July/August 2013 Issue
June 20, 2013

Workplace Health and Safety: Keep an eye out for summer renovations

Author: Wendy Hord
Source: NYSUT United

Major renovations and construction at schools and on college campuses usually start in summer when work can be done with fewer people around.

However, there are concerns that require attention.

Teachers, faculty and staff working in the summer can be subject to noise, construction dust, solvents and slip, trip and fall hazards if they are located in or near buildings under renovation.

All school employees should be aware that most work will not be completed before classes resume in the fall.

Some tips:

  • If you work in a public K-12 school, work must be done according to State Education Department regulations Part 155.5. They are protective of building occupants. You can find them at www.p12.nysed.gov/facplan/LawsRegs.htm.
  • If you don't work in a public school, use the regulations referenced above to develop a protocol your employer can adopt to protect occupants during a project.
  • Be sure to visit the areas being renovated a couple times during summer. This is especially important closer to classes starting in the fall. If strong solvents are used right before classes resume, they can cause sickness if areas are not well ventilated.