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CCCT with Torey McLaren, Senior Industrial Hygiene Specialist from Travelers

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CCCT with Torey McLaren, Senior Industrial Hygiene Specialist from Travelers

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CCCT with Torey McLaren, Senior Industrial Hygiene Specialist from Travelers Video

CCCT sat down with Torey McLaren, Senior Industrial Hygiene Specialist from Travelers, a leading property casualty insurance company with professionals in Underwriting, Claim and Risk Control – many who came from the construction industry. Travelers understands that keeping workers and the communities safe while protecting the reputation of your business is key. It helps contractors create a culture of safety and manage their cost of risk by providing customized construction insurance plans. Travelers has been around for more than 165 years and has earned a reputation as one of the best insurers in the industry because they take care of their customers. Their expertise and focus on innovation have made them a leader in personal, business and specialty insurance. The company is a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Every day, approximately 30,000 employees and 13,500 independent agents and brokers in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland help provide peace of mind to their customers. Enjoy the conversation.

#workersafety #construction #surety #insurance #industrial #hygiene #prevention #safetyfirst



Hey there, Commercial Construction Coffee Talk fans. Thanks for chiming in. My name’s David Course, and I’m your host. I’m also the publisher and editor of Commercial Construction Renovation magazine. This is what it used to look like. This is the archives, made June 2014. Bill Newbold, senior director of operations for Cycle Gear. They’re headquartered out of California, but they have bike shops where you buy all your helmets and gloves and all that stuff to keep yourself safe. And you know, I ride, so we had Bill on. Bill, thanks for being on the cover. But we went digital August of 2021, haven’t printed public, you know, printed in the magazine. I’m 100% digital now, and in that digital on the Wawa West on the web, and I haven’t looked back since. Had about 29 million people hit our website last year, consuming content. So thank you so much for all you out there, and hopefully, we’ll go over 30 million this year. I just looked at the stats, and if I keep my momentum up for the next five months, I should just go over. But regardless, that’s a lot of people. And we have software on our site that gets rid of all the bots. So when I say our stats are, they’re legit, okay, because we kick them off. You can put a website up on the web, and in like two seconds, you’re getting hacked and attacked by, you know, spiders and all these guys and just your stats. So my web guy, when we read to the website, he goes, “Hey, we want to put this thing on here,” and you should see it. I can go through all these people are trying to attack my site. They’re from all over the world, and it doesn’t matter where you are, you put a new website up on the web, you’re getting attacked, and about probably 30 percent, you know, are probably going to be bots, depending on, you know, how good your SEO is and they find you and stuff, but we got rid of those guys. So we’ve got a pretty good firewall, and so my stats are legit. So, um, I hope everybody, it’s Friday, TGIF. Hope everybody’s having to have a had a great week. It’s time to recharge your battery mindset, get ready for another week. And, you know, we’re in the dog days of summer. It’s really, really hot. In fact, they just had the power go out, you know, just before we’re getting this podcast going.

I’m like, come on, come on, I’m all set up and ready to go. Anyway, power’s on, so let’s hope it won’t go off. Anyway, the reason, you know, I see dog days this summer because it’s really hot, and you know, I always tell people, look, if you’re out there on the construction site, you gotta, we want to be safe, so you get home, see your family, so you get up and do it again the next day. And I always say, listen, I don’t care if it’s summer or winter, you gotta stay hydrated on the construction site because not, you get, you know, dehydration headaches, it’s ugly, man, it’s painful. So today, I’ve got a nice lady up outside of the great city, Hartford, Connecticut. Hopefully, I said it with my twine there. My name is Tori McLaren, and she’s with Travelers, and she’s in the industrial hygiene division at Travelers. So Tori, say hello to our audience out there, Commercial Construction Coffee Talk. Hello, everyone, hope you’re having a great Friday, and thanks for having me, Dave. No, no, we appreciate it. And listen, the way that Tori got on here at listening to publicist, the PR firm, they sent me a nice note, and they said, “Hey, would you like this to be a nice guest?” They talk about people keep us safe on the construction sites and being hydrated, and I just, you know, I talk about it all the time, so I was like, yeah, this is great. So, and so Tori, welcome to the show. And the way we’re going to do this is we’re doing three parts. You’re gonna, uh, tell your story where you grew up, where you went to school, and how you ended up at, uh, you know, Travelers, uh, then we’ll talk about the last three years of Lessons Learned and how you kind of weather the storm or any, you know, cool initiatives that you have coming out there Travelers that are construction folks out there would find of interest.

And then you’ll leave one positive thought or phrase in your contact info for our listeners. So with that said, the floor is yours. Tell us your story, okay, this is the story of how I became an industrial hygienist or maybe your story in general from, you know, where you grew up, and you can lead and finish with that, and then we’ll get into the second part, okay? All right. So where I grew up was a small rural town in Upstate New York, and it is called Otigo. The nearest city is Oneonta, and it’s very close to Cooperstown with the Baseball Hall of Fame for any Baseball fans out there. So I grew up, I’m the youngest of three, I have an older brother and an older sister, and we lived with my mother. My parents were divorced, but my father was still always around, and we saw him regularly. But growing up, my graduating class, it was a small town, my graduating class was about 60 people, and I just remember we were always doing something. So we were heavily involved in athletics, both inside, outside school, and music, our local church, and then also when we weren’t doing any of that, we also had jobs on the side. And my first job was with my sister, we worked on a local horse farm down the road from where we grew up, and we also had horses, so we’re very familiar with that type of work. But during the school year, that’s what we did on the weekends, we worked at the horse farm, and then in the summer, we’re always there every day, we’re there, and also doing other jobs like painting fences. One summer, we had to re-glaze window frames, so all that good stuff that has to be done. And I remember, like, as we were growing up and looking back, our friends would always be like, “Man, you guys were always, like, you always had to go do the horses, like, you could never stick around and hang out, you’re always, like, doing some horses.” And it’s like, “Yep, yeah, we’re always taking care of one thing or another, but that kept us busy, so it was always good, and taught some good worth ethic, I would say, for sure.” Then, probably my, it was my senior year, I just got accepted to Clarkson University to get my bachelor’s degree, and I decided I would study chemistry. I really enjoyed that in high school, so I was like, “Why not? I think that sounds good.” And it was the summer of my sophomore year, I had an internship at the University in the organic chemistry lab, and I was finding myself in the lab every day doing very similar things, and it kind of hit me, like, maybe this isn’t really for me. I do like science and chemistry, but the same thing every day, I was getting a little uneasy about that, so I started talking to some other people about other options.

And at this time, I also worked at the chemistry stockroom at the University, which there we prepared solutions, took care of hazardous waste for a lot of the undergraduate labs. So the manager of the stockroom suggested looking into industrial hygiene, and it just so happened that Clarkson University has an undergraduate program in industrial hygiene. So I went to talk to that professor, and it just seemed like a pretty interesting field, you know, getting to get out in industry, seeing different operations, that sounds good, I’m gonna try that. So I graduated with a double degree in chemistry and Industrial hygiene, and I ended up going to. going to grad school. I have my master’s from Harvard School of Public Health, and that is in also industrial hygiene. So I spent two years in Boston studying, and I’m very thankful for that opportunity. Once I graduated from Harvard, I decided I was going to move to Connecticut because that’s where my now-husband was already working.

So also at the time of graduating, I, someone told me insurance companies will often hire industrial hygiene specialists, and I had no idea. So I was like, “Well, I guess if I’m going to Connecticut where it’s the land of insurance, yeah, sure, you know, I’ll look into that.” Um, and I ended up interviewing with Travelers’ industrial hygiene group and was offered a job, and I started there, um, 10 years ago tomorrow. So, uh, it seems to have stuck. Well, good for you. You know, at least you’re using what you went to school for, you know what I mean? Yeah, a lot of people from school and they don’t use it. Listen, I was a double major. I was economics-political science, but I really was a hockey-lacrosse player. I know Clarkson University very well, the green and yellow guys, and I think we actually played them last year. They were on the schedule for DU, so very familiar with all those schools up there in Upstate New York, and they’re all high-top. But, you know, I didn’t know that industrial hygiene was a, you know, a major that you could actually go and I’m thinking just, you know, maybe chemistry or construction management or so forth. So, you know, good for you. And just talking about your past, you know, working in the summers, I did the same thing and always had to have a job, and, you know, all the grandsons had to go into the scrap yard when you got your license, 16. So, uh, kudos to you for not, you know, doing the stuff on the weekends and listening to your friends. Hey, well, how can you hang, you know, what you’re molding yourself and all those things that you did probably got you where you are today and getting hired by Travelers and so forth. So, uh, you know, wise decision on the fork of the road that you had to make that decision. So, good for you. Um, the reason actually why I also had you on here was because, you know, in the bio on the PRPs that we got from you, you know, it was all about staying hydrated and, you know, the other issues about construction safety, and, you know, you all, you’re out there listening on Commercial Construction Coffee Talk, we want everybody to be safe.

You always hear me say, “Hey, once you get home at night, I want you to stay hydrated. It doesn’t matter if it’s hot or cold, you’re still gonna get hydrated.” And, um, so all of these issues, especially with the labor shortage, you don’t want anyone be calling in sick or getting hurt because it’s very, very tough to find staffing these days. So, uh, I just thought it was a nice intro feeling, as the dog days of summer, and, uh, the power’s going on and off, so hopefully it’ll stay on here, but, uh, we’re gonna do this in three parts, you know, like I said, you just did your, uh, you’re buying yourself, let’s talk about our second phase of our interview, uh, where, uh, we’ll talk about the last three years of the, you know, the roller coaster that we’ve all been on. March 2020 comes, uh, everything gets shut down, uh, and then, oh, it’s gonna be a couple weeks, here we are three years later, and we’re still talking about things, and, you know, it’s been a rough road, and a lot of people have learned all sorts of things, you know, to improve their businesses, about their own personal life, uh, you know, being safe, you know, washing your hands, don’t touch your face, all those kind of things. Um, talk about Travelers and how they kind of weather the storm and helped companies kind of keep their, you know, if they were made essential and so forth, like construction people just went along with their business, they put their mask on, they got on the planes, and they went in, they couldn’t stop construction.

I mean, just about everything was made essential, and it depended on what state you were in, too, because regulations in one state would have been completely different, like here in Georgia, we opened Up, we really, you know, we didn’t really shut down, but they had regulations on the site. There were three projects that were going on where we were, and I watched them all get built. They all had implemented different strategies, you know, to keep their construction staff safe, whether it was scheduling or having the PPP on the site. And, you know, so all of those, and I talked to a ton of people, so everybody did it differently. Talk about how kind of Travelers, not only internally at Travelers, how you guys weather it, but also how you advised your customers, especially, you know, we’re in construction, so we’d like to hear that, but there might be some other lessons that you talked about, you know, just in general that our listeners out there would find of interest.

Sure. So I would say probably the biggest one of the biggest things for Travelers and like many other businesses is that Travelers had to adjust to the more virtual environment. So, you know, risk control consultants, we weren’t able to go out on job sites. So we really had to evaluate how can how can Travelers still help support businesses when we’re not being able to see them face to face. So really, the content and expertise that was provided over the last few years hasn’t changed. It was just how how did Travelers connect to businesses still? And we just learned that, yeah, this can be done virtually. And just working with businesses, being open to that as well, we really, you know, just worked through it. And here we are today. One of the tools that Travelers’ industrial hygiene has that really helped, it was in place, you know, longer than three years ago, but it’s the equipment loan program. So before, we were still able to help customers, especially construction where work schedules are different all the time. Travelers’ lab could help provide equipment to evaluate these occupational health hazards and help virtually talk people through setting up the equipment to help evaluate those. And then we could review results and provide feedback. So really, over the last three years, that tool that we already had in place was just essential to still staying connected to businesses, staying connected to contractors, and helping support keeping employees safe because employees were still working. People were still doing stuff, getting work done. So that tool, equipment loan, we’re able to still connect. And even though we weren’t there in person, we’re still able to provide that expertise and help mitigate, you know, hazards and risks. Yeah. Did so I’m taking it that the people that were in the office, you guys were sent home and you worked out of your house just like a lot of people did, right? Yes.

Um, you know, in the, uh, so Travelers has their own industrial hygiene lab and that is also based in Connecticut. Um, so there we have chemists and equipment, um, people who maintain equipment. Uh, they were still somewhat going in on a limited basis. So we had to adjust that work schedule, but essentially, it was still, it was still functioning throughout even when everybody else. Um, like the IH specialists were kind of grounded to being at home. That was still functioning. Tell us a little about some of the diversity of some of the hygiene products and so forth that you had in place before, you know, the shutdown stuff happened. What is it? What’s that makeup, you know, as far as that product line? Okay, so and so.

I guess I’ll start with the Traveler’s lab, the industrial hygiene lab. So what we have there is various equipment. We have noise monitoring equipment, air monitoring equipment that can be used in the field on job sites, and essentially that’s used to evaluate people’s exposures to these various hazards, and that can include heat, noise, and chemicals. And those can be sent out, we walk through with our contacts, business partners how to set the equipment up so that they can evaluate what their employees are being exposed to, and then they send everything back for analysis. And then and from there, we talk about mitigation strategies, different types of controls that they could consider. Yeah, so it’s essentially, you know, air noise monitoring and then also heat evaluations as well. Yeah. Well, you’re just basically, you know, you’re getting data on the site, you’re coming back looking at it, and then you probably put a report together. You sit down and say, hey, here are the things that we suggest that you do. You could, you know, maybe bring your premium down, I don’t know, but I’m just, just in general, it’s a way that you can ensure, have that added extra protection that you, that your staff or your laborers, workers, call them what you want, that they know that hey, you’re looking out for them and that want to make sure that you’re safe as possible because safety in construction, that, you know, that’s like probably the most important thing, you know, and um, you know, we like I said, we want everybody to get home every night. So, um, as the, you know, some projects are made essential, some weren’t, like I said, it depended on regulations in the state that you were working in. If you were working on a highway project, uh, and you were outside and you didn’t have to be close and so forth, you were probably much, you were probably more able to get things done. But if you were, let’s say, a plumber or an electrician and you were doing an inside job, you could, you know, you couldn’t be close to people depending, once again, all of the regulations depending on what state you’re in, um, you might be able to get a project done on one and the other one, hey, it’s not going to happen.

So these were the things that, uh, people, uh, had to go the biggest thing that I think that talking to, uh, customers was, God, my what, what’s my contract going to look like because I have to have that liability question on there of, uh, you know, if someone gets sick on the site and they got home and they get someone sick and you know there’s, you know, maybe, you know, hopefully not anything catastrophic but you know some of that stuff happened that was the biggest thing that I think in the beginning that people were worried about just like myself I was an event guy and I, I just had my 10th anniversary Summit in Jacksonville and I was looking into hotels actually I was in on the road in March when everything got shut down and uh I was fighting with the hotel saying look I need to have this jargon a legal word salad in the contract because you’re only looking at it for yourself you know and like for me I have to have that FMB and I have to get to hotels well I can block off the hotels but you’re not going to buy the food that my rubber chicken or powdered eggs I’m gonna serve at my my gig at the hotel you’re not going to buy that stuff a couple days before or have it Delivered. So I’m taking all the risk and you’re just, you know, sitting on it and then if something happens they can’t travel, I’m, you know, I’m basically out of luck. So these were the things that people were looking at and, uh, not only from the safety hazard but just in general trying to keep their company running on as many, you know, full steam ahead but also having that liability kind of way over their head of hey how am I going to get that done? And the most amazing thing is, you know, I look back like World War II where the whole country got mobilized and it made everybody, you know, that were, you know, manufacturers, you know, helped the war effort and make sure our troops had everything that they needed.

And a lot of, a lot of companies that I know whether they were in fixtures or lighting, you know, a lot of the craft brew guys, they were doing the hand sanitizers, everybody kind of came in. So I thought, I thought even that, you know, I always try to make a negative into a positive, you know, you put in a sports analogy, hey, we practice all week, uh, it’s halftime, we gotta scrap that whole thing because our game plan is not working, we gotta go this way. So, uh, a lot of people, you know, kind of just kind of pivoted in and they realized that, wow, I can make masks, I can do the PPE shields for the cash wraps, I can, I can do all of these things. And what was really cool was was that a lot of the things that they came up with like you had all these other things, your hygiene line before, but there were probably other new equipment that you came in, you know, checking to see if you have a, you know, a fever and all that kind of stuff, all of that stuff can still stay in place to make sure that they can even be that much safer, you know, where I’m coming from, you know, from that stance. So, um, as things, you know, you were doing things virtually and, uh, obviously people put those initiatives in, do you see them maintaining those now that things have opened up and what other new initiatives do you have coming up that you’ve learned from the last three years that you know, you’re looking at or new products that our listeners out there, especially, you know, use heat as an example, so.

Able to help virtually businesses evaluate these exposures. I think people have learned like, oh okay, maybe this isn’t too bad, I can collect this data. Um, you know, Travelers IHS or industrial hygienist is just a phone call away. Um, so coming out of it, I think that Travelers industrial hygiene group has found that businesses are still requesting this virtual assistance and not necessarily just asking for somebody to come out on site, which we still can, um, but I think that’s, you know, in general, people are just more, more open to that now versus just having us take a look at it on site and then you know, report back. So I think that just going forward allows a lot more flexibility so when we’re not able to get out there, people can, businesses can still collect data and we can still work on something together versus, um, just saying like, oh you know an eye specialist is not able to get out, sorry. Um, so I think it just adds to the flexibility in what we can do and what businesses we can connect with. Um, you know, you know, Zoom is an amazing thing. I was doing Zoom well before, you know, March 2020 and, uh, I was actually just gonna start my podcast there so I was ready to go out and do interviews on the construction site and we were going to do them there and then here I am now. And I just do them in here, but the one thing that, you know, everybody does Zoom or teams or whatever platforms are on and it has made people so much more efficient. You can’t take away from that in-person gig, so people are very selective on who they’re going to go see when they know that they have to go see. Like if I’m a construction manager and I have to go look at something that’s an hour and a half ride and it’s only going to take me five minutes to look at it, you can do this on Zoom or FaceTime or whatever. But other things where, you know, there might be a serious issue that you’re gonna, you know, so you can pick and choose where you’re gonna, where you’re gonna go and do those things and still get a ton of stuff done.

Um, uh, you know, we had the Zoom, you know, listen, your phone is the best tool that you can have in your arsenal and I suggest that all of you listen if you have clients, get their Gmail, get their cell phone, put it in here because if anything happens and, uh, like you know people referral at offices, I remember I was fighting with my printer back in 2020 going, oh my God, why am I going to print this magazine? Half my magazines are gonna go to offices that are closed, no one’s gonna see it, it’s a waste of paper and ink and postage, you know, why should I do that? You know, and and and and then, uh, we just decide, you know, we let’s just do the digital thing and and so we did, you know, we made the move but I went through the same thing. All of these things as a business owner, you know, what am I going to do? Uh, you know, we were already virtual and I already had a digital magazine so I really, you know, I was prepared and I was working out of the house so I didn’t, you know, I I could do it. Some people can’t work, I lost they have to be in an office and some people that have to go into the office, you know, but like yourself, you know, being an industrial hygienist, you could probably help a lot of people online, but if you had to go out there and you were you were committed to it was a probably nice thing that hey, you actually could see someone but now that we’re opened up, you know, it it but Zoom’s not going away, teams all that this did it’s here to stay. It’s cut down on travel.

If you’re if you’re a hybrid, you’re working on your house, you’re not burning gas, you get to see your kids come home from school, I mean it’s got it’s just made a whole different, uh, you know, I had my podcast guest yesterday she said it was work equity, you know, trying to make sure that you know there’s a balance of life and work and then if you have to go in the office they want to make it as appealing and comfortable as possible. So, uh, I totally get that, you know, the you know the the technological thing and but it’s not going away the pendulum’s not going to swing back forward this is here and uh it’s just uh it’s been a godsend I mean there’s people that I had a project manager one day that said hey one day I was in Europe, uh UK, South Africa, uh, you’re they were all over Kuwait did a couple walkthroughs in Canada and finished up with a site visit in Latin America that would have taken weeks to do if you were on a plane but here you can do it all in one day so it’s an amazing thing technology and uh and now with AI and everything else coming in it’s uh you know but it doesn’t taste the structure it doesn’t matter what you’re selling flooring lighting you guys are doing safety and hot you know you know hygiene that uh it you know it it it really has been a learning process some people had to get used to it but it’s not going away it’s made business I think much much more efficient and kept their staffs and and then they were able to still keep their company culture so um do you have any new products that are coming down the pipe for travelers that people should know about out there?

We’re gonna keep you know maintaining equipment and doing what we can just to assist businesses virtually but what I like to do is. Um, you know, all this industrial hygiene equipment is just so, it can be expensive, it can be a lot to try to request equipment and then set it up for certain things. I like to refer to that good old phone because on it there’s just, there’s some amazing apps out there. Um, and you know, we’re here about, we’re here to talk about heat stress and just like you don’t need a fancy heat stress meter because there’s, um, you know, OSHA and NIOSH have like a heat safety tool that is a great guideline that can be used, um, or reference point where anybody can just put it on their phone and they can look at it and just depending on their location, it’ll tell them like what precautions to take just based on the temperature and relative humidity of where they’re located at that time. So, I there’s just technology, there’s so many tools that people have access to now and that’s a great one. Um, you know, construction sites, anybody can take it out and be like, oh, you know, we gotta, we gotta think about this and you know, be prepared for the day and make sure we have everything in place, like plenty of water, increased work breaks, um, and everything like that and it’s, it is a very good, um, screening tool. How closely do you work with OSHA? I mean, are they, are they involved in, you know, kind of, uh, your issues or do you bounce stuff off of them, uh, or you know, how do you because I mean they’re they’re kind of like the authority of what needs to get done, you know, so great exposure limits, they are the regulatory but work with them directly there exposure limit, sure, regulatory enforceable exposure limits which we will, um, we will cite, uh, or we’ll will reference or compare exposure data to that because a lot of most companies will want to see where they, where they come in when it’s compared to the OSHA standards, um, but we also use, um, some recommended exposure standards as well, uh, one of the most common is the ACGIH, the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, they have, um, um, just a lot of exposure limits out there threshold limit values that will also reference and, um, those are typically more conservative than the OSHA standards so but we’ll reference both and, uh, we’ll make, um, recommendations on based on both of those guidelines and the regulatory limits.

Just think when you were working in the horse farm, you know, it was really hot, you know, you could have had your phone there but they didn’t exist back then but I know, yeah, hey, you know, it’s a little hot in here, do you think so take a break or you should put some fans in here to keep us cool or you know what are you going to do with a horse, you know where I’m coming from so oh yeah, yeah. So listen, uh, we were in construction so I remember when I was shoveling asbestos or I was in the yard and you know we all had to take the shower to get the lead off before we left the premise, you know, so OSHA’s been around for forever, you know, I mean it, uh, you know, listen, the government is the largest contractor in the world they’ve been building for over 200 years they, they know they have a lot of data they have a lot of stuff so, uh, being kind of tied to the hip to them and and having their data at your access can really be influential in helping your customers because listen a lot of these guys they think they know everything but there might be something that uh as simple as putting a hand washing station in there or during the during the summer hey everybody’s got to take a break you know every 15 40 you know and drink a you know a 16 thing of.

regulatory enforceable exposure limits, which we will cite or we’ll reference or compare exposure data to. That’s because most companies will want to see where they come in when it’s compared to the OSHA standards. But we also use some recommended exposure standards as well. One of the most common is the ACGIH, the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists. They have a lot of exposure limits out there, threshold limit values that we also reference. Those are typically more conservative than the OSHA standards. But we’ll reference both and we’ll make recommendations based on both of those guidelines and the regulatory limits.

Just think when you were working in the horse farm, you know it was really hot. You know you could have had your phone there but they didn’t exist back then. But I know, yeah, hey, you know, it’s a little hot in here, do you think so, take a break or you should put some fans in here to keep us cool, or you know what are you going to do with a horse, you know, where I’m coming from? So, oh yeah, yeah. So listen, uh, we were in construction, so I remember when I was shoveling asbestos or I was in the yard and you know, we all had to take the shower to get the lead off before we left the premise, you know, so OSHA’s been around forever, you know, I mean it, uh, you know, listen, the government is the largest contractor in the world, they’ve been building for over 200 years, they have a lot of data, they have a lot of stuff. So, uh, being kind of tied to the hip to them and having their data at your access can really be influential in helping your customers because listen, a lot of these guys they think they know everything but there might be something that as simple as putting a handwashing station in there or during the summer, hey, everybody’s got to take a break, you know, every 15, 40, you know, and drink a, you know, a 16-ounce thing of water or whatever it might be. So, uh, all of these things can, you know, take away from, uh, you know, staying safe and, uh, as well as, you know, heat stress, talk about heat stress, you know, and how, how, you know, it can be deadly. So, you know, uh, yeah, talk about that just in general, you know, from what you know about it.

Sure. And I, uh, yeah. So when we’re talking about extreme heat environments, what, um, what the concern is, is heat-related illnesses, that heat exhaustion and heat stroke. And actually, if I, I have some, some factoids I would like to share with you, you know, put in, put in frame why we’re talking about this. Uh, so this is from the CDC website. They have a page about heat stress and construction. Um, so there was a study done between 1992 and 2016 and it showed that there were 285 construction workers who died from heat-related causes and that is more than a third of all U.S. occupational deaths from heat exposure. Um, so there’s that’s a raw number right there and, um, you know, it is possible that these the heat-related deaths are undercounted just due to misclassification. So there’s a chance it could be more. Um, another fact I pulled out of this was about 75% of these fatalities occur during summer months, June, July, and August. Um, that’s why we’re here, you know, we’re right in the middle of that. And then also, these non-fatal heat-related illnesses are also very common and that those illnesses may not be captured in the surveillance data because they often go unreported. So it’s like, there are these facts out there, it is an issue and there’s a chance that there could be more going on because it’s just not reported. When you’re, when you’re, when you’re, when you have heatstroke or you’re, you’re, you’re heat exhausted, you’re not your best, you’re not running at 100%, so if you did get hurt, it’s kind of that same conundrum, uh, that we’ve all gone through here where, you know, oh, it was, you had diabetes, you were obese or whatever and but you also had this and they coded into that and, you know, so heat exhaustion, you know, listen, it’s nothing to your own construction out there. Like I said, if you’re not feeling good, you’re not your best, you make mistakes, you know, you might slice your finger or whatever and you know that it, it all it’s all hand in hand.

So, he, you know, heat, it’s just like staying cold, you know, your fingers go numb, you can’t, you know, it’s the same thing. So, but heat is just a, you know, it can really do some damage if you, you know, if you’re not hydrated, if you don’t have the right types of breaks. I know like during the summer when I was coaching my son, you know, during practice, you know, every 15, 20, water break, blow the whistle, get yourself, you know, drink up and then, you know, we get back at it. And, uh, you never want to see that stuff. So it’s good to know that, uh, uh, that Travelers not only is just thinking about this but, you know, you know, it’s just like anything else, cigarettes used to be, oh, no big deal, but now they know that, you know, they can, they can cost us. So heat being in the months that we are right now in, in the dog days of summer, it’s very, very dangerous, you know, and, uh, I don’t care how good, how healthy you are, you never know when that’s going to hit you, uh, so, uh, kudos to Travelers and all the other insurance companies out there that are looking at it too because I know you all see, you know, just like anything else you see someone else doing it you don’t want to copy but you, that’s a really good idea you can tweak it to the way that you want it. So it’s good to have that information out there and, uh, that, you know, there’s and also that OSHA’s not the only Person or entity out there that has this data that you have, another one where you can kind of go, “Hey, you know both of these guys are fairly close. This is an issue. You’re not doing this on your site or at your company, you really need to implement this.” So, it’s good that you’re making companies more efficient and, you know, taking care of their people and so forth.

Um, if, you know, as we finish up, if you were going to leave one positive thought or phrase, and it could be, you know, directed to heat or not, that’s up to you, if your one positive thought or phrase with our listeners out there, what would it be as we go into August and finish the summer and go into the fall? Yeah, I’ll stick, I’ll stick with heat. Have a plan. The point I like to leave people with is to have a plan in place. Um, it’s always a very good idea to have your just strategies outlined in a plan. Um, so, you know, talking about those increased work breaks, talking about, you know, acclimating workers to those hot environments and, um, you know, best practices when it comes to even clothing being worn, um, that can combat heat, everything like that, it’s always good to have a plan together and written out, make sure everybody is familiar with it, and that way, next year when this, the heat jumps up again, there’s already something there, it can be taken out, updated as needed, and you’re good to go for another season, so that I like to just reiterate. And also, just keep an eye on each other, watch everybody, watch everybody out there, and if somebody’s not looking right, if they’re displaying those symptoms of heat exhaustion or heatstroke, take action and get them to shade and get them medical attention. What are some of the symptoms that someone should look out for heat exhaustion if they’re not familiar with it, what would they be? I mean, I know what they are. Oh, sure. Yeah, so for heat exhaustion, you’d be looking for fatigue, symptoms of heat exhaustion or weakness, headache, dizziness, blurred vision, excessive sweating, um, and then, uh, for heatstroke, that’s where those symptoms kind of escalate to the next level, um, whereas you can have extreme headache, you can still have extreme sweating or you, um, could also have hot and dry skin, and then also with heatstroke, that’s where the mental state starts to change, you could have confusion, um, slurred speech, and even unconsciousness, and that is when call 9-1-1 if someone’s exhibiting those. Hey, listen, if you’re out there, I know you see when people are, you know, you could be one of your best workers and they’re just not they just don’t look like they have it together, hey, take that guy and let them sit in the trailer, you know.

Or get him into the shade, uh, you know, you gotta, you gotta look, you know, listen, military family, so I want someone like I got someone on my flag, you know, who’s going to have my six, so the bottom line is, is that if you see someone that that that’s not looking like themselves, go talk to him and say, “Hey, man, you know, go inside there or, you know, go get something to drink, have you eaten anything today?” And all those things, you know, the coach of me is always like, “Hey.” Before the game, make sure you guys load up, you know, tonight on not just tonight, you gotta start doing it a couple days before. One night’s not gonna do it. Make sure you got food in your system and all of these things so. It’s really important, you know. And like tomorrow when I go out, I gotta go up to my lot, I gotta clean up the lot to keep the HOA happy, and I got all these weeds I gotta cut down, you know, of course my wife’s like, “Hey, you need to go get some.” I’m like, “No, no, I’m gonna do it.” It’ll take me a couple hours but I got long pants on, it’s gonna be hot in the morning, I’m gonna go up there, I take my big thing of water, I keep that little thing, actually my wife just got me a thing that I hover around my neck, it’s a little fan. Oh, excellent. For those of you don’t know, if you keep your neck cool, okay, you’ll see all these athletes these days, they’ve got these bands they put around their neck, if you can keep your neck cool, you can keep your body cool, it’s an amazing, amazing thing, but right around here in the back of your neck, it is just a really cool thing. So there’s, I have this little fan, I also have this little cloth that that freezes up. I have to do is, you know, have it watered and it’s amazing thing. Well, I forget who invented it but I throw it my lacrosse bag all the time in the summer because I’ll sweat like five pounds on a Sunday night running up, running up and down the field with my two ACL place, but it, it, you just don’t know and everybody’s gonna is gonna show those symptoms a little differently, you might even be going through what he’s talking, you don’t even know it, so if you’re not feeling good open your mouth and tell us, “Hey, you know what, can you help me over to the trailer or whatever,” you know, if you don’t know, ask to make yourself known because the last thing you want to do is, you know, end up in the hospital or, you know, or just anything happen. We don’t want anything to happen so this is, this is just a really good that’s why I had them on here it’s really hot out there everybody’s outside make sure that you, you know, take the precautions that you need to so.

If someone wanted to get in touch with you and bounce, you know, some questions off of you, you know, hey, how could I get that data or how can I get that equipment put on my site and so forth, how would they reach out to you at Travelers so I I would refer people to the Traveler’s website,, so that has a wealth of information about worker, worker safety, workplace safety and then also it’s an overview of The Travelers industrial hygiene Lab Services and all, all that good stuff. Okay well listen if you if you if you’re if you’re a contractor or an end user and you’re running a project or an architect whatever if you’re out there on the construction site you know or if you’re just out there doing you know yard work you know these are the things if you have some questions and you’d like to know what the protocols that that you think you might not have and that you didn’t have in place you know call Tori up or reach out to her and uh or just travels in general and find out you know if you don’t know ask and then you’ll know and uh it’s better you know listen I was a weebelow and a Boy Scout you know be prepared you know and uh it we just lost power you know last week I was on the road and then we had a huge storms came and just whacked Atlanta probably a lot of people didn’t see it but I’m telling you this town got whacked there were trees that were knocked over and just a lot of it but my wife goes power’s been out and I was up in Milwaukee at a reception and I flew back on Friday and just driving back from the airport.

I mean there was debris everywhere and uh some big trees knocked out and uh the power went out she was out for almost 24 hours and uh we had just gotten a a solar generator so uh she had uh you know she could plug her phone in you know in the fan and luckily the you know the storms came in late at night but by the time the power just came on the following day the heat was starting to come in so it would have been miserable in here but some people Lost their power for a couple days, you know, and uh, you know had to throw stuff out of the freezer and this and that so. Um, you know, it, listen, heat can definitely get you, the cold can get you too, you know, frostbite and all that stuff so they’re, you know, they’re both ends of the spectrum but if I had, if I, if I had to take my pick I think heat exhaustion and that’s probably much worse in my opinion, it’s much more painful and, uh, and believe me I grew up on, you know, playing out on an outdoor rink and I didn’t wear socks with my skates and, uh, believe me, you know, the cold is no fun either, uh, but heat is definitely much more brutal in my opinion so. Um, well, this has been nice, listen, if anybody wants to get in touch with me, I’m at, uh, David C at, uh, listen, we love looking at stuff, send it to me, that’s how, like I said, that’s how, uh, Tori got on here, the publicist sent me to it, I look at everything and, um, you know, getting in the magazines very tough, I look at everything and, you know, we post stuff every day, you can send me charity golf tournaments, new products, new personnel, you know, anniversaries, we run all sorts of stuff, you know, on the site and I normally have a, tat’s turnaround time for those you don’t know that in the digital world, uh, the bottom line is, is that, uh, I will come back to you personally, you know, and I’ll sing you need my, hey the URL, you’ll share it, it’s good for both of our SEOs and, uh, let me be the judge, you know, I’ll judge the book by its cover and I know you don’t like me saying this but it’s like playing the lottery if you don’t buy a ticket you can’t win so if you don’t send me something I can’t get you on the show or put you in the magazine or up on the site and, uh, you know, that’s just the way it works and, uh, listen if you’re watching this video listen hit the like button, all right, we want to get the algorithms out there so, uh, you know, we can get the message out there about heat exhaustion and having heat stroke and stuff you know so let’s uh make the YouTube algorithms you know find this interview with Tori and, uh, you know help some people out there that you know might not be missing the protocols that they need to do to keep their staffs happy so. So Tori, uh, any last thoughts before we sign off up there in Hartford, uh, as we go into the month of August, uh, uh, are you excited for the last, you know, the end of the year, are you bullish, are you bearish or where are you, you know? Oh, I’m ready. I’m ready for it, whatever, you know.

Yeah, I’d say every, uh, you know, stay cool, be smart, stay hydrated, yeah, I like it, I like it, hey, you could be, you can be one of my, you could be on my coaching staff any day of the week, man, because I like that, you know, so uh, listen all you out there like I said before a couple things I want you to stay, stay, you know, listen, go home, make it through work, be safe so you can see your family so you can go over and do it again, drink lots of water, I say it all the time, drink water it’s good for you, uh, and stay hydrated, you’ll feel better and, uh, you know, most of all have fun, if you’re not having fun, go do something else, okay, and you’ll enjoy your life that much better so Tori, pleasure meeting you, uh, if I get up to, uh, the neck of the woods, uh, I’d love to meet you in person, I’m not gonna, you know, fist pump y’all shake your hand and stuff and, uh, uh, you know, we’ll, uh, I’d love to see, you know, I’d love to see the, uh, The Travelers, uh, you know, chemistry laboratory, that’d be an awesome tour, I’ve never it’s pretty cool, it is pretty oh no I love that, I love it you know I like I like seeing all that stuff you know I’m uh I’m a gadget guy I don’t care what you know it’s a new ranch or you know.

I still have my Erector Set from when I grew up do you know you know what that is oh yes I do I do okay okay well those of you out there that have their Erector Set good for you I still You know my Erector Set, I played with that thing, you know, here I am in construction, I built a magazine but you know, so anyway well, pleasure speaking with you. So for all you out there on commercial construction copy talk, TGIF to you once again, enjoy the weekend, enjoy the rest of summer. Fall’s coming in, we’ll get back to the swing of things when school goes in. Down here, school’s starting here in the next week or two and then after Labor Day, you know, there’s other schools up north will get into the swing of things but, uh, listen it’s been a wild ride over the last six, seven months here we’ve already have more than halfway through the year and before you know it it’s going to be the holidays and we’ll be ringing in 2024. So uh, stay cool, drink lots of water, and be safe. So Tory, pleasure, say goodbye to our listeners out there outside of Hartford. Yes, thanks, thanks for having me David and everybody enjoy your weekend. Yeah. And I’m gonna sign off from Sugar Hill, uh, just about 30 miles north of downtown Atlanta up by the Beaufort Dam in Lake Lanier and uh, I think I’m gonna hit the boat here tonight, uh, later when it cools off a little so and I get a little breeze up on the water. So with that said, everybody, we will catch you next time on another episode of commercial construction Coffee Talk. Tori, awesome discussion, I thoroughly enjoyed it and uh, to all you out there, we’ll see you again, see ya.


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