturday, May 17, 2008
Story appeared in MAIN NEWS section, Page A3

LIVERMORE – State workplace safety officials and leading home builders and contractors are turning to a different kind of tool – the Web – to counter the growing nail gun injury problem in California's construction trade.

Cal-OSHA officials and builders have agreed to collect and Web-publish information about the hazards of nail guns this summer. Their goal: get companies to use the materials to offer better training to their workers and reduce accidents.

"We need to share what works and why," said Michael C. Alvarez, a Sacramento-based regional manager for Cal-OSHA's safety consultation service. "Yes, there's the accidents, but what can we do and learn from each other to improve the situation?"

Cal-OSHA's plan to create a set of nail gun "e-tools" emerged during a recent builders' conference organized at Shea Homes' Northern California headquarters in response to The Bee's nail gun hazards investigation published last month.

The story reported that the most dangerous tools had an automatic firing system called a "contact trip" and that Cal-OSHA's past efforts to push for safer alternatives were derailed by industry groups.

Alvarez emphasized that Cal-OSHA's consultation service will develop nail gun safety materials as part of its mission to help companies adopt safer work methods.

Cal-OSHA already has similar e-tools for ladder safety, lifting heavy objects and management of heat stress. Existing e-tools are free and offer a mix of videos, tip sheets and booklets that can be downloaded or printed, and audio slide shows. Some offer pictures for workers who can't read.

At the nail gun safety conference, leading safety managers joined foremen and superintendents to discuss efforts to curb nail gun injuries, while sharing safety advice and documents.

Jack Connors, a regional safety manager for home builder Toll Brothers, said some construction bosses assume that because anyone can buy nail guns at Home Depot, they are not a specialized tool.

Ozvaldo Padilla, a Sheehan Construction foreman, agreed, saying builders might consider adopting their own requirements for air-fired nail gun users.

Padilla said the state already requires training and certification for people who operate gunpowder-fired nail guns, which blast nails into steel and concrete, and injuries are much rarer.

Alvarez said that because construction companies have liability for all accidents at their sites, they cannot accept workers' assurances that they know how to safely use nail guns. They must be trained and monitored, he said.

But Guy Sandahl, safety director at Select Build, said home builders set production schedules so tight, it can be challenging to emphasize safety.

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