How to Stay Warm on the Construction Site

Working outside can be a great benefit for construction, except when the weather is bad. During the winter, it’s important to stay warm for your health and to help minimize the risk of injuries. With these tips, you will know the best ways to stay warm in most kinds of winter weather.

Watch the Forecast
Certain parts of California have a relatively predictable climate and a forecast that changes little from one season to the next. In other parts of the state, you can switch from cold to baking hot within the course of a few hours, particularly if you’re at a higher altitude. This change underscores the importance of watching the forecast as a way of planning out your workweek. If you can see heavy rains or snow upcoming, then you know that you’ll need to prepare to be colder. And since some of these storms can accompany other problems like mudslides, blocked roads or ice, you can prepare for those too.

Use Layers
When you were a kid, you probably had a parent or grandparent remind you to wear layers when you went outside. You may not have paid much attention to it as a kid, but it’s really important now. If you rely on a single heavy coat or coveralls to keep you warm in winter weather, you’re going to be playing a game of temperature control all day long. This exchange doesn’t do much for your productivity and can wear you out faster. Instead, wear multiple layers that you can add or take off when needed, including:

  • Long underclothing
  • Insulating layers
  • Outer layers with rain and snow resistance

And don’t forget to use layers for your head, hands and feet. A hat and gloves may not be sufficient.

Add Heat Safely
There are lots of ways to add heat to an outdoor or indoor space. You just have to make sure that the ones you choose are appropriate to the task and safe for the environment. For example, a propane-based heater may be a relatively effective way to provide additional heat outside. Inside, it’s a carbon monoxide nightmare. You also need to confirm that you’re not doing any work around it that could cause ignition. Indoor space heaters that run on electricity may be an alternative, but they are also a common cause of structure fires. Even the single-use heat packs that skiers use might be sufficient, but you have to be careful not to burn yourself in the process.

Take Breaks Indoors
If you’re doing a lot of work outdoors or in another space that is particularly cold, make sure that you have a warmer place to go to for lunch and other breaks. Even a single room with a heat source that you can turn on when you arrive and turn off when you leave could help you maintain a more constant body temperature. Many people use their cars as an additional method of heat generation, but you may come up against idling laws if you do. Try to scope out a few options near the jobsite as an alternative.

Change Tasks Regularly
One thing you need to know about working in cold weather is that it can aggravate some of the symptoms of repetitive stress. If you’re doing the same task over and over again for hours, your limbs or back may get stiff from the cold and repetition. This increases the likelihood of accidents, particularly if the temperature is low enough that you’re not getting good circulation to your fingers. Instead, try to change tasks on a regular basis, as frequently as every 15 minutes in cold weather. This allows you to work different muscle groups and keep your whole body in better working order during the day.

Staying warm during the winter is part of a construction job in many parts of California. So is a good foundation. To learn more, contact CSLS today!

How to Manage Your Contracting Business During a Personal Crisis

Every now and then, something is going to happen in your personal life that may put your contracting business at risk. Crises like a family illness or major car accident could divide your attention and most importantly, your time. Here are a few things you can do to ease your stress when you’re trying to manage a difficult load.

Set Priorities
People sometimes get into trouble when they try to balance too many things at once during a crisis. It’s not difficult to imagine. You try to make sure that you handle everything in normal order, even when your personal life is in chaos. This can lead to burn out, which increases the likelihood of mistakes. Instead, you should set the most basic priorities that will keep your business functioning, such as:

  • Completing pressing work
  • Notifying clients of delays
  • Paying bills
  • Paying employees

These are the tasks that help you keep the lights on while you devote time to more important matters.

Determine Likely Points of Failure
One of the first things you have to learn as a business owner is risk management. Risk management is a business practice that encourages you to evaluate the risks you’re likely to encounter with a project or approach. When you reach a point where you can’t keep running your business as you have been, it’s time to do some analysis on the most likely points of failure. This can be difficult for business owners to do because it requires you to admit honestly what you are most likely to do wrong or incompletely. But making a list can help. These points of failure are the ones that you need to plan for in advance, so that they don’t sink you.

Designate Checkpoints
Some people find themselves in a situation where they will be in a crisis for the next week or so. For others, it might be a month or two. In either case, you want to set a handful of checkpoints that allow you to evaluate your situation and decide if you need to make changes. This step is important because you may not need to operate at the same diminished capacity for the entire duration. There may be points where you can do more work, and days or weeks when you will need to do less. You can ask a friend, relative or business partner to help you remember to check-in. Otherwise, even a reminder on your smartphone may be enough to help you dedicate that time.

Delegate
The way you run your business depends a lot on your personality. Some people like to do the vast majority of the work by themselves, so that they don’t have to answer to anyone or delegate. Others prefer to lead by example and build a team of employees who can support them as fully as possible. When you find that you’re stuck in a bad situation, being able to delegate is a very useful skill. Assigning tasks to someone who is willing and able to perform at full capacity can help to ensure that they get done on time and according to specifications. If you don’t have employees, this might be a good time to research a few options for outsourcing that you can call upon when you need it.

Avoid Overextending Yourself
You know that meme about the dog that is sitting and drinking coffee inside a building that’s on fire? You definitely don’t want that to become your business. Overextending yourself is a quick way to lead to burnout, especially when you are having personal issues. If you build your business on the premise that people want to hire a contractor who will get the job done right the first time, you can understand the damage that can be caused when you’re so overcommitted that you start to cut corners. Instead, try to under-budget your time, assigning yourself less work than you think you can handle. That way, you can always give someone a pleasant surprise instead of disappointment.

Personal crises are likely to come up sometimes. How you manage them can help you keep your business afloat. For more information about building your contracting career, contact CSLS today!

Want to Start a Contracting Business? Make a Five-Year Plan

Going from your first day in construction to starting your own contracting business takes at least a few years. You’ll spend some time on the job learning skills, more time refining your knowledge and choosing the right field for you, and the last bit getting ready to launch your own business. Here are a few things to consider as you make a five-year plan.

Evaluate Future Job Growth
To start out, you’ll want to pick a field that has growth potential that can sustain you for the length of your career plans. The Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps data on the anticipated job growth for most industries and specific jobs within the construction industry. This means that you can do a little research to see where the jobs that you’re interested in doing are likely to go within the next 5 to 10 years. You’ll need to have this information to determine what your competition will be like and how much demand there will be for your services.

Select Ideal Working Locations
As you’re starting to browse through the careers you could have within your chosen fields, you’ll want to select locations that will be the most likely to meet your needs. As a licensed contractor, you will be able to work within the state where you get your license. This means that if you’re planning on moving out-of-state, you may need to consider how getting a license in that state will affect your plans. If you’re planning to stay in California, the good news is that you’ve got a lot of options, from the most rural to extremely urban.

Research On-the-Job and Educational Opportunities
Many people get their start in construction by working under a licensed contractor. You don’t necessarily need to take an educational route, but that’s also an option. Some fields have lengthy apprenticeship programs that you might apply for. Selected candidates can receive an income while they get a thorough, high-quality education within the field. These types of experiences can qualify for at least some of the experience you need in order to take the contractor licensing exam. Research what’s available to you in the area, and don’t hesitate to aim high. You don’t know what you may be able to achieve until you try.

Explore Different Fields
If you’re brand-new to construction, the choices you would make might be quite different then they would be for someone who’s been working in construction for several years. In either case, it’s important to explore different fields and careers you can have within those fields. Research what you can expect from various jobs, including:

  • Income
  • Demand
  • Work environment
  • Clientele

This will help you to make a choice you’re more likely to be content with by the time you get your license.

Keep Learning as You Grow
For most people, becoming a licensed contractor is a step they take on a career path that will continue to change for decades. This means that once you get started, you’ll keep adding onto your knowledge and experience. That can make you a better business owner and someone who is more likely to be able to meet the changing needs of clients in the future. Taking an ambitious, positive attitude about career development is an excellent way to start.

If you’re just starting out on your construction career path, you’ve got a few years to ensure that you do it right. To find out the benefits of becoming a licensed contractor, visit CSLS today!

5 Business Skills You’ll Need to Run a Contracting Business

In order to run a business, you need a balance of business skills. You don’t necessarily have to go to college to get a degree, but your business is more likely to survive if you aren’t starting the process at the entry-level. Here are five skills you can start developing now to help ensure that you’re ready to begin strong.

Simple Budget Management
You don’t need financial expertise to be a successful business owner, but you do need to master the basics. In the early years, you may rely a lot on your own ability to:

  • Set a budget
  • Track income and expenses
  • Balance a budget
  • Plan spending to maintain cash flow

Accountants can be expensive. And while you’ll probably need to hire one on occasion for some tasks, you may be left to do several aspects of financial management on your own. Try it out with your own finances, so that you can test your skills before your business goes live.

Business Communication
Learning how to communicate with your future colleagues and prospective clients is an important aspect of running a business. The tricky part involves understanding the best way to communicate as a part of your field. Every industry has its own preferences, but it’s reasonable to start researching how to:

  • Bid on projects
  • Respond to business inquiries
  • Send invoices
  • Provide updates to business or residential clients

If you tend to rely a lot on spelling and grammar checkers to find typos and other problems in your writing, consider using a free or paid service that evaluates your writing first. Create a few templates that you can use regularly so that you only have to change names and relevant details.

Basic Technology
In a connected world, people tend to assume that they already know all the technology that they will ever need to use. And while this may be true for a lot of people, it isn’t always the case. Research the standards in your chosen field. Look up software options and test out ones that are free or low-cost to use. If you aren’t accustomed to working with spreadsheets or PDFs, now‘s a good time to start. This investment gives you an opportunity to figure out how it will work for you well in advance of needing to use it in relation to projects.

Research
If you ever wanted to know when you would need all the research practice you got in high school, running a business is a good example. Before you can even start your business, you should probably write a business plan. And for that, you’re going to need to do tons of research:

  • How to open a business in your area
  • Who your competition is, and what they charge for services
  • Target customers’ preferences

Fortunately, you don’t have to spend ages at the local library hunting down periodicals. Most of what you need may be readily available through an online search, assuming that you know how to do it. Practice using different combinations of keywords to find what you need, and get more comfortable with Boolean search techniques. This work makes it easier to learn without wasting your time clicking on useless links.

Project Management
In order to run a business wherein you complete regular projects, you’ll need to pick up some skills in project management. It’s not enough to know your own role in the task and be able to fill it. As a business owner, you may need to manage several people completing different aspects and ensure that the final result meets specifications. Pick something that you’d like to do around your home or a friend’s home. Make a list of every aspect that you have to manage over the course of that project. Create detailed plans to handle each one. Once the project is done, make a few notes on what worked and what didn’t. That way, you can increase your likelihood of success in the next round.

Starting a business may take years of preparation, and these skills can help. For more assistance about what you need to open a contracting business, visit CSLS today!

Does Your Contracting Business Need an Office Manager?

When you run a contracting business, you’ll spend a lot of your time completing projects for clients. Unfortunately, that isn’t all you need to keep your business going. If you’re not able to spend enough time on office tasks, the flow for your business could come crashing to a halt. Here are a few ways you can tell that you need some administrative support.

Your Business Is Expanding
In the beginning, there may not be all that much to coordinate for your contracting business. After a year or two, or sooner if you’re in a field affected by the labor shortage, you may want to expand. Expanding your business increases opportunities, but it also makes your business more complicated. As you grow, you may need to hire more employees. A dedicated team of professionals could have coordinated schedules and other administrative tasks that take away from your time available to work on projects. At this point, most businesses need to consider hiring someone who can manage the day-to-day functions.

You Need to Coordinate Multiple Projects
If you only work on one project at a time, it may be relatively easy to plan your schedule. On the other hand, many contractors need to book out at least a little bit to keep their business is running. After all, some projects take a few hours, while others may take several weeks. If you are lining up multiple projects, you need to make sure that you aren’t overcommitting yourself, your employees, or your equipment. The last thing that you need is to double-book on two important jobs and end up having to choose one. Instead, having someone coordinate your schedule frees up more of your time for work, while ensuring that each project gets appropriate attention.

Your Response Times Are Lagging
When you run a business, you’ll spend time preparing to do work and doing productive work. While you’re working, you want to be able to focus on the project-related tasks at hand. Unfortunately, having a busy contracting business makes it harder to be available to answer phone calls or respond to customers. Over time, lagging response times may translate into fewer leads and a decrease in available projects. Obviously, it’s a problem you should try to prevent. If you notice that you are taking more than a day or two to get back to people, you may need someone who can handle that correspondence on your behalf.

You’re Forgetting Administrative Tasks
Before you start a business, you may wonder how anybody could possibly forget to complete regular tasks like sending invoices or paying the bills. Then you start a business, and it all begins to make sense. After a long shift on the job site, the last thing on your mind is more work extending into the evening hours. And yet, those administrative tasks are absolutely crucial to keeping your business functioning. If you are late in sending invoices to clients, you may have to wait longer for payment. That can throw your cash flow into chaos, making it harder for you to order supplies or handle expenses. If this becomes a problem, you should plan to solve it as quickly as possible.

You Need Someone to Coordinate Services
There may come a time in your business where you no longer have to perform all the work yourself, but you’re not yet at the point of hiring a dedicated staff. In this case, you might rely on outsourced services for things like payroll or marketing. But even if you have other companies that you pay to handle these aspects of your business, you still have to make sure that the work continues to meet your expectations. This means that you will need to be available to periodically check up on them, and communicate with them as necessary. Hiring someone to coordinate the services for you can give you one point of contact for updates while removing those responsibilities from your daily list.

Running a business involves a variety of jobs that you can’t always complete on your own. Bringing someone onto your team can help take the load off. To learn more about starting your own contracting business, contact CSLS today!

5 Reasons to Consider Hiring an Accountant for Your Contracting Business

If you’re good at money management, you might think that there is no reason to hire an accountant for your contracting business. Some business owners don’t, especially in the first few years when they’re working to get established. But there are reasons you may want to hire one, especially if you struggle to keep your focus on your books. Here are five.

You’re Not a Tax Expert
Many people choose to calculate and file their own taxes. When you start a business, it’s tempting to think that it will be easy to manage your business taxes as well. And if you don’t have a lot of business expenses or purchases to make, that might be close to the truth. On the other hand, hiring an accountant to do your taxes is a relatively minor investment. In exchange, you’re more likely to learn about less-known deductions and credits that your business may be eligible to claim. An accountant is also more likely to get everything correct so that your tax forms are accepted without dispute.

You Need Someone to Manage Your Financial Records
Maintaining financial records is a crucial task for your business. Without it, you may be stuck in a panic when someone asks you for an updated form. For example, if you apply for a loan, you may need an updated profit and loss statement for the application. If you have investors, you’ll need to show them updated financial records for your business activities as well. Just like your taxes, these records can be complicated and easy to make mistakes. In this case, it may make sense to hire a regular accountant who can handle these tasks on your behalf. You’ll need to provide the data, but an accountant can process and use it to generate the required reports.

You’re Not Sure if You’re Following Financial Guidelines
There are a lot of financial guidelines that you may have to follow as a contracting business owner. For example, if you want to bid on public sector projects, you need to confirm that your rate structure for employees complies with local guidelines. Do you know what these guidelines are? Which forms do you need to fill out and submit along with your bid? If these questions fill you with dread, then you might need an accountant to help you sort through them and determine which ones apply to your business. This way, you can avoid the stress of being unsure if you’re following the rules, with extra support in handling these administrative tasks.

You Want Help Planning Your Spending
In the early years of your business, cash flow is everything. Before you increase your own income or invest further in your business, you must make sure that you have adequate funds to keep the business running. The problem is that you may not know what you need to make that happen. And if you make errors in your estimates, you may end up without the money you need to pay yourself or your employees. Accountants do more than just file your taxes or fill out other forms. They can also help you look at your income and expenses, and create a plan that you can follow for several months or the next year.

You Don’t Have Much Business Support
There’s a reason that many licensed contractors are self-employed. In the beginning, you might not have anyone else available to work with you. Being able to make all the decisions can be nice in that you don’t have conflict when it’s time to make a choice. But it also means that you don’t get input from others, which can be a problem when you’re making a decision without a lot of information or experience to guide you. In this case, it makes sense to consider hiring an accountant to help you evaluate financial choices and select the one that works best for your business. This way, you have an objective expert who can provide you with an appropriate level of support.

Handling your business finances is less stressful when you can hire a professional accountant to ensure everything is correct. For more information about starting your own contracting business, visit CSLS today!

Virtual Meeting Tips for Your Contracting Business

The virtual meeting seemed like something that construction professionals were only going to need for a few months. Now it looks like they are here to stay. And really, it makes sense. If you need to give an update to a client who is hundreds of miles away, virtual is the way to go. But it isn’t always easy. Here are a few tips to simplify the process.

Learn How to Use the Platform
One of the biggest nightmares of virtual meetings in 2020 is the high number of people who do not know how to use the platform. Although it seems like there ought to be a great deal of similarity between platforms like Google Meet or Zoom, there can still be a steep learning curve. Most people who end up doing something ridiculous or embarrassing in the middle of a virtual meeting found themselves in the predicament due to a lack of understanding. If you’re considering new platforms for virtual meetings, set up a few meetings with employees or even friends who can help you test it out. That way, by the time you’re ready to meet with clients, you’ll have more expertise.

Find Tutorials for Clients and Employees
Part of the reason that hearing about virtual meeting horror stories has been so entertaining is that it’s a combination of shared experience and a high unlikelihood likelihood of occurrence. In short, lots of people are still struggling to use these programs effectively, largely because they didn’t get time to learn them in the first place. If you find a good tutorial with information that your clients and employees can use to help them master the platform, share it with them. Don’t worry that they’re going to think you assume they’re ignorant. If they don’t need the information, they’ll just disregard the attachment.

Send Documents in Advance
Meetings tend to take much longer than they should, and this is more likely to happen when people don’t get a chance to prepare in advance. When you’re meeting with clients, you may need them to sign a contract or review a design plan in order for you to be able to proceed on the project. One of the best things you can do to smooth out the meeting process is to send these documents in advance. Give other participants of the meeting at least 1-2 business days to take a look at the documentation and prepare questions. This will save you a lot of time spent waiting while they read the document.

Follow Meeting Etiquette
As a general rule, behaviors that you would never do in a meeting in person should also be avoided for virtual meetings. Many people get into the habit of thinking that meeting on a virtual device allows them the freedom to act as if they are not in a meeting at all. But even if your camera is off while the sound is on, you can still end up in odd or annoying situations. For example, if someone takes a device outside next to a busy road, you may not be able to hear them over the sounds of traffic. Keep in mind that sound travels differently through speakers than it does in a room. If you’re doing a lunch meeting, keep the speaker away from your face so that no one has to hear chewing.

If All Else Fails, Send an Email
In all the rush to stay connected despite remote work, many people seem to have forgotten the old wisdom that technology is only necessary when it can be useful. The fact is that there are many meetings that never needed to happen if the relevant parties were simply willing to communicate by email. Meetings aren’t bad, and there are times when you can accomplish much more by meeting face-to-face even virtually than you could in writing. But it’s worth investigating whether the time you spend collaborating is actually getting you closer to the solutions that you need.

Maintaining communication with clients is part of running a successful contracting business. A good education is another. To learn more about our contractor licensing exam preparation options, contact CSLS today!

How the Pandemic Is Changing Commercial Spaces, and What It Means for Your Contracting Business

Back in the spring, lots of people thought that COVID-19 was going to have short-term effects on the world, and then everyone would move on. As it turns out, systemic changes in business practices will continue into the new year and beyond. Companies are thinking about how to use commercial spaces when they don’t necessarily want people to come in. With this information, you’ll have a sense of what’s coming, and how your contracting business can get involved.

Separate Workspaces
For the last 10-15 years, office spaces have emphasized an open floorplan as much as possible. Even the idea of the cubicle, with the half walls that are easy to adjust, feels like a relic of the previous century. The pandemic has changed the way people think about working in a crowded office space with only a couple of feet between themselves and their coworkers. This is creating a rise in demand for separate workspaces, places where people can be productive outside of the home without putting themselves at additional risk for the spread of airborne diseases.

Efficient Building Spaces
Since people are predictably wary of gathering together, businesses that are likely to occupy commercial spaces are looking for high levels of efficiency in the use of buildings. There might be a new trend bringing everyone back together in five or 10 years, but right now, people prefer to be apart. For office spaces, this means keeping individual offices but allowing multiple people to use them in tandem. Such a design makes it easier to maintain office space for a workforce that is mostly remote. In the retail and service industries, you may notice much less indoor space for congregating. That leaves more room for outdoor interactions and parking.

Outdoor Meeting Areas
Parts of the country with mild winters have long relied on open outdoor spaces to minimize the need for structures. After all, if you live in a part of California that isn’t buried in snow four months of the year, you might easily be able to meet outside. The difference is that the rest of the country is catching up, and they are less worried about avoiding inclement weather. You’ll see an increased emphasis on large, outdoor spaces with seating that is spread out instead of crowded together. This allows people to get together, collaborate or simply enjoy each other‘s company, without the same risk they would face if they were meeting inside. The landscaping industry is likely to see a jump in demand as a result.

Drive-Thru Service
One benefit of the pandemic has been a re-conceiving of the idea of quick service. Businesses now understand that getting people the things they need as quickly and efficiently as possible, with as little contact as possible, is the safest method for everyone. Drive-thru service is becoming an increasingly popular type of building design, and it’s not just for fast food anymore. Industries that already relied on a drive-thru are expanding those systems, with multiple lanes in exchange for the large parking lots they used to keep for indoor, seated customers. Industries that never relied on drive-thru service or now re-examining their options to see how they can make it work.

New Concepts in Hospitality
Although the hospitality industry has been hit hardest by the pandemic, it will bounce back. People will eventually want to take vacations again, and business trips will once again become common. This is relevant because the hospitality industry is an important part of new construction starts and renovations. After all, if no one wants to build a new hotel, they won’t be hiring anyone to build it. New concepts in hospitality rely on some of the same themes in other commercial spaces, including fewer indoor meeting areas, opportunities to minimize contact from the point of entering the building to entering a hotel room, and greater visibility for sanitation tasks.

Starting a career in construction is easier when you can tell how the pandemic is likely to change the industry. To get started, contact CSLS today!

What Does the Construction Industry Look Like for 2021?

Toward the end of last year, industry experts were predicting a slowdown in new construction starts. What they saw is much different than what they expected. Although construction management throughout the pandemic has taken up most of the attention, the industry continues to move forward. Here are a few advantages and concerns that professionals in the industry are likely to see in 2021.

Construction Is an Important Part of the “New Normal”
Starting to get tired of all the people talking about the new normal? You’re not alone. But it’s also worth remembering that the new normal involves lots of opportunities and not just opportunities for anxiety. This year has taught people that the way that they were occupying buildings caused problems for themselves and others. It took a pandemic with a set of frightening symptoms and unpredictable targets to make people rethink the way they do things. They’ll do them differently in the future, and they will need buildings that are set up to allow them to do this. That’s one reason the construction industry hasn’t been hit as hard as others have this year.

Construction Industry Work Is Rebounding
If you consulted experts in 2019, they would have told you to expect a slowdown in construction. These predictions are heavily dependent on the region, but they were also predicated on the assumption that the industry couldn’t keep its high pace after so many years. It’s not surprising that the spring of 2020 brought a lot of chaos to construction projects, just as it did for everything else in the world. But in the midst of an unpredictable world, the need for building continues. And the proof lies in the fact that there are more construction jobs at the end of the year than there were at the beginning of the pandemic.

The Labor Shortage Is Still a Big Problem
It’s tempting to see construction labor shortage within the context of supply and demand, but that’s an oversimplification of the problem. The truth of the matter is that construction doesn’t have enough trained experts in certain fields. As someone leaves a career after decades invested in it, there must be someone who can come into the field to take their place. The problem is that this hasn’t been happening. If a general contractor can’t hire an electrician to help them complete their project, they won’t be able to finish the project. At best, they’ll come in late and over budget. As the number of projects rebounds, the demand for highly-skilled professionals may rise to the levels seen in previous years.

Periodic Restrictions Likely Throughout 2021
It would be nice to close 2020 with a sense that the pandemic is over. After all, there is a vaccine to help prevent people from getting it, and it is now available. Yet, it may be months or more than a year before the majority of the population has access to it, and even longer before the vast majority of the population has received it. This means that state and local governments will continue to keep an eye on the spread of the virus, with periodic shutdowns or limitations on activities as needed. Although construction has been labeled an essential service, it’s not always easy to tell how it will affect adjacent industries or the supply chain. Construction professionals should keep that in mind for the next year.

Construction Is a Strong Career Choice
All signs point to a bright but cautious future for the construction industry in the years to come. There is a lot of work to do, and there still aren’t enough people with the right training and skills to complete it. If you’ve been thinking about starting a career in construction and 2020 has made you wonder if it’s still a good idea, you should know that it is. Your investment now will create benefits that could last your whole career.

The last year has been a whirlwind for many industries, including construction. The good news is that there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about the future. To discover how you can become a licensed contractor, contact CSLS today!

Types of PPE Your Contracting Business May Need

Like some industries, construction has a tendency to put people at risk for illness or injury. This is why so many tasks require personal protective equipment (PPE). There are many types of PPE you may need, depending on your field and the kind of work you do. Here’s what to expect from headgear, masks, gloves, boots and more.

Masks
The recent pandemic has made masks a topic of national attention. The right kind of mask for the construction job depends on what you’re trying to prevent. In the normal case, you’re looking to minimize what you inhale. Masks that are designed for disease prevention filter what you breathe out as well as what you breathe in. For most jobs, using a standard N95 mask may be sufficient. For jobs involving hazardous chemicals or inhalants, you may need a respirator with a filtration device. Face shields can also minimize your exposure, but unless they provide a tight seal around your head, they’re usually meant to be used along with masks and protective eyewear.

Eyewear
The type of protective eyewear that you should use depends on the task at hand. For example, someone who is simply trying to avoid a minimal amount of dust in the air may be able to get away with a basic pair of protective glasses. People who are working with hazardous materials may need to use goggles that surround their eyes and create a tight seal to completely prevent any contamination. Working outside during daylight hours may require you to use tinted eyewear to minimize sunburns and increase visibility. If you’re working with equipment like welding, you might need to wear a specialized protective helmet or shield with a certain type of tinted glass.

Footwear
For most jobs in construction, you need footwear that covers the entire foot and is comfortable to wear for long periods of time. As a general rule, you may also want to purchase boots with ankle support and a slip-resistant sole. This helps you to avoid falls, particularly if you are working above the ground in an exposed area. For use with certain types of tools, you may consider boots with a puncture-resistant upper. This can prevent you from hitting yourself in the foot with a nail, or puncturing your foot by stepping on something sharp.

Body Protection
Although many forms of PPE focus on protecting your eyes and nose, there are a variety of equipment choices you may want to make as well. For example, you may want to invest in:

  • Protective, durable outerwear that covers the body and can go over your regular clothing
  • Gloves that protect your hands from freezing, burning or cuts, depending on the task
  • Hard hats that minimize the risk of injury from falls or from falling debris
  • Hearing protection when you are working with or nearby equipment that causes loud noises

These tools are highly specific to the job at hand. You may need some or all of them.

Fall Protection
In most cases, your protection against falls comes from the layout of your working space and additional equipment installed. This means that you should look for things like guard rails and safety nets if you’re going to be working in an exposed area above ground. Otherwise, there are systems that you can use to minimize your risk. For example, you may wear a safety harness connected to a cable that will prevent you from hitting the ground if you fall. You may also wear a monitoring device that can alert you or someone else that you may be about to fall.

In an industry like construction where you work on your feet and spend time with heavy equipment, the right kind of PPE is key. So is a thorough grounding in your field. For more information, contact CSLS today!