001 - Tie or Die - Worker Safety on the Biggest High-Rise Solar Build in American History


Patrick (00:00):
I was just afraid that at some point a module that maybe wasn't fully secured, a big gust of wind would come up and pull that module. And then you're looking at a 200 foot drop to either Broadway street, which is one of the busiest streets or 281, which is one of the busiest highways. And I just thought of that gave me that would keep me up at night more than anything else.

Al (00:24):
Welcome everybody to the first episode of radio free tenacity does voice of worker safety. I'm your co-host Al Buczkowski joined by our work site, safety specialist, Allie Thunstrom. Hey Allie, how's it going?

Allie (00:38):
Hey Al! Doing well, excited to officially kick off the podcast here.

Al (00:42):
You and me, both friend. And actually, before we dive into today's episode, I'm thinking we should probably let the listeners know what they're in for with radio free tenacity.

Allie (00:52):
That's probably a good idea. So what would you say we're trying to accomplish here?

Al (00:57):
Well I would say that this podcast is made by and for those folks who are utterly obsessed with making the workplace a better place, specifically a safer, more productive workplace. And to that end, we'll be going inside the minds of the folks responsible for some of the most innovative safety work that you're going in addition to chatting with our friends out in the field, you know, the ones out there leading work crews to great things, but facing plenty of challenges along the way. Folks like today's guest Patrick Attwater of 180 Solar.

Allie (01:30):
Absolutely. I mean, I first met Patrick a few summers ago in San Antonio as 180 solar took on one of the largest high-rise solar builds in us history. Um, it was definitely one of the most dramatic construction projects I've personally ever been on. I mean, you think of San Antonio, you have high winds, scorching, summer heat and tons of at height work, you know, by the time all was said and done the 12 story office tower, and it's six story mid-rise companion in the Pearl district we're equipped with over 2,900 solar panels, which for those of you that aren't familiar that's enough to generate one megawatt of power. Yeah.

Al (02:07):
I mean, I remember following this project closely when you were down there with the rest of the Ergodyne team and then some of those photos we got from that bill that are just astounding. Like you can just feel that Texas heat coming off of some of those images and footage of those crew members walking hundreds of feet above the building on steel beams, right over major highways. I mean, forget about it. It's, it's ridiculous. And actually our listeners can go to the tenacious blog on ergodyne.com and search solar for videos and pics of that project. Absolutely incredible stuff.

Allie (02:42):
Oh, a hundred percent. And, and, you know, I got up there on top of that building with some of them and the way that they walked across those beads, just so worry-free was just alarming, but also really cool to see. I mean, they are, you know, ahead of the ahead of the game and top of their class and the, in this type of industry and they really are, you know, 180 solar is truly out there doing great, great things. And Patrick was kind enough to sit down with us recently to talk about that Pearl district project and what they did on the bottom line to really ensure everyone's safety, despite some major, major challenges and potential hazards. As you mentioned previously,

Al (03:23):
Without any further ado, let's take a listen to that chat. Here's Patrick Atwater of 180 solar.

Allie (03:33):
All right. So welcome to the podcast, Patrick, first and foremost. So you are the CEO of 180 solar. Can you tell us a little bit about the company its mission and what motivates you to kind of do what you do?

Patrick (03:47):
Yeah, that's a good question. So yeah, Patrick Atwater, CEO of 180 solar, we started the company almost seven years ago now. So we've been at it for a while and I've been in the solar industry for, for 12 years. And so, um, I'm relatively young, but kind of a grandpa in the solar industry cause it's such a young industry. Um, it was back when I was in college, I was looking around and trying to figure out what I wanted to do. Like most people when they're in college and after a lot of research, I decided that solar made the most sense for me. It was infinitely scalable. You could do it on a small scale, you can do it on a really large scale. So I liked that. Um, we could find a niche somewhere in there that would be a good fit for, for me, at least

Allie (04:29):
I have the privilege of being with you and your crew at the, in the poor Pearl district on the solar build. After the completion of that, how did the Pearl district, um, project kind of fit within your MIS mission and how did that really make a improvement to that area in general?

Patrick (04:49):
That's a great question. And I guess to give everybody a little bit of background, um, there's a great video that was made that kind of does a good high level overview of the partnership that we had on that project. So that's a good place to start, but this is the, we were brought in and we're so lucky to have this opportunity right in our backyard too. So we're doing work around the country, but this happened to be where we're headquartered down in San Antonio. Um, we have some very forward-thinking leaders down there that are doing some amazing things, um, on this front, but, um, we built, so this is going to be, I can't imagine another office tower being more sustainably built. So this is going to have, this has geothermal, rainwater capture, a perfectly tight building envelope, like maybe record setting type seal. I mean like a building envelope. And then we built, we design engineer and built this the largest solar project on a high rise building in the U S maybe, maybe in the world. We don't know. Um, but we haven't found one bigger. And so it's 2,700 modules, uh, anywhere from 150 to 200 feet in the air on top of these two office towers. And they all combined to feed the south tower, which is going to be the it's the new headquarters for credit human. It's a federal credit union headquartered in San Antonio. They're the ones who really the CEO there is brilliant and really was the one who made this a priority for this new headquarters. And we're going to produce somewhere somewhere north of 95% of the remaining load for that building. And this is, uh, you know, this is, I can't remember how many square feet, but it's, um, you know, 12, 13 stories. Um, this is unheard of normally a solar array on top of a building like that would produce 5, 10 or 15%, but we were able to use three different rooftops. Um, and they were able to get their building consumption down so much that we're, we're going to produce hopefully somewhere north of 95%, once it's fully occupied. Um, but to do this, we had to do, we had to do something that never been done before, which has raised a solar array up off the roof at those Heights, um, so that we can use all of the available space because otherwise we have restrictions on fire lanes and there's HVAC equipment on the roof and other things that would have prevented us from getting that much power on the roof. So by raising it up, not only does do we, are we able to fit as much power as possible? We're also able to, um, uh, turn it into a real feature of the building. And that's what also it became is the crown jewel of the whole project. It's the one thing that's really visible about the sustainability, the other things aren't as easy to see.

Allie (07:29):
Not to brag, but I did get to install a couple of those solar panels on top of the roof or help the crew with that. And it was, there is photo proof. Yeah. I mean, it was, it was such an incredible experience and exactly like you said, you know, you're up there in the elements and those things can become a sale. And so to, to have a really cool experience and understanding of what they actually are dealing with, um, was just incredible. And, you know, like you mentioned, there was a lot of challenges being at Heights, being one of them. So when you and your team kind of looked at how to mitigate those risks, what are some of the key features that you guys really wanted to focus on? And almost more importantly, but how did you get your crew to buy into it? Cause we all know that there can be a lot of resistance to additional safety features and, you know, especially items that they don't typically use on the ground. So what were kind of some of the things that you guys thought about and how did you get that buy in from your workers?

Patrick (08:29):
Great questions. Um, one, everybody knew going into this, this was a special project and we really tried to make that clear, even though I think it was in that, you know, just being onsite, you got a sense of that. So we didn't have to remind them too often, but sometimes it was getting, you know, we sit down and explain how important this project was. But along with that, they knew that it was a technically challenging project that, um, we all had to be careful work together and watch each other's backs and be at the very top of our game when it came to safety. Um, and there was no room to slip up. We just didn't because, you know, one of the things I was not only for our guys hanging off the roof, but I was just afraid that at some point a module that maybe wasn't fully secured, a big gust of wind would come up and pull that module. And then you're looking at a 200 foot drop to either Broadway street, which is one of the busiest streets or two 81, which is one of the busiest highways. And I just, the thought of that gave me, you know, kept that would keep me up at night more than anything else. So that was always, these were the focuses that we put or, you know, making sure that these guys were watching each other's backs, that we had all the right safety equipment, that we were never taking risks, that we were always being measured in any part of the installation we were working on. And that, um, everything was secured, uh, up there on the roof that everything was tethered and, and held in place before to make sure that it was mechanically fastened. It was all secured before, before that, just, just to make sure it didn't fall off the roof. Um, and then also we had a great working with, uh Jorah who was the general contractor on that project, um, working alongside them. They were really great and they had very strict safety protocols. They knew how important this project was and how visible it was. Um, just making sure that all the safety was followed from the top down. So, um, yeah, I'd say that definitely a team effort.

Al (10:24):
Yeah. That's great. Do you, it seems like from what you're saying, like, you know, there, there, there didn't take much, like people were already invested in their own safety. Like you said, that it was a very visible project. Everyone was excited to be on it. It didn't seem like, um, you know, much had to be done to, to empower your crew, to, to face those challenges and, and guarantee that they go home safe and sound.

Patrick (10:48):
Yeah. I mean, I think everyone saw that this was going to be it's, you know, when you're, when you're looking at that steel and you see people hanging off the steel, you know, that it's, uh, something to be taken seriously. There was no point where we were, it was, it felt laxed in that sense, but I think it was just, we were always having the conversation and always, um, uh, you know, it was always talked about, you know, every day, multiple times a day, we're talking about it and everyone knew how important it was that we all went home safe every day. Um, so yeah, so I'd say that it wasn't so much that there was no work involved in building that culture in that people, uh, you know, to get there. But, you know, I think I want to give credit to all our, our site managers, construction managers, project managers, GC, and, um, everybody was really involved in making sure that that was a priority. So that just became the culture on site. But, um, but yeah, also it's a little different than if you're on just a big flat roof on a warehouse building one story up, people just, you know, it's a little to not feel that tension, but when you're up there on the roof, you just naturally have a little more attention, um, when you're at that height.

Allie (12:01):
Yeah and you mentioned kind of creating the culture on the site and, and from being there for the few days that we were, I will say for sure, I was super impressed with, you know, the GC, like you mentioned, Joris they were phenomenal. And I know I did a safety walkthrough with their safety superintendent and the level of detail that he put into everything and had no issue in calling people out if he felt like they weren't abiding by it. And everybody was very receptive to it. That was super impressive. And then even further, I think it was Oliver, uh, that was kind of managing it on your side. And I mean, throughout the days that we were there, it was super hot, which we'll get into, um, how you had to, not only did you have to deal with Heights, but you had to deal with the extreme heat. They were, he always made sure to multiple times a day, check on the guys and make sure that they were doing okay, encourage them to drink water and to take breaks and to use cooling towels and different modalities to ensure that they were cooling their body properly. But, you know, as every role that we went down with the solar panels, there was a second where everybody stopped and said, is this are the scaffolds safe? Is the, you know, are the bars safe? Everything was checked time and time again. And it was just super impressive. And I think exactly, like you said, there was a culture there that, that valued it. And that was that definitely very impressive to see how everybody worked together to ensure that not only themselves, but the people they work with are remaining safe as well.

Patrick (13:25):
Yeah, absolutely. And we always have, so for every project, when you have a project that size, you've got a whole team on it. And so you've got, um, we've got a project engineer, we've got a project coordinator PM and usually multiple, um, project, uh, construction managers and a project executive. And so all those people work together to see this project through the construction phase. And, um, Oliver is one of our construction managers does an amazing job. He's young guy, a lot of energy really takes his job. Seriously, did an awesome job. Um, and, uh, I think that's a great point and yeah, and so it's just, it really is that team effort, everyone buying in everyone, taking it seriously.

Al (14:05):
What do you have on tap now? What kind of projects do you have out there that, that get you excited, like to the level that you would obviously excited to, to work on this Pearl district project?

Patrick (14:15):
One of the ones that we have we're working on right now that, um, has turned out to be, it's going to be a really cool project is, um, down in Florida, we're working on a new botanical gardens, or it's not a new botanical. It's a, it's an existing, it's been there for a long time, then resell. We have botanical gardens and, um, they have real big ambitions to make this the first net positive, not just not zero, but actually create more renewable energy than the building uses, um, botanical complex in the world. And, um, and so we're helping them with that. And we're right in the middle of design and engineering right now. And that'll go to construction towards the end of the year, early next year. And, um, that's going to be amazing. It's going to be basically the same size as the Pearl project, but all on one structure rather than three. And then, um, in return, we're going to have the first net positive restaurant certified restaurant in the country. We're gonna have the first net positive, certified botanical complex in the country and a slew of other awards that they're, they're going for. And they really want to set the example down there, but it's right on the ocean. It's going to look like some giant waves on top of this parking garage and building. Um, and, uh, yeah, I think it's going to be beautiful. And it's also got its own child. We've got hurricane force winds. We're, we're still pretty high up in the air. Um, but then you throw in the hurricane force winds, um, and, uh, the, the environmental challenges we'll have down in Southern central Florida. Um, so that, that, that's one of the ones that I'm really excited about coming up.

Allie (15:48):
That's super incredible for sure. And another project that you're going to have to deal again with, with cooling and all of that and tool tethering, like you mentioned. So when you're looking at all of the challenges that go into a build like this, and again, keeping your workers safe, what kind of advice would you have for organizations facing similar challenges and safety risks? Um, you know, how do, how should they navigate that conversation, get the buy in and create the culture that we've seen on your job sites, uh, to date?

Patrick (16:17):
You know, and I don't want to come off as a safety expert cause there's people out there that really that's, that's what they do. And we really value a lot of times we bring in consultants on a new project to help us understand what those risks are. Um, so we don't take for granted that we've been on a lot of job sites and we we've seen it all. We really look at every project as a new opportunity to get better and to learn something new. And so I'd say that's always step one is, you know, humbly approaching every project with bringing in people that really know, uh, the things that you might be missing so that you can make it as safe as possible. And then it's just, it's really pretty basic from there, which is that it requires good planning. You got to sit down and really think through, and imagine the project from start to finish and what challenges you will come up against, and then what solutions you need to, to solve those problems with those challenges, um, and having the right, uh, solutions is critical. And I think that's where you guys really come in in a lot of ways, uh, you know, on this Pearl project, we use so many of your guys's, uh, tools that were extremely useful. Um, and we didn't even really talk about it yet, but keeping these guys cool. So really we hit the peak of construction before we got the modules, or as we're installing the modules in the peak of the summer in south Texas, it was hot up there once the modules went in, they're able to work underneath and there's a lot of shade created, but before those modules went in, it was brutal heat. So just keeping those guys cool was an enormous challenge of setting up shelter for them up on the roof, making sure they had cooling vests and cooling devices and constantly making sure they're always hydrated taking lots of water breaks, getting them into the shade as much as we could. Um, you know, that, that is definitely taken for granted. I think in general, when people are driving by a construction site, hopefully they, they always keep in mind and have a little empathy for all the guys that are out there in the middle of that summer heat working. Cause it's, it's, it's the real deal it's really challenging. And it's actually just as much just like most things. It's usually a win-win when those guys are comfortable and taken care of, they're going to be better workers too, when they're miserable and they're, they're really struggling out there and they feel like people don't care. Uh that's when you're not, you're not going to get a hundred percent out of people. So safety to me, isn't an expense. It's not a, something to be taken lightly it's if you do it right, it shows that you care and it shows that, uh, you want the best for those guys that are out there working hard. And in return, you can be pretty sure that you're going to see the, you know, better work their best work. And that's really what it's about.

Al (18:46):
Patrick, those are, those are great words to end on. I can't thank you enough for, for joining us today. Um, and for kind of allowing us to be part of the glory and in, uh, projects like the Pearl district build and, and hopefully, you know, many more to come.

New Speaker (19:03):
Yeah, I well and thank you guys for making great gear that makes it all possible that the guys in the field really love, and it makes all the difference in the world for them. And in your guys' partnership on this project. Cause, uh, you really, you really made a big difference too, and it was just great having you out on site. Um, I think it made the guys feel real special to have your crew out there and they felt like they were doing something special that, you know, would, would, uh, um, entice you guys to come down and make a, make a story about it. So I think it was a real win-win so always great partnering with you guys and, uh, uh, keep up the good work on your end.

Al (19:37):
All right. Have a good one, Patrick. Thank you very much.

Patrick (19:40):
Thanks for having me.

Al (19:44):
And we're back on radio free tenacity, the voice of worker safety, great stuff there from Patrick Attwater. Make sure and check out the tenacious blog on ergodyne.com for more on the Pearl district project, including some pretty awesome video of the solar build itself, featuring our very own Allie Thunstrom who as mentioned was actually there supporting the job site, including guiding the crew through proper use of safety gear. Uh, and to Allie, I know we've touched on it some with Patrick, but I was wondering if you could maybe take a minute to really dial in on the job site hazards facing the crew during that construction phase, uh, and maybe some of the solutions use to solve for them.

Allie (20:26):
Yeah, for sure. I think so. And you know, because I tend to have talked a lot lately I actually brought in Tim and Alsie, two of our product directors to help us better understand some of the safety work here that was deployed on that job. So Alsie comes to us from our elements pillar and Tim from our prevention pillar. So welcome in both of you.

Alsie (20:46):
Hey Allie.

Tim (20:49):
Hey Allie.

Allie (20:50):
So the 180 solar project really combined the risk of working at Heights with intense Texas heat. I mean, we're talking summer Texas heat to be exact. So Alsie your team specializes in protecting crews from the elements and the solar 180 bunch really made use of their full menu of options when it came to combating heat stress, heat, stress didn't day. they?

Alsie (21:11):
Yeah, Allie, they, they really did. So in addition to using, um, smart administrative controls, like getting an early start on the day, um, that's beneficial because you're avoiding peak hours of heat, which is typically 10 to 2, um, and proactive, preventative breaks just like throughout the day. So Patrick and the 180 solar team, they were just really focused on, um, the three main categories that we like to sort of use as our three pillars for heat stress prevention, which are hydration shade, and then cooling PPE, um, which is going to include things like cooling vests, multibands, um, headbands. And then in addition, they were using, um, evaporative technology, which is going to not only help keep body temps steady in the heat, but also keep them, um, more productive and comfortable on the job.

Allie (22:03):
Yeah you mentioned the administrative controls of the early start and I will be the first to say that was a little bit early for my liking. I think we were in the elevator heading up to the roof at 4:30 in the morning. So I mean, but when you're dealing with that Texas heat, that's one of the important things that you have to keep track of.

Alsie (22:22):
Yeah. Yeah. It's a sacrifice you make for the, for the greater good.

Allie (22:26):
There it is.

Alsie (22:27):

New Speaker (22:28):
So that's actually the perfect segue into the world of Tim, uh, talking about my elevator ride at 4:30 in the morning. So the man charged with overseeing the development of solutions to prevent dropped and falling objects. Hey Tim.

Tim (22:39):
Hey Allie.

Allie (22:39):
As Patrick mentioned, during our chat, this crew was working hundreds and hundreds of feet above some of San Antonio's biggest, busiest roadways, visions of plummeting tools and airborne solar panels would keep him up at night. So let's look at some of the solutions that your team offered up that helped him rest easy, starting with the thing most folks think of when they hear drop prevention, tool lanyards. So the 180 solar crew really used a variety of lanyard styles. So I was wondering if we could run through a few and have you point out some of the important things to know for each, how does that sound?

Tim (23:13):
Oh, for sure. That sounds great.

Allie (23:15):
So probably the most ubiquitous lanyard on this project was our shock absorbing FX series lanyard. What's the idea behind a lanyard design with shock absorbing properties?

Tim (23:25):
Well, um, let me just first start by saying that, um, there are a lot of different ways to keep a tool from, from falling from Heights and injuring someone below, but, um, we've gone the extra mile and developed these shock absorbing lanyards, primarily to reduce, uh, the forces exerted on a worker's body when drops do occur. Um, and that's important for a couple of reasons, you know, uh, it's actually amazing how much force is generated by even a five pound tool when it's dropped, you know, 48 inches or so. Um, it, it adds additional strain to the worker's body and, you know, as importantly as that, it can increase the chances of, of a fall because that force pulls on the worker's body in unexpected ways. So that's really why we focus on, on shock absorbing lanyards.

Allie (24:17):
Yeah, that's really great. And like you mentioned, you know, we don't want to create a secondary risk for these guys working at Heights and having a lanyard pull on them is definitely the last thing you want, but another popular lanyard and one that has gained so much popularity in the last year or so is the retractable style. Um, so can you kind of talk about the idea behind that and why somebody would choose that over say like you mentioned a shock absorbing lanyard.

Tim (24:42):
Yeah. You know, there are, there are a couple of really important reasons for this. You were just touching on, you know, adding hazards to the work that's being done. And we can't overlook the fact that anytime you add equipment to a worker, you're introducing the possibility of, um, additional hazards with a traditional lanyard, as an example, you know, when they're hanging at your side, you know, one or more of those, uh, you have, um, a chain or you face a risk of getting caught on equipment or the structure that you're working on, especially when you crouch down or kneel down, you stand back up, you might get caught on something that prevents you from readily standing back up. Um, so that's, you know, on the safety side of things.On the convenience side of things, retractables, um, are really attractive because they stay out of the way when they're not in use, when you need to use, uh, the tool that you're tethering, you just pull the thing out and it'll, you know, in many cases stay extended while you're using the tool, give it another little tug and it'll retract and get right out of the way again.

Allie (25:49):
Yeah. That's a super good explanation and I can completely understand why people would choose that. You know, it's, it's really been fun to see over the last 12 to 18 months, how much tool tethering is becoming more and more commonplace on job sites and you know, how people are accepting adding lanyards and keeping those workers below safe. But what do you think is, you know, one thing there's still a lot of question marks about this category in particular, uh, what do you kind of think are the big pain points in this conversation?

Tim (26:19):
Uh, confusion is number one. You know, a lot of times people just have a hard time figuring out where to start mainly what to use and how to accurately spec needs for their crew. It's understandable, you know, given the number of options that are out there as, um, as this has become more popular and more required, the market's just been, been flooded with solutions. So simplification of the category in general is a must in terms of encouraging adoption. And that was really the driving force behind our trade specific tethering kits. Our kits give workers everything. They need to tether the most popular tools of their trade, all in one box. And because it's boiled down to a simple one-to-one ratio and there's one, one kit for one worker, it makes budgeting for what you need, as easy as it gets. Again, you know, one kit, one worker, everything you need to tether tools. Um, it makes it much more simple and easier to understand.

Al (27:16):
That's, that's great, Tim. Uh, I know, uh, you know, you and I have talked a lot before in the past about, uh, simplifying, um, and, and really kicking down the barriers to, uh, wider acceptance to this category. Um, kind of switching categories here for a minute back to Alsie. I know there are a lot of questions around cooling PPE, how you know, where to use it, how to activate it, uh, that sort of thing. So I was wondering if you could, maybe for our audience kind of dive into cooling PPE a little bit, maybe some of the science and then applications, uh, for cooling PPE.

Alsie (27:55):
Yeah, that is, that's a really good question, Al because it's, it's not a one size fits all approach as it relates to cooling products, um, evaporative product specifically, which, um, Patrick and the 180 solar team used are really ideal for them and those who are working outdoors. So with evaporative products, you want to have two key components, right? You want to have water and you want to have access to air flow. Those two things combined is really what's going to kickstart and activate that technology. Um, and without them, um, you're really just not going to get, uh, the ideal cooling out of that product, which is where a different technology, um, comes in. And we won't go into that today cause I do want to focus on, on evaporative. Um, but you know, as a part of a heat prevention program, you know, we talked a little bit about, um, like hydration and shade, but PPE is important because it's sort of like the icing on the cake. Um, when you are wearing a cooling product, you're going to want to place it where you have large blood vessels located near the surface of your skin. Um, so thinking around your neck or around your head, um, that's ultimately going to be your best bet at controlling your internal temperature. Um, you know, and I, and you're also going to be a lot more comfortable. So wearing a cooling PPE product, like a cooling towel around your neck is just going to make, um, the worker more comfortable and ultimately, you know, more productive, which is, which is great. Um, there are two cooling products that I was going to touch on, um, specific to this project, which are core cooling products. So the dry, a evaporative cooling vest, and then the PVA cooling vest, um, like, you know, core cooling, um, is really going to be the best way to control that internal temperature wearing accessories is great too, but anytime you can place a cooling product on your core, um, you're, you're gonna get the biggest bang for your buck there. So a dry cooling vest is great, um, because it's going to be slightly lighter weight and longer lasting than a wet evaporative cooling vest, like a PVA cooling vest, but both are going to be very beneficial for anyone working in heat. Um, a multi-band um, a cooling multi-band specifically is just a really great effective multifunctional product. So not only is it going to block wind and sun and dust and debris, but you're also going to be able to, you know, have cooling on your neck and on your head, which is, um, which is great. Just very versatile.

Al (30:30):
Yeah. Yeah. So tell me then how does cooling PPE, um, play in with a more holistic, uh, kind of preventative approach, uh, when you kind of tie in shade and water as well?

Alsie (30:45):
Yeah, no, another really good question. You know, shade is really critical to, um, any, any time you're on a job site to a heat stress prevention program, a lot of states, um, you know, well, federal OSHA mentions this as part of their heat prevention guidelines. And then you have two states, specifically, Washington and California that do require it on job sites. And the goal for shade is just it's to block direct sunlight. You want to block dry, direct sunlight to, um, help cool your body down any time you are indirect sunlight, it can make the perceived temperature, um, on your skin about 15 degrees warmer. So, you know, it's, it's getting, it's really getting out of the sun, getting out of, um, direct sunlight, whether that be in a air conditioned break space, which is ideal, but not always going to be an available option, right. To people working on job sites. So what you can consider are pop-up work shelters or portable work shelters, like a 10 by 10 tent, a 10 by 20 tent, obviously the larger it is the more workers you can fit under the canopy, but there are also available options such as, um, umbrellas, which are great because they're portable and they can be used in a variety of environments, whether that be on, um, soft ground, um, stands on concrete, they can attach to, um, like a trailer hitch Mount, so like a truck or, um, uh, a van of some sort. So there are a variety of options if air condition breaks spaces aren't available. Um, and then as a part of kind of like the tie in with PPE that we mentioned shade is a great option because it provides a recovery space. So it's a place for the worker to cool down rehydrate, and then also they can reactivate their cooling PPE.

Allie (32:39):
And one thing that I saw on the 180 solar job sites specifically that, you know, it works for shade too, is the amount of hard hat, brim, shades, and neck shades to add that personal touch of shade. When, you know, they're on a rooftop in the middle of Texas, there's not a ton of options, but there are still things that you can do on a personal level to protect yourself against the sun and its harmful rays as well.

Alsie (33:04):
Yeah. Yeah. That's a good point. Those are, those are great products to use when you are not under a tent or an umbrella. Um, and then also sometimes you can find products, I know, you know, with a neck shade, with a cooling towel built into the back. So you're not only getting protection from the sun, but you're also getting, um, that cooling impact as well, which is great. And then I know Al you were mentioning or asking kind of about just more of the whole heat stress sort of, um, program and prevention plan and how everything comes together. And one thing we'd be remissed not to talk about is considerations for water and hydration, because that is, is one of the most critical, if not the most critical, aspect to preventing heat related illness. Um, I believe they were using hydration packs on the job site, Allie.

Allie (33:59):

New Speaker (33:59):
Yeah, yeah. Which is such a good option because you know, a dehydrated body is not going to be able to sweat fast enough to dissipate heat. So having a properly hydrated body is so important, hydration packs are great because you can, they're portable. You can take them anywhere. OSHA recommends that you rehydrate frequently throughout the day about eight ounces of water, every 20 minutes. So something that's portable like a hydration pack really does give that a great option to rehydrate as needed, um, depending on you know, where they are or how often they need to rehydrate their bodies, they also are insulated. So you can, they keep the water cool, cooler than ambient air. So just overall a really great option. And then, um, if hydration packs can't be worn because maybe they're wearing a harness or they prefer just not to have that extra weight, uh, portable water bottles are great too. Um, so our portable, uh, bottle holder trap, which was actually developed by Tim's group, um, with a primary aim of preventing dropped objects. So in addition, that's a great, um, part of a heat stress prevention side of things.

Al (35:05):
And actually as we wrap up, I want to go back to, uh, the topic Tim and I were speaking about. And that's kind of a, you know, simplifying things for, uh, for work sites. Tim, Allie, Alsie, what advice do you have for safety and site managers when it comes to maybe getting their arms around these safety risks that we're talking about here today? Uh, whether, you know, they're new to the game or just maybe re-evaluating their current programs.

Tim (35:32):
Sure. Um, you know, quite simply if you're having trouble figuring it out, don't hesitate to ask. We do it all the time. Uh, you know, I, I shared, you know, that we've developed some solutions that are specifically, um, about helping make this dropped object prevention category easier to understand, you know, our trade kits are a great example of that, but they were born out of the fact that we help a lot of, uh, safety professionals directly all the time. We take tool inventories, um, Allie connects them with the solutions that they need. We've boiled that experience down into some products that are in the line, but, um, that one-on-one consultation is incredibly important and very helpful.

Al (36:14):
Great. Allie, what about, what about you? You're, you're constantly out on, on work sites having these conversations, what would you have to say to that?

Allie (36:22):
Yeah, I definitely agree. I mean, at any rate, if you have questions don't hesitate to ask, but the other big thing to consider on job sites is to ask your workers, you know, figure out what they're dealing with. They're the ones ultimately in the heat, working at Heights and figuring out what makes them most comfortable and most productive is going to lead to so much success in implementing any type of safety program because, you know, it's what they need and what they want. And so on top of, you know, trying to simplify everything and, and keep people safe, try to give them what they want at the same time and make sure that you're hearing them and hearing their needs to make sure that ultimately you keep them protected. And I think that's probably one of the biggest points.

Alsie (37:05):
So in addition to everything, Allie, that you just mentioned, I, I agree with all of that. I would say that, um, OSHA does have a water rest and shade campaign that they launched about 10 years ago and they, they kick out that guidance again, um, around may timeframe every year, but go on their website. They have a great they have a lot of great resources on their website around, um, suggestions about how to provide water, rest shade, come up with different preventative, um, work, rest schedules for your workers. Um, and then just planning for emergencies and training them around, um, different ways to make sure they're preventing heat related illnesses. So, so I would be remiss not to mention to, um, go on their website and take a look there, but then we also have a variety of different, um, resources available obviously our website. So feel free to reach out and ask any time there's any questions specific to different types of prevention plans or cooling PPE.

Al (38:05):
Yeah, absolutely. I I'd say to everybody out there on ergodyne.com best place to find, uh, resources on heat stress and dropped objects, uh, things like toolbox talks, uh, just deep dives into the topic itself. You can check out the tenacious blog again on ergodyne.com, um, and very easy to search those topics. So, so check that out. Alsie, Tim, thank you so much for joining us on the pod today.

Allie (38:31):
Thanks Al. Thanks Allie.

Tim (38:32):

Al (38:34):
Uh, I, appreciate your insight, um, and again, really encourage everybody to check out the tenacious blog for more info on all of these topics. Stay safe out there people.