Asbestos in the Construction Industry

Asbestos is a silicate mineral that had proven to be very effective in a number of industries before people realized the dangers involved with its usage. Before it came under strict regulation, asbestos was a vital component of the construction industry, including many different trades involved in the building process.Asbestos fibers are divided into two families, with six total members. First, the serpentine group contains only chrysotile. This is the most commonly found form of asbestos. Serpentine fibers tend to lay in sheets and form layers. The other group is the amphibole family. It contains amosite, crocidolite, anthophyllite, tremolite, and actinolite. This family is characterized by the chain-like structure they form. From this family, amosite is the next most common asbestos fiber, and crocidolite is typically considered the most dangerous.This substance was incredibly popular in the construction industry due to its characteristics as both a silicate mineral as well as its own properties. Silicates are known for their wonderful insulating properties because it protects against heat, fire, chemicals, electricity and degradation. Asbestos fibers have the additional benefits of having high tensile strength as well as flexibility. All of these combined to make a seemingly attractive substance for use in construction.There are many things in which construction-related asbestos can be found. These include:DrywallJoint compoundRoofing tars and shinglesPlasterTexture coatsCaulkCounter topsPipesVinyl floor tilesThese are just a few of the many things that include asbestos. Because people considered it such a useful substance, it was added to a number of different things as an insulator throughout the 19th and early to mid 20th centuries.There are several construction trades that are more at risk for exposure than others. Plumbers, pipefitters, insulators, electricians, steel workers, sheet metal workers, painters, roofers, and bricklayers are considered more likely to come into contact with the substance. However, anyone, including regular construction workers, can encounter the dangerous material during processes such as renovation, remodeling, and even demolition of buildings that were constructed before the ban on asbestos.Two governmental organizations help protect construction workers from asbestos exposure. First, the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, guards the general public (including construction workers) from airborne asbestos fibers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, established rules to limit the amount of asbestos exposure that workers undergo. Additionally, it regulates the way employers control asbestos exposure assessment regarding things like medical record preservation and hazard reporting.Sadly, many people in the construction industry were exposed to asbestos before the EPA and OSHA set these regulations. Asbestos exposure can cause deadly diseases like lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis. If you or someone you know has suffered from mesothelioma, you should speak to a lawyer regarding your rights. Talk to a mesothelioma lawyer at Williams Kherkher today to help you.

Small Business Tips – How Clear is Your Vision?

Vision is an essential element to having success in your own business. If you think about the way a multi-person corporation works, the managers and team leaders have a clear vision of where the company is headed. If they didn’t the company would be run into the ground. What makes your small business any different?As a blue jean CEO, your vision needs to be a bit stronger and personal than the vision that a “regular” corporation has. In order to accomplish your goals, you not only need to know how you want to get there but you have to know why.Earning six figures is a common goal for a small business owner. It’s an exciting number and an important milestone in the growth of your business. But unless you plan to wallpaper your bathroom with $100 bills, your vision isn’t really complete.If not, you can try using this simple visualization exercise called “Your Perfect Day.” Your goal is to picture what your life will look like when you have reached that six figure income or whatever ultimate goal you have. When will you wake up? What will you do? How will you conduct your business? What kind of fun will you be having?Imagine a little play in your head and visualize everything that you’ll be doing on that perfect day. Put yourself in that space and see, feel and hear all of the sensations. This will strengthen your vision and give you a perfect reason “why”.

Small Business Tips: Tips for Minimising Shoplifting

When I started researching this article I was aghast at the number of robberies that occur in Australia every year. Over 15,000 robberies were recorded by the Australian Institute of Crime for 2009. Shoplifting is becoming a major problem for small business however there are strategies that you can implement to minimise the chance of someone stealing from you.The staggering figure is that over half of all small businesses have been a victim of crime and on average will lose $7,800 a year due to shoplifting and burglary. Whilst certain business types and industries are more prone to robberies such as corner stores, pharmacies, newsagencies and bottle shops, any small business can be affected by this type of crime.There are some simple steps that you can implement to help minimise your shop being a shoplifting victim.
The first step is to ensure that you have a clearly articulated policy for shoplifters. The policy should identify how you will deal with a shoplifter and how you handle them if you catch someone. We know from research that companies that have a strong shoplifter policy and a tough prosecution policy is less likely to be a target of shoplifting. Mind you it doesn’t guarantee that you won’t have a problem.The best deterrent from theft is to have staff that are always on the lookout for people who look as though they may be up to no good. A good camera system is also another great deterrent but the reality is that most professional crooks don’t care about the cameras. I have seen footage of theft gangs that just don’t care if they get caught or are seen on camera. Surveillance cameras are also becoming a very important tool in prosecuting the offenders because they provide undisputable proof of the offence.The key with shoplifting is to catch them before they leave your store so having staff walking around the isles and a camera system will provide you with the best line of defence. Other tools that do work as well are convex mirrors, two ways mirrors and peepholes at key points and positions in your store. Always ensure that there are no dead areas in your store where potential thieves can actually steal the physical products.When it comes to staff management ensure that you assign a staff member to different areas of the store and make it their responsibility to protect those areas. Another simple technique is to encourage your staff to greet any visitor to your store. This will often put the potential crook on the back foot.There are some key things to look for when you are monitoring your store:1. Monitor you customers to see if they maintain eye contact. Quite often a shoplifter will have shaking hands and their eyes will be constantly looking around2. Watch for customers who simply wander through the store whilst trying to avoid your staffs attention3. Customers with baggy clothes and in particular hoodies are a major concern especially if the weather doesn’t match their clothes4. Monitor your colleagues to see if they are distracted whilst one of their accomplices may actually be doing the theft.Finally it should be store policy that all bags, boxes, purses and cases are subject to an inspection prior to leaving the store. You should also include anti-shoplifting signs in your store to ensure that everyone knows you take shoplifting seriously.Whilst no one of these tips will actually stop a theft, they will certainly help you in minimising the chance that your small business will be a victim of shoplifting.