ENR has announced their top 40 under 40, and many of the honorees are women of color. It is a distinct change from the usually Caucasian male dominated field.
Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) contractors have a lot on their plates. Writing a fire protection spec doesn’t need to be on their to-do list. F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems has been writing fire sprinkler and fire protection specifications since 1979. They know how to coordinate with insurance companies, AHJ’s, and building codes to write a spec that meets all of their needs.
Here are the top three reasons that outsourcing fire protection specification writing is the way to go.
1. Power plants and other energy storage facilities are complicated.
Power plants don’t have the same hazards that a commercial facility might have. On top of this, each part of the plant has different hazards that are unique and require different types of fire sprinklers and alarms.
2. Insurance companies and AHJs don’t always agree on how to protect power plants.
Power plants and other facilities need to get approval from both their insurance company and the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). Oftentimes, the two do not agree. F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems is experienced in working with them to come to an agreement and write a specification that will meet everyone’s needs.
3. We specialize in fire protection spec writing.
EPC contractors cannot specialize in everything. It would be in the EPC’s best interest to have a very detail-orientated fire protection specification to eliminate the need for contractors to include contingency money in their quotations. Bottom line; it saves the EPC money and there is no confusion or misinterpretation of the specification. That is why fire protection specification writing should be outsourced. If it is done incorrectly, it will slow down the progress of the project. Instead, hire someone who specializes in writing fire protection specifications for power plants.
F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems was recently contracted by an EPC to address issues that had occurred when they had tried to write the spec for a power plant. Once we were hired, we did a site visit, and wrote a detailed specification. The specification had everything that bidders would need, and the power plant was able to receive competitive, accurate bids. Because F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems wrote the spec, the power plant saved money because they received accurate bids. The next time they needed a fire protection spec written, they came to us first. If power plants want to save money on their fire protection project, it starts with a detail-oriented, thorough spec.
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Everyday in America, 13 people leave for work and never return home. That amounts to 4,690 employee deaths per year. With the use of Emergency Notification Systems in conjunction with Emergency Action Plans, companies have the opportunity to save lives.
Employee Alarm Systems, Mass Notification Systems, Emergency Communication Systems, Voice Intelligibility Systems - they are all slightly different, but they are all the same in what is important. They save lives. Emergencies occur every day, whether they are human error or a natural disaster, employees can act fast with the use of a notification system. With an emergency notification system, companies not only contribute to the safety of employees, but also meet NFPA and OSHA compliancy.
Emergency notification systems are essential in the safety of personnel. OSHA regulations can be unclear, but here are four facts that will help facilities maintain compliancy and keep employees safe.
1. There is more to an Employee Alarm System than merely notifying employees an emergency exists.
All plants are required by OSHA to have an Employee Alarm System in working areas (OSHA, section 29, CFR 1910.165). However, the type of system is left to the plant. According to OSHA, section 1910.165(3), "The goal of this standard is to assure that all employees that need to know an emergency exists can be notified of the emergency. The method of transmitting the alarm should reflect the situation found at the workplace."
While the means of alerting employees is the facility's choice, facilities are required to choose an alerting system that gives specific information about the emergency, providing employees with an action such as "evacuate" or "shelter-in-place." Another requirement for emergency notification systems is reliability. Specifically, all systems must be supervised, ensuring a staff member will be notified and rectify any issue with circuitry or power.
2. Employee Alarm System requirements vary based on the number of employees.
In worksites of ten or fewer employees, OSHA recommends "direct voice communication," or shouting. Worksites with more than ten employees use more sophisticated means of addressing emergencies. These include two-way radios, emergency telephone communication systems, site-wide warning sirens, and site-wide voice paging. To comply with the regulation for alerting employees of the next required action, many companies use multiple methods as part of their Emergency Action Plan.
3. OSHA requirements may not have changed, but did your facility?
OSHA, section 29, CFR 1910.165 has not changed in recent history, but has your facility or the community around you? Perhaps your facility has grown from nine employees to fifteen. With nine employees, simply shouting to a fellow co-worker about an emergency would suffice. However, at fifteen employees, now, a supervised emergency notification system with action steps is required.
As an example, let us say Facility X installed a Mass Notification System with pre-recorded alerts in 2000. Although, it may have been in compliance in 2000 and OSHA's regulations have not changed, Facility X and the United States environment has changed. If Facility X constructed an addition with bright lights and loud machinery, it is possible that the ambient noise or lighting overpowers the Mass Notification System. If the Mass Notification System is no longer bright or loud enough to overshadow the noise and lighting, then Facility X would be in violation.
In 2000, it is likely that "terrorist threat" was not pre-recorded on the Mass Notification System. Many early notification systems only used three signals: evacuate, used for fire; shelter-in-place, used for weather; and all-clear. If a terrorist threat was the emergency, what would be the appropriate action?
When the economy crashed in 2008, many people were laid off. Facility X laid off the supervisor of the Emergency Notification System, not realizing that supervising the notification system was a responsibility of theirs. The supervisor was never replaced, causing the facility to be non-compliant. Evaluate the Emergency Notification System once a year to ensure that it remains in compliance. Another option is to upgrade to an emergency notification system that provides flexible message editing or voice paging override.
4. Employee Alarm Systems VS. Mass Notification Systems
While Employee Alarm Systems work for many smaller applications, Mass Notification Systems are ideal for larger facilities. They have automatic pre-recorded messaging instructions for a wide variety of emergencies. In addition, they have the added benefit of voice paging in the event that the pre-recorded messages would not suffice or the exact location of the event is needed. Mass Notification Systems have the option to communicate partial evacuation or all clear messaging, reducing down operation time and can be integrated into other emergency notification system applications like text messaging or email notifications.
Safety of people, property, and production is imperative for the well being of a company. Emergency notification systems must be implemented in all workplaces of ten employees or more to maintain compliancy. Make sure your facility remains compliant by staying updated on OSHA and NFPA requirements, and remember, while OSHA regulations may not have changed, your facility may have.