GUEST BLOG: Superior Construction Boasts Diverse Workforce for the I-65/I-70 North Split in Downtown Indianapolis

Submitted by Jennifer Hashem, public information manager, Superior Construction. (Superior Construction photo/www.superiorconstruction.com)

Superior Construction, the contractor selected by the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) for a nearly $320 million dollar infrastructure project that will reconstruct the I-65/I-70 North Split in downtown Indianapolis, has spent the last nine months organizing the most diverse team in its Midwest business unit’s history since securing the project last spring.

The North Split project team, which humbly began with only seven individuals, required an additional fifty roles for its success, ranging from controls and quality to roadways and structures. The sprint to fill these positions with the right talent was no easy feat, not to mention the added layer of a global pandemic.

“We knew that even with the challenges the coronavirus presented us with, we still needed authentic leaders and learners that brought a wealth of experiences along with them to take this project, and Superior, to new heights,” said Tim Johnson, chief operating officer for Superior.

Despite the obstacles the summer months brought them, Johnson and other senior level leaders still managed to tap into their networks, lean on industry recruiters, and attend virtual career fairs to interview more than 200 potential candidates.

The search for those leaders and learners presented Superior with a team that now boasts over 55 full-time employees that represent various skillsets, work experiences, and countries, including representation from Nepal, Nigeria, Colombia, Zimbabwe, Egypt, India, and South Korea. The construction industry, which has historically been comprised of middle-aged, white males, has seen a great shift and push for a more diverse, inclusive workforce.

“Diversity isn’t just a checkbox for us, it’s a critical function of how we conduct our business and encourage teammates to feel welcome, safe, and empowered to use their backgrounds to elevate our company’s mission,” said Johnson. “As our recruitment continues throughout the lifespan of this project, we envision continuing to cultivate the wealth of knowledge and skills we’ve accrued to this point and expanding it to future projects. The future of Superior Construction will come out of the other end of this project.”

Aishwarya Kodnikar, who began with Superior as an intern and is now a full-time employee in the structures department on the project, shared how joining a team like the North Split has helped her better assimilate into the United States since arriving from India back in 2018.

“When you come from a different country and have to assimilate into a new culture, you want to feel like you can eventually call your new country home,” said Kodnikar. “In my time with Superior, I’ve not only gained new opportunities and knowledge for my job, but I’ve built quality relationships that have helped make my journey on this project smoother and more enjoyable.”

Learn more about Superior Construction by visiting their website at www.superiorconstruction.com. For information on the North Split project, visit www.northsplit.com.

Prohibited Telecommunications and Video Surveillance Equipment and Services


Source: INDOT email sent 09/01/2020: INDOT-Attention Contractors Effective Immediately

Contractors,
To the attention of all INDOT contracted service providers.

Effective Immediately

This clause will be added to all INDOT professional services and construction contracts so that INDOT will be in compliance with federal requirements:


Prohibited Telecommunications and Video Surveillance Equipment and Services.
In accordance with federal regulations (including 2 CFR 200.216 and 2 CFR 200.471), the Contractor is prohibited from purchasing, procuring, obtaining, using, or installing any telecommunication or video surveillance equipment, services, or systems produced by:
(A) Huawei Technologies Company or ZTE Corporation (or any subsidiary or affiliate of such entities), OR
(B) Hytera Communications Corporation, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company, or Dahua Technology Company (or any subsidiary or affiliate of such entities), for any purpose to fulfill its obligations under this Contract. The Contractor shall be responsible to ensure that any subcontractors are bound by and comply with the terms of this provision. Breach of this provision shall be considered a material breach of this Contract.


BACKGROUND: On August 13, 2018, the President signed the FY 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Section 889(b) prohibits Federal agencies, after August 13, 2020, from obligating or expending financial assistance to obtain certain telecommunications and video surveillance services and equipment from specific producers.

On January 22,2020, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that outlined revisions to 2 CFR 200, in part, to implement section 889 of the FY 2019 NDAA. Today, the Federal Register Notice issued the Final Rule and states that the amendment to 2 CFR 200.216 is effective on August 13, 2020.

The new 2 CFR 200.471 regulation provides clarity that the telecommunications and video surveillance costs associated with 2 CFR 200.216 are unallowable for services and equipment from these specific providers. OMB’s Federal Register Notice includes the new 2 CFR 200.216 and 2 CFR 200.471 regulations.

Thank you,
Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT)
100 N. Senate Ave., IGCN
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Heat Stress is Serious

Originally published on June 20, 2016

Working in a hot environment, such as a construction site, puts stress on the body’s cooling system. When heat is combined with other work stresses – like hard physical labor, loss of fluids, or fatigue – it may lead to heat-related illness, disability or even death. There are three stages to heat-related illness: heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat cramps are painful, brief muscle cramps that are brought on because the body has lost minerals through sweating. If cramping occurs, move to a cool area at once. Loosen clothing and drink cool water or an electrolyte replacement beverage. Seek medical aid if the cramps are severe, or don’t go away.

Heat exhaustion can occur after you’ve been exposed to high temperatures for several days and have become dehydrated. Symptoms include confusion, dizziness, headache, fatigue and sometimes nausea. Without proper intervention, heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke. If you experience heat exhaustion, get out of the heat immediately and rest, preferably in an air-conditioned environment. If you can’t get inside, try to find the nearest cool and shady place. Slowly drink fluids. If possible, lie down with your feet and legs slightly elevated.

Heat stroke is the most serious form of heat illness and is a medical emergency. It often occurs after heat cramps or heat exhaustion are not properly cared for. But it can strike even if you have no previous signs of heat illness.

Heat stroke can kill, or cause damage to the brain and other internal organs. Symptoms are similar to heat exhaustion, but the skin is hot and dry and breathing is deep and fast. The victim may collapse. The body is no longer able to sweat, and the body temperature rises dangerously. If you suspect that someone is a victim of heat stroke – also known as sun stroke – call 911 immediately. Move the victim to a cool area and remove excess clothing while waiting on help to arrive. Fan and spray them with cool water. Offer sips of water if the victim is conscious.

There are things you can do to prevent heat-related illnesses.

  • Drink plenty of fluids. Consider beverages that replace electrolytes. Stay away from beverages with caffeine. Caffeine contributes to dehydration.
  • Slow down in hot weather. Your body’s temperature-regulating system faces a much greater workload when the temperature and humidity are high.
  • If possible, get accustomed to the heat gradually.
  • Dress for hot weather. Light colored clothing reflects heat.
  • Get out of the heat occasionally. Take breaks in a cool, shady location.
  • Eat light, cool meals.

Download the recording form here.

Hand Sanitizer Safety

We’ve heard a lot about hand hygiene during the COVID-19 outbreak. Along with other disease prevention strategies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations you wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, use hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.

To meet Food and Drug Administration and CDC approval, hand sanitizers must be greater than 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol alcohol. This makes alcohol hand sanitizers highly flammable, and if an ignition source is present, hand sanitizer will ignite at room temperature.

Recently, a UPS distribution center in Plainfield, Indiana experienced extensive damage and loss of product when an employee ignited hand sanitizer in a semi trailer at the facility.

Everyone should exercise caution when using/applying alcohol-based hand sanitizers near potential ignition sources, like cigarette lighters.

For more info on hand sanitizer flammability and the importance of proper storage, check out this five-minute video by the National Fire Protection Association.

Respiratory Protection

Originally published 06/13/2018

Respirators protect workers against hazards such as insufficient oxygen environments, harmful dusts, fogs, smokes, mists, gases, vapors and sprays. These hazards have the potential to cause both immediate and long-term effects if not mitigated. In the workplace where respirators are used there should be a written respirator program that describes the proper procedures for selecting, fit testing, training, using, caring, cleaning, sanitizing, inspecting, record keeping, storing and operating respiratory protective equipment.

Fit Testing & Seal Check

For proper protection, a worker must ensure the respirator they are using fits and functions properly. This means the equipment must be the proper size and seals to the face.

A fit test is to be conducted by a properly trained person in fit testing to ensure the equipment is the correct size. A fit test is required before a worker uses a respirator for the first time. Fit tests may need to be performed more frequently if there has been changes to a worker’s body such as weight gain or loss, or facial changes such as dentures or broken jaw bone.

A seal check is to be performed by the worker prior to use of the respirator every time it is used. Regular seal checks are necessary to ensure that contaminated air or particles will not leak into the respirator. If it doesn’t seal properly, don’t use it.

Facial Hair & Respirators

It is critical to your personal health to ensure you have a proper seal when wearing a respirator for protection. This means that workers need to be clean shaven before their shift begins as beards, sideburns, mustaches and stubble prevent a good seal and are not permitted with respirator use. Facial hair is much larger in particulate size compared to other fibers and particles you are trying to protect yourself from, meaning you won’t be properly protected as the smaller particles such as fibers and fumes will be able to pass through.

Choosing the Right Respirator

Choosing the right respirator to protect workers from airborne contaminants is essential. They may not protect from all contaminants as different contaminants require different protection. There are limitations for each type of respirator, and you must be familiar with them prior to using them.

Types of Respirators

  • Disposable particulate respirators provide minimum protection and are typically used to protect against nuisance dusts and fumes.
  • Full mask and half mask air purifying respirators are cartridges and particulate filters. Air purifying respirators only work if you use the right cartridge and/or filter for the specific contaminant. Mechanical filters will block solid particles, while chemical filters soak up substances.
  • Supplied air respirators can come in a variety of forms such as self-contained breathing apparatuses, air hoods, full body suits, and airlines or work packs.

The Key to Respiratory Safety

You must recognize that the airborne hazards exist through pre-job planning. It’s vital to recognize all the chemicals, materials and hazards you may be exposed to, as well as conducting frequent hazard assessments and workplace inspections to help identify and control those hazards.

Download a recording form here.