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7 Tips For Productivity While Working From Home!

7 Tips For Productivity While Working From Home!

For many people, working from home for an extended period of time is a new experience. This major adjustment may bring different challenges such as difficulty focusing and determining how to best adjust to a new work setting. Here are some tips for ways to stay productive and get the most out of your workday:

  1. Have a separate space for work from your personal space– While everyone’s home arrangements are different, it is vital to productivity to have a separate workspace. Some people are lucky to have their own office or study room. Even if it’s a desk in your room or a table in another area of the house, find that private space that you can be focused and have uninterrupted time, away from your family or other distractions.
  2. Set regular hours and stick to that schedule- Following as similar a schedule you can to the schedule you had prepandemic will provide a sense of continuity and help you find your groove.
  3. Keep your work area tidy and not cluttered to help stay focused- Studies show working in an organized environment raises productivity and that a messy desk “undermines people’s persistence in completing tasks.”
  4. Stay in communication with your team/other workers- Communicating with your team and making sure everyone is on the same page just as you would in the office is essential for operations to continue to run smoothly. Furthermore, going from the typical office day with team meetings, to working from home can get a little lonely, especially when you are boosts productivity and hold team members accountable for their share of the workload.
  5. Set boundaries for those around you- Communicate to those you live with when you’re working so they do not add unnecessary distractions. Even something as simple as implementing a knock on the door rule or “call me if you really need me,” can make a huge difference.
  6. When you’re done, log off for the day and make sure you maintain a work life balance- It is too easy to keep working after you’re supposed to be done for the day when working from home. However, to stay sane and ensure you don’t get burned out quickly, know when to stop. While there are some days you may need to work later than usual, don’t let this become a regular thing.
  7. Maintain healthy habits – Now is the perfect time to set and maintain healthy lifestyle habits. Despite gyms, pools, and other public workout settings being closed, it is important to still get some exercise to destress during these trying times. Take a walk or bike ride around the neighborhood, or even find a free online class you can stream and do from home. Eating balanced, nutritious meals increases productivity and makes you feel good doing it. Lastly, ensure you’re getting a full eight hours of sleep a night to reset and optimize efficiency the next workday.

While working from home definitely requires an adjustment phase, following these tips will help you boost and maintain productivity!

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Why PavePro is the Safest Asphalt Remover for your Crew

Why PavePro is the Safest Asphalt Remover for your Crew

When evaluating asphalt cleaners and removers, flash point is an important consideration for safety. The flash point of a material is the lowest temperature at which vapors of the material will ignite when given an ignition source. In the paving industry, diesel fuel and citrus solvents are commonly used to clean asphalt; however, these are among the most dangerous in terms of flammability. Flash point is directly related to flammability and therefore worker safety.

Explosions at asphalt plants are well-documented hazards, with one taking place in Leesburg, Florida this past April. From the production of asphalt to the lay-down site, the material itself is extremely hot. Introducing a release agent with the tendency to ignite is a dangerous combination. The flash point of diesel fuel is around 125 degrees Fahrenheit. The flash point of most citrus-based solvents hovers between 110-120 degrees Fahrenheit. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) required all substances with a flash point lower than 140 degrees Fahrenheit to be handled with extra caution and often require extra transportation fees for such materials. Allowing cleaners with flash points lower than 140 degrees on your construction site poses unnecessary hazards to both workers and surrounding civilians.

Flash point is also used as one of four criteria for determining whether a substance is labeled by the EPA as a RCRA Hazardous Waste. A material only has to meet one criterion to receive “RCRA Hazardous Waste” distinction. Any asphalt cleaner with a flash point below 140 degrees Fahrenheit is considered a RCRA Hazardous Waste. This means the EPA classifies the material as dangerous or potentially harmful to human health or the environment. All RCRA hazardous wastes have specific disposal instructions. Since many asphalt release agents are used freely at shops, laydown sites, and asphalt plants, using a RCRA hazardous waste is both unsafe and expensive.

PavePro was developed specifically to replace the use of diesel fuel and citrus products for cleaning asphalt off of tools and equipment. PavePro has a flash point well over 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Not only is it much safer to use in asphalt operations, it is also more effective as it lasts longer and works harder than diesel fuel or citrus cleaners. PavePro is not a RCRA or DOT hazardous material and is significantly safer to use in the field, as well as cheaper since it does not need to be disposed of after use. Additionally, PavePro leaves behind a slick-oily film that will not easily evaporate, making it a highly effective asphalt cleaner with long-lasting release qualities.

Compare PavePro to the asphalt cleaner you’re using today and experience the PavePro difference! 

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Cut the Cost of Fatigue with Smarter Solutions

Cut the Cost of Fatigue with Smarter Solutions

Did you know that a single fatigued employee costs a construction company at least $3,500 a year in decreased productivity? 94% of construction workers report that they feel the impact of fatigue while on the job. Furthermore, 100% of construction workers report having at least one risk factor for fatigue. Risk factors include:

  • Physically demanding labor
  • Extended shifts (10 or more hours long)
  • Irregular shift times
  • Working 50 or more hours a week
  • Being in constant communication with other crew members
  • Having less than 12 hours in between shifts

A study was conducted by the National Safety Council in 2018 examining how big a factor working fatigued truly is. These alarming statistics listed above illustrate the fact that construction workers are at great risk of compromising their safety due to fatigue wearing on the body throughout the workday. The National Safety Council recommends various remedies to combat fatigue, such as proper shift scheduling practices and sleep education, but there are other ways to help eliminate this plague in the construction industry besides these.

Ultimately, having workers use products that save time, money, and effort cut down on worker fatigue and safety-related incidents.

Solutions

Paving

In the paving industry, the amount of time spent halting operations to remove built up asphalt throughout the day is staggering. It is unrealistic to expect end of day cleanup to be performed perfectly each day by already fatigued workers who just want to get home. Naturally, corners will be cut, causing equipment and machinery to break down and fail.  

PavePro Green is an asphalt remover that eliminates hardened asphalt five times better than competitors such as diesel fuel and citrus products. It possesses release qualities that leave behind a slick, oily substance preventing asphalt from building up overtime. With a flashpoint above 200° F, PavePro stays on equipment and tools longer, preventing the asphalt from building right back up. PavePro’s unparalleled level of cleaning power and unique release qualities save pavers time throughout the day and especially at the end of the day. Simply spraying PavePro on the equipment and letting it sit overnight will completely remove all dried asphalt. Using PavePro cuts down on worker fatigue and preserves the integrity of your paving machinery. PavePro is by far the most efficient solution, saving money in worker productivity and equipment maintenance/replacement overtime.

Silica Dust Suppression

After OSHA released the Table 1 silica dust rule in October of 2017, companies started implementing engineering controls such as water delivery and vacuum systems, in attempts to bring the respirable silica dust below the permissible exposure limit. However, these methods require a larger amount of effort be put forth, causing fatigued workers and decreased productivity.

Vacuums need the dust to be emptied regularly, causing operations to be stopped in order to properly dispose of the harmful particles. It is important to note however that emptying the vacuum bags puts the worker at high risk of silica exposure, as there is no measure for controlling dust during the process. OSHA has agreed that water-based suppression is a more effective than vacuums. However, the amount of water alone needed to truly keep the amount of silica dust in the acceptable range is double the amount typically sprayed, creating slurry. We all know this decreases efficiency and increases workload, wasting time and energy that could be allocated elsewhere.

NeSilex, a silica dust suppressant that is added to water tanks, reduces the amount of water needed to properly suppress silica dust by chemically changing the composition of the water droplets, making them attract the dust as opposed to repelling it. This chemical change allows the amount of water sprayed to be drastically reduced. Reduction in water increases efficiency of operations, cutting down the amount of times workers need to stop and refill the water tanks. NeSilex is extremely easy to use and requires no mixing or cleaning. Save money and effort by cutting down on the amount of water used and time wasted each day with NeSilex.

Conclusion

Fatigue on the job doesn’t have to be a given for construction workers. Fatigued workers ultimately take away from your bottom line and put companies at risk of work-related safety incidents. Choosing more effective options, such as PavePro and NeSilex, for your operations is the smarter solution in the short AND long term. Cut down on fatigue, save money, and make your company a safer and more satisfying place for road construction and maintenance workers.

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Safety Improvements in the Construction Industry

Safety Improvements in the Construction Industry

National Construction Appreciation Week

In honor of National Construction Appreciation Week, we take a moment to celebrate the many safety improvements in the industry in recent years. At Chemtek, worker safety is one of the pillars we focus on with every solution we offer. Having worked closely with the road construction industry for years, we recognize the importance of keeping each worker safe. These workers have contributed to massive infrastructure growth throughout the country. The least we can do is provide them the best working conditions possible. Although there have been many safety regulations put in place aimed at protecting workers, this is a fairly new reality. Occupational safety was not always a priority, with quantity and speed taking precedence. It is estimated that over 14,000 construction workers were killed on the job in 1970. In 2009, there were only 4,340 despite the doubling of the U.S. work force!  

A major milestone on the road to worker safety was the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 1971. OSHA issued standards to protect workers from hazards such as asbestos exposure, fatal falls, and electrical injuries to name a few. In 2007, employers became legally obligated to pay for all Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Most recently, OSHA implemented a new standard to limit exposure to silica dust on construction sites.

While great strides in construction and worker safety have been made, there is still room for improvement. Construction workers are the backbone of this country and the United States’ growth and prosperity would not have been possible without them. Thank you to all employees in the construction industry for the hard work you put in every day!

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Sources:

1 OSHA Celebrates 40 years of accomplishments in the Workplace. OSHA. https://www.osha.gov/osha40/OSHATimeline.pdf. Published 2010. Accessed September 11, 2019.

2 Safety Timeline. Occupational Health & Safety. https://ohsonline.com/Articles/2007/01/01/Safety-Timeline.aspx?Page=5. Published January 1, 2007. Accessed September 11, 2019.

3 Durisko, Jamie. The History of Safety in a Construction Environment. Ving! https://blog.vingapp.com/corporate/the-history-of-safety-in-a-construction-environment. Published October 18, 2017. Accessed September 11, 2019.

4 President Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Federal Role in Highway Safety. U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/safety02.cfm#c. Publishing date Not Available. Accessed September 11, 2019.

Hurricanes Cause Costly Repairs for Roads & Highways

Hurricanes Cause Costly Repairs for Roads & Highways

Did you know that in 2017, the trio of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria alone cost the government $268 billion in damages? According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), $28 billion is allocated to hurricane damage annually, with increases projected in the future. While this is an astounding figure, one of the areas with the largest portion of this budget is the Department of Transportation (DOT) for road and highway repair. An average of $4.5 billion is appropriated to the DOT alone. However, depending on the severity of the hurricane this figure could be far larger. For example, the DOT was allocated over $13 billion in supplemental funding in response to Hurricane Sandy.1 Flooding is the main cause of this significant need for infrastructure repair. Excessive rain that comes with flooding as well as storm surges wreak havoc on roads and infrastructure.

Weaker storms with less wind power intensity should not be overlooked, as they can cause just as much, if not more damage than stronger storms. Hurricanes Florence and Harvey both came ashore at Category One, but due to the urbanization of the areas in which they hit, their impacts were exacerbated. Oftentimes areas along the coast are more populated as a result of the desirable location, leading to having more paved roads and infrastructure in place.2 This removes nature’s way of helping protect us from these natural disasters. With more urbanization in coastal areas, hurricane damage costs for infrastructure will only continue to rise.2

As a company that works closely with DOTs and paving companies, our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by Hurricane Dorian, as well as those who will be working hard on rebuilding what was damaged.

Sources:

1 Potential Increases in Hurricane Damage in the United States: Implications for the Federal Budget. Congressional Budget Office. https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/114th-congress-2015-2016/reports/51518-hurricane-damage-onecol.pdf. Published June 2016. Accessed September 4, 2019.

2 Dapena, Kara. The Rising Costs of Hurricanes. The Wall Street Journal.   https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-rising-costs-of-hurricanes-1538222400. Published September 29, 2018. Accessed September 4, 2019.