Today on the Pod

Hoosier contractors have provided essential services throughout the shutdown, with workers on jobsites and in back offices. Today, ICI Digs Deep podcast talks with IOSHA and IDWD about compliance for workers hitting Stage 2 of the Back on Track Indiana Plan.

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Drug Testing in the Time of COVID-19

A member posed the following question today, and it’s been echoed by several others, so we thought we’d share the guidance here.

QUESTION

Our testing site for drug testing in Indianapolis is currently closed until April 6, and we have new hires that need to be drug tested. What does ICI recommend we do? Being tested in a general clinic or urgent care facility doesn’t seem feasible with the number of patients they are seeing for the COVID-19 virus.

ANSWER

There are 2 options:

  1. Schedule a van to stop by your jobsite or office on or close to Day 1 for pre-employment urine testing. Call 765-482-2976 x 8103; or
  2. Use oral swabs.

Oral swabs offer an alternative to urine testing in a clinic. We provide 10-panel drug testing swabs in boxes/cartons of 20 or 25 swab kits at no charge to employers contributing to the ICISAT program through one or more of the Indiana Heavy and Highway agreements. We just need to know where and to whom to ship them. There are directions provided with each box of swabs, and George Sheraw (317) 634-7547 can run through the process with you, if it would be helpful.

The swabs can be used on-site and in about 10 minutes will tell the employer if the individual is negative or “non-negative.” “Non-negative” is a carefully chosen word that means while the swab appears to be positive, the final determination must be done with a 10-panel urine test at a clinic.

If one or more of your people get a “non-negative” result on their swab, then they must go to the local clinic to be urine tested to determine whether they are positive or not. The swabs pick up prescription medications, so it’s not uncommon for the swabs to look positive but in actuality end up being negative after a SAMHSA certified lab tests their urine.

One of the drawbacks to the swabs is they won’t change a employee’s card status, because they aren’t a urine test.

ICI and INDOT Team Up to Keep You Safe

Ashley Aiken, ICI Manager of Safety & Transportation Issues, had a successful collaboration meeting on July 16 with the INDOT Utilities and Railroad Division regarding steps we can take to ensure safety for the industry in the field during construction. We specifically addressed the recent concerns involving unmarked utilities. The team, led by Director Michael Jett, is committed to making safety a top priority. Additionally, the INDOT team plans to send representatives to future ICI safety meetings to hear directly from the field with a goal to relay any trends and messages back to their utility coordinators.

Aiken will be attending the bi-annual INDOT Utilities and Railroad Peer Group and Consultant meetings in the fall and will share ICI’s mission and best practices. The INDOT team has expressed its desire to help in any way possible to mitigate risks involved during utility and railroad coordination. We are confident that our partnership will continue to grow and look forward to future collaborations.

Work Zone Flagger Safety

Originally published 06/07/2017

Work zone flaggers are the first line of defense for road construction workers and are there to help protect the public. It is a critical and dangerous job. Because they are the ones that deal with the speeding, distracted or sometimes angry driver, they must also know how to protect themselves while on the job.

What flaggers should do to protect themselves:

  • Most importantly, all flaggers should have the appropriate flagger training and have periodic refresher training.
  • Wear high-visibility clothing such as orange, yellow or green vests. Use retro-reflective vests at night.
  • Wear other protective equipment such as hard hats, long-sleeved shirts and pants, safety footwear and eyewear.
  • Dress appropriately for the weather.
  • Stay alert and out of harm’s way by following these guidelines:
    • Stand alone on the shoulder in clear view.
    • Never stand in the open traffic lane.
    • Plan an escape route for emergencies.
    • Stay alert and focused on your work.
    • Make sure your hand signals don’t conflict with the traffic signals.
    • Treat motorists with respect and courtesy. Don’t pick fights or respond in anger. If a driver is a problem, record the make, model and license number of the car, and report the incident to law enforcement.
    • If a driver violates your warnings and trespasses your flagging station, warn the other workers in the work zone. Establish a warning signal ahead of time for the work crew in case of an emergency.

Dangerous behaviors flaggers should avoid:

  • Standing where you can be crushed;
  • Standing in the shade, over the crest of a hill or around a sharp curve;
  • Leaving your position until properly relieved;
  • Standing near equipment;
  • Standing in a group;
  • Participating in unnecessary conversation;
  • Reading or daydreaming while on duty;
  • Using your cell phone;
  • Listening to music or using ear phones; or
  • Turning your back on traffic.

Remember, working in traffic areas always presents some risks. The job of a flagger is an essential component of worksite safety.

Download the recording form here.

Silent Warnings

Originally published on 05/17/2017

Signs are used to communicate important messages. Signs on a construction jobsite are essential for everyone’s safety.

We see these signs every day. Signs that remind workers of the dangers of working in and around confined spaces or electrical hazards. Signs that alert motorists to the existence of a work zone, warning them to watch out for workers. Signs on containers that provide a list of contents or special instructions. For the most part, we recognize the messages conveyed on these signs and react accordingly.

But what are silent warnings that point to safety hazards with the potential to cause harm? Examples include:

  • a hole in the floor
  • a leaning pile of material
  • a flagger station just over the crest of a hill
  • a worker sitting on a barrier in a construction zone
  • protruding nails
  • an unprotected trench
  • an uncovered rebar protruding upward
  • falling material
  • defective tools

Learn to recognize a silent warning just as readily as you would a sign with words, then take prompt action to prevent accidents.

Don’t assume it’s not your responsibility to deal with a problem just because you didn’t create it, or it’s not in your normal work area. Instead, deal with the issue immediately. Prompt corrective action could mean the difference between a safe working environment, you or a co-worker suffering an unnecessary injury – or worse. Don’t ignore a hazard. Don’t assume someone else will deal with it. If it is something you cannot handle without putting yourself in danger or violating company policy, then immediately report the hazard to a supervisor.

Be alert. Make every effort to observe these less obvious warning signs, because they point to potential accidents waiting to happen. When you do recognize potential safety hazards, take action. Promptly and responsibly take steps to ensure they are corrected.

Download the recording form here.