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Kakashi Member Posts: 88
To make a long story short as a professional basement and attic dweller, what do you guys use to keep yourself safe in an attic? At our shop we only tend to do attic stuff in the morning but, our new manager in the office has started to just send one guy in the afternoon. Generally we used to have two techs to keep each other safe.

One of our older techs passed out on Tuesday, when our office didn't hear from him in two hours they sent me there to figure out whats was going on, I had to drag him out of the attic and called 911, I've had back surgery so I had 7 break ice packs in my van and lots of ice water. The 911 operator told me to cool him off as much as possible and not just cool his head off, broke all of my bags, 3 on his head 2 on his heart and the rest in other places, poured all my ice water over him, medics got there and patted me on the head.

I got pulled into our manger's office and got yelled at for making a mess....I started laughing....

Anyway, do you guys use anything to keep you safe? I have been setting my phone on a 10 minute timer and have an ice water bottle with me and a lolly pop, my mom taught me if you can't make enough spit for the lolly pop the answer is obvious and drink more water.

What do you guys do to keep yourself safe during the summer?


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 18,977
    Much as I dislike regulation...

    OSHA has some regs. on working in hot conditions.  Mostly it's common sense (which seems to be anything but, as your tale shows) -- plenty of water.  Maybe electrolytes, but I go easy on those.  And most of all limited time in hot environments; OSHA has tables for that, and the amount of rest required between.  The .pdf from this link is useful: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2011-174/

    You did the right things!  Your boss?  Not so much so.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • meplumber
    meplumber Member Posts: 678
    Time to go over your manager's head.

    This guy is creating an incredibly unsafe environment.  As an owner, I need to know when a recently hired or promoted manager isn't doing what's in the best interest of the company. 

    I lean on my older techs for that.  They know that the door is open and I know that they won't sugar coat it.  This guy is on the verge of a MAJOR accident.  As Jamie said, those OSHA regs are there for a reason.  If they find your company in violation after a death or major lost time accident, the fines will be very steep.

    You did the right thing.  Good job.
  • bill nye_3
    bill nye_3 Member Posts: 307

    Maybe you should lock your new manager in the car with the windows rolled up........ maybe he will understand. "Stupidity" sums it up, common sense is not common anymore. I would not put my life at risk for this guy.
  • Kakashi
    Kakashi Member Posts: 88

    Yeah, when it's hot out everyone gets a little uppity and they try and push us harder. We can take it during the winter but, summer time...

    I've been looking into bluetooth thermometers so he will know when to pull out. Unfortunately, I have only seen meat thermometers...

    Since the guy helped training me a lot...I want to take care of him, the only reliable things out there that can take the sweat are Casio watches. They aren't exactly what I want but, you can set the timer for 5 minutes or so and keep resetting it while keeping an eye on the thermometer part. I am going to keep looking over the weekend. I really wanted something that would yell at you and tell you to get out asap at a certain temperature.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    All locked up:

    You can't fix stupid.

    The new "manager" probably has an advanced degree in Business management from some big university. Even at McDonalds, they have rules about how much heat employees in kitchens are exposed to.

    Did anyone tell you that you saved the employee's life? He was very close to being toes up permanently. You're company policy about only working in the AM in hot attics is only partially correct. In a hot attic, the air may not be able to absorb much moisture. Evaporation is cooling (remember how cooling towers work) Humans sweat and the evaporation of the sweat moisture contributes to cooling. If the sweat can't evaporate off the skin, the body can't cool. The company should be supplying great big plug in fans for working in attics or anywhere that it is hot, If they are not, they could be considered negligent. Does the company provide First Aid Kits and Fire Extinguishers in the trucks?

    Its a good thing you had ice packs with you. What was his oral or body temperature then the EMT's got there? If it was over 106, he was in serious danger, Any higher and he was in GRAVE danger. If it was this high, and when he comes back to work, and he doesn't seem to be as sharp as he was before, like maybe he is a little Ta-Ta, he might have easily suffered brain damage. Did he feel cold and clammy when you found him?

    I really hope that the ER personnel didn't just give him the once over and send him home. With what you describe, he should have spent the night for observation. THAT would have been a OSHA reportable incident. Without a careful follow up my medical personnel, he could just be thrown under the bus and left to dry out on the vine.

    I always carried a portable fan in my truck.

    I'll have add "Service Managers" to my list of what "they become".

    Those that can, do. Those that can't, become X,X,X, and Service Managers.

    May he be banished to a hot unconditioned attic space for a day when it is over 100 degrees out and high dew points and humidity. Having fans in the trucks will be a protected right under the Constitution and a Civil Right.

    Just disgusting.
  • TonyS
    TonyS Member Posts: 849
    What I do is simple

    since I am the only employee of this company we dont allow any attic jobs when its hot or make the recommendation of removing the ridiculous system and install ductless. LOL
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Heat Monitors:

    Like this? Cheap at 10X the price.

    Even NASCAR race drivers on hot summer Sundays need cooling while racing. They can be killed.

  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    edited July 2014
    Big Fans:

    Big fans in the attic or basement make work tolerable and safe. You can buy cheap big single blade window fans for as low as $10.00 at supermarkets and Big Bos Stores like HD & Lowes. Those neck things don't work. Or so says my wife who rides her horse in 90+ Florida heat/weather.

    Its more comfortable riding a mountain bike in hot 100 temperature sun than to sit in the shade with no wind in the same conditions. Evaporative cooling is the difference.

    Ones like this. You can find them cheaper. There are smaller ones too.

  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Pure Kitty:

    Tony, if you've never carted a big fan around with you in the summer to blow air across your @$$, you haven't experienced what pure kitty is.

    Try it. You might like it.
  • TonyS
    TonyS Member Posts: 849
    I bet blowing that

    fiberglass or rock wool around so it can cake up inside your sweaty pores is a whole new dimension i'm missing out on. But far be it from me to deny some young apprentice with a beeper his initiation rights. LOL
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,514
    Dont forget

    asbestos tainted Vermiculite Tony.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265

    The best is if you are wearing a short sleeve T-Shirt and you get fiberglass insulation on your hot & sweaty arms. You will itch when you go to bed for at least two nights.

    I wonder if lungs will itch for two days?
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,085
    Fiberglass and the itches

    I worked for a fiberglass company for a couple years and the only way I found to keep it away was layers.  I always wore a long sleeve T-shirt under my long sleeve Dickies button up shirt and that usually helped.  It was scorching hot, but I dealt and drank tons of water.  Not quite attic hot, but we weren't allowed fans or much ventilation because it could mess with the curing process of the fiberglass as well as all the EPA regulations for VOC's etc.  Heat stroke and exhaustion were primary concerns in the summer so we all had training and always watched out for people.  Conversation was encouraged because holding a conversation required brain function and when you get hot that can be a first sign of problems.  Oh and we had respirators on a lot so that didn't help.  Sending people into an attic, in the summer and alone seems ludicrous to me on all levels.  Cutting corners and sacrificing safety is never worth the profits.  Kakashi is a hero and should be commended you saved a life as far as I am concerned that is a fact.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Wayco Wayne_2
    Wayco Wayne_2 Member Posts: 2,472
    Well done.

    Its got to feel great to help out your co worker. I think I'll buy some cold packs for my crew.