Presented by CEI Group

Author: Libby Cook

Recap of National Roofing Week 2024

June started with a bang as we celebrated National Roofing Week, presented by NRCA. June 2nd through 8th was spent showcasing our projects, community involvement, and hard-working employees. This year, we celebrated a different theme each day: Signature Projects, Charity Projects, Employee Appreciation, Employee Training, and Celebration.

Monday – Signature Projects:

We proudly showcased several impactful projects we completed in the past year. The first of these signature projects is Lake Trust Credit Union in Brighton, MI, a sheet metal and TPO roof project with incredible architectural design. The next project is Edgewood Country Club, a shingle roofing project in Commerce Charter Twp, MI. Lastly, the Catholic Central Stem Building in Novi, MI, is a slate, green roof and paver system project for the Detroit Catholic Central School. Each of these projects demonstrates our expertise and contribution to the communities we serve.  

Tuesday – Charity Projects:

Annually, we proudly sponsor multiple organizations that do important work. Some of those organizations include Bennett’s Beavers, Clara’s Hope, Hudson Mills Old Power Club, and Reaching Higher. Additionally, this year, we donated and helped roof a barn at the new Freedom River Veteran Recreational Center in Livingston County, MI. Also, we continue to support Cleary University in many aspects, from academics to athletics. Our commitment to giving back to our community is a testament to our values, and we are grateful for the opportunity to continue doing so. 

Wednesday – Employee Appreciation:

Our company’s success directly results from our employees’ dedication and hard work. During National Roofing Week, we took the opportunity to express our heartfelt appreciation to every one of our team members. We showed our gratitude by providing lunch for our entire staff. Pizzas were delivered to around 10 job sites for our roofing and sheet metal employees, while the service, shop, and office staff enjoyed breakfast sandwiches and a small pizza party. Our staff is the backbone of CEI, and expressing our appreciation is a small way to thank them for their continuous efforts. 

Thursday – Employee Training:

Training is very important in any industry, especially construction because we deal with dangerous and unique working conditions. That is why a top priority at CEI is to train our staff on safe work practices. Over the past year, our employees have undergone comprehensive training programs, including CPR training, OSHA 30, ladder safety, defensive driving, and RTF and MEWP training. These programs have equipped our employees with the necessary skills and knowledge to ensure their safety and the quality of our work. 

Friday – National Roofing Week Celebration:

To wrap up National Roofing Week, we decided to celebrate by gifting our employees National Roofing Week T-shirts designed by Libby Cook. These T-shirts symbolize our pride in the roofing industry and our appreciation for our employees’ hard work. National Roofing Week allows us to recognize the importance of the roofing industry in all aspects while having fun. We are honored to be able to give our employees something to show our appreciation and to celebrate the week.

Heat Illness Prevention: How to Prevent Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion While at Work

Heat illnesses like heat stroke and exhaustion should not be taken lightly. As roofers, our daily exposure to heat is a significant risk. Roofs, with their ability to absorb heat, can reach temperatures up to 170° F, surpassing the outside temperature. This means that you’re still at risk even if you’re not working directly under the sun. However, the good news is that heat-related illnesses are preventable. Here are some essential tips for keeping yourself healthy and preventing summer heat illnesses!

Types of Heat Illnesses

Heat cramps 

Heat cramps are often the first sign of heat illness, resulting in dehydration and a lack of electrolytes. Painful muscle spasming or cramping, usually in the arms, legs, and abdomen, is the most obvious sign of heat cramps and excessive sweating.

Heat Exhaustion

If you are experiencing heat exhaustion, your body is overheating and cannot properly cool due to a lack of salts and fluids. Someone with heat exhaustion will exhibit excessive sweating, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, and headache. The excessive sweating associated with heat exhaustion is especially problematic because the body is already dehydrated and cannot replace the fluids lost through sweating, worsening the condition.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is the most serious form of heat illness, arising from untreated heat exhaustion or independently.

When heat stroke occurs, the body has overheated to the point where the organs malfunction and shut down. The brain swells, the intestines become more permeable, and the blood vessels dilate, causing blood pressure to drop. On the outside, a person experiencing heat stroke will display a fever, dry and hot skin, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, confusion, agitation, and lethargy.

Extreme cases might even result in seizures or a coma. Note that once a person has reached the heat stroke level, they stop sweating excessively and show dry, hot skin. This is because the body has become dehydrated to the point where it can no longer produce sweat to cool itself down, and it marks a significant progression from heat exhaustion to heat stroke. If you or someone else is experiencing a heat stroke, call 911 immediately, start cooling that person down with water and ice, and remove unnecessary clothes. 

Signs Of Heat Illnesses

There are common signs and symptoms to watch while working in extreme heat conditions.

  • Cramps and fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Weakness or dizziness
  • Heavy sweating or hot, dry skin
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Thirst
  • Decreased urine output

If you or someone you see are experiencing these symptoms, take action by:

  • Give them water to drink
  • Move them to a cooler area
  • Cool them with water, ice, or a fan
  • Remove unnecessary clothing
  • Do not leave them alone
  • If in doubt, call 911 or seek medical care

Tips to Prevent Heat Illnesses

  • Drink water before, during, and after work. Avoid energy drinks or sodas while working in the heat or direct sun, as these can quickly dehydrate you.
  • Take your break in the shade or cool area. Find a cool, air-conditioned, or shaded area on lunch and breaks. If someone or yourself is beginning to experience heat exhaustion or cramps, it’s a good time to take a break to cool off and rehydrate!
  • Dress appropriately for the heat. Even if the morning is cooler, wear layers that you can take off for warmer afternoons!
  • Understand your risks when it comes to heat! Working indoors and outdoors can put you at risk for heat illnesses. 

Now that you know the signs and symptoms of heat illnesses, you can better prevent them at work. Watch out for yourself and your crew members during these summer months! 

Resources:

Foster, K. (2019, June 19). Heat Illness Prevention: Keeping Your Roofing Crews Safe. AccuLynx. https://acculynx.com/keep-your-roofing-crew-safe-from-heat-illness/

Prevent Heat Illness at Work Ways to Protect Yourself, and Others Ease into Work. Nearly 3 out of 4 fatalities from heat illness happen during the first week of work. (n.d.). https://www.osha.gov/sites/default/files/publications/3431_wksiteposter_en.pdf

April Is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

This month, we are bringing awareness to distracted driving. The Hands-Free law recently passed in Michigan, is to prevent distracted driving. Yet it is still important to remind ourselves of the dangers of distracted driving; besides that, it’s against the law.

What is considered distracted driving?

There are three main distractions: Visual, Manual, and Cognitive.

Visual is taking your eyes off the road. Manual is taking your hands off the wheel. While cognitive is taking your mind off the drive.

That means you cannot manually do any of the following on a cell phone or other electronic device while driving, according to the law:

  • Make or answer a telephone or video call.
  • Send or read a text or email message.
  • Watch, record, or send a video.
  • Access, read, or post to social media.
  • Browse or use the Internet.
  • Enter information into GPS or a navigation system.

“Texting is the most alarming distraction because it involves all three types of distraction. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, driver inattention is the leading factor in most crashes and near-crashes,” michigan.gov writes.

We must take precautions to reduce distractions while driving. AAA has some tips to help ensure your safety on the road.

AAA’s Top 5 Tips for Helping to Reduce Driving

  1. Before you begin driving, plan your trip, program GPS systems, set mirrors and climate controls, etc.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the features of your vehicle’s equipment before you hit the road.
  3. Use message-taking functions and return calls when you’re stopped at a safe location.
  4. Whenever possible, ask passengers to help you perform activities that may be distracting.
  5. Secure mobile devices and any objects that may move and distract you while driving.

Protect loved ones from the dangers of distracted driving by reminding them to keep their eyes on the road. If your driver is texting or distracted, tell them to stop and focus on the road. Ask your friends and family to join you in pledging not to drive distracted.

Remeber don’t tempt fate, the text can wait. Go Hand-Free!

#JustDrive

March was Ladder Safety Month, but Keep It In Mind Year-round!

March was National Ladder Safety Month. As we move into April, we wanted to share some ladder best practices and training tips from the National Ladder Safety Month website to keep in mind. Whether using a ladder at home or on a job, remembering safety guidelines and best practices is the best way to avoid potential hazards!

Ladder Training

If a job requires you to use ladders daily, provide proper training to all individuals using ladders. Even if you use a ladder at home, awareness of best practices never hurts.

  • Educate users on ladder safety guidelines, best practices, and potential hazards.
  • Instruct users to read and follow all the safety information labels on the ladder.
  • Promote a culture of safety awareness where workers actively identify and report
    ladder safety concerns.

Identify Factors that Can Contribute To Falls

Avoid factors contributing to falls from ladders like – haste or sudden movement, overreaching, lack of attention, improper climbing posture such as standing too high or straddling the ladder, and carrying objects while not maintaining three points of contact.

Best practices are:

  • Preplan – Inspect and know the hazards within your work environment.
  • Choose the correct ladder for the job – a self-supporting stepladder or a non-self-supporting leaning, single, or extension ladder.

Setting Up a Ladder

Ensure proper ladder setup with placement on a firm level surface, and use
accessories (levelers, stabilizers, V-rung, etc.) to accommodate any irregular
setup conditions.

Some tips to follow are:

  • Secure your ladder where possible by tying off, blocking, bracing, or having an
    assistant holds the ladder.
  • Never attempt to move or reposition any ladder while it is occupied.

Setting up a Stepladders:

  1. Fully open and lock spreaders.
  2. Support ALL FOUR feet – no elevated feet.

Setting up Leanable Ladders:

  1. Support at all four corners – both feet and both top rails on firm surfaces.
    • Do not rest the ladder against the top rung.
  2. Position at a 75° angle to avoid sliding out:
    • Place your toes against the bottom of the ladder side rails and stand erect.
    • Adjust the ladder angle to grasp lower section rails at shoulder level with arms straight.
    • Only move or reposition a self-supporting extension ladder after retraction and from the ground.
    • Never adjust the ladder position or extended length from above.

Climbing a Ladder

Climb slowly and deliberately.

  • Follow the three points of contact rule – face the ladder and use both hands while
    climbing up and down.
  • Keep both hands free for climbing. Use a towline, tool belt, or an assistant to lift tools
    and equipment up to the work area.

Maintaining Balance While Working

Maintain your balance while working and avoid sudden movements.

  • Lean into or hold onto the ladder to maintain three points of contact.
  • Keep the center of your stomach between the ladder side rails – do not overreach or
    lean so you do not fall off the ladder.
  • Wear clean, slip-resistant work shoes.

Best practices for Stepladder:

  1. Do not stand on the top step, top cap or straddle the top.
  2. Do not access another surface unless it has been secured from side movement.

Best practices for Leaning/ Extension ladders:

  1. Do not stand on the top three rungs.

Transport and Storage:

Properly secure your ladder during transport to avoid excessive wear and
Loading at the vehicle support points. Store ladders where they are protected from unsafe materials, impact, or corrosion damage.

Check out https://www.laddersafetymonth.com/safety-resources/articles/ for more resources on Ladder Safety.

And remember to be safe while climbing!

Tips for Driving Safely in Winter Weather Conditions

Cars driving on a highway are stuck in traffic because of a snowstorm.

We all know that winter weather can cause hazardous road conditions. Whether snow, sleet, or ice, preparing yourself – and your vehicle – for the winter weather is vital to making winter driving as easy as possible. We found a few tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for winter weather driving.

The Basics

Most importantly, slow down! Controlling or stopping your vehicle on a slick or snow-covered surface is more challenging. Increase the distance between you and others ahead so you have plenty of time to stop your car. 

Also, don’t crowd a snow plow or travel beside the truck. Snow plows travel slowly, make wide turns, stop often, overlap lanes, and exit the road frequently. If you find yourself behind a snow plow, stay far enough behind it and use caution if you pass the plow.

What to Do in an Emergency?

If your car gets stopped or stalled, be sure to focus on you and your surroundings. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind:

  • Stay in your vehicle, and don’t overexert yourself. 
  • Let your vehicle be seen. Turn on your emergency flashers, put bright markers on the antenna or windows, and keep the interior dome light on. 
  • Be mindful of carbon monoxide poisoning. Ensure your exhaust pipe is clear of snow, and run your car just long enough to stay warm. Don’t run your car for long periods with the windows up or in an enclosed space.

Prepare Your Vehicle 

  • Check your headlights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flasher, and interior lights. 
  • During the winter, you can quickly go through windshield wiper fluid. Be sure to fill your reservoir with “winter” fluid with de-icer before winter snowfall. Also, check your windshield wipers to see if they need to be replaced. Consider heavy-duty windshield wipers!
  • Make sure your vehicle has enough coolant. If not, check the cooling system for leaks, test the coolant, and drain or replace the old coolant. 
  • Also, it is always a good idea to visit your mechanic to check your vehicle for the basics –  oil changes, tire rotations, leaks, and any need for replacements or repairs.

Lastly, before you go out, make sure you gas up, stock your car with essential items – like ice scrapers and emergency kit, and plan your route.  

As always, ensure you are safe when driving in extreme winter weather. Go slow and be aware of your surroundings and other vehicles! 

References

Insurance Information Institute. (2020). Driving in winter? Be prepared and stay safe | III. Iii.org. https://www.iii.org/article/winter-driving

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2022). Winter Weather Driving Tips | NHTSA. Www.nhtsa.gov. https://www.nhtsa.gov/winter-driving-tips

Looking to 2024 – New Year, New Opportunities, New Work!

Happy New Year, and Welcome to 2024!

CEI will look to expand and grow this year as new projects, opportunities, and even challenges are brought to us! We want to share a special note from our very own President, Eric Cook, that reflects on 2023 and looks into 2024.

Hello there from the President,

2023 for CEI was one of the best years we have had. We want to thank many people, including a hard-working staff of employees and their families, for helping CEI get there! We were able to work about 18% more hours than last year, thanks to Mother Nature for a big part of that, as well as our estimators, who did a great job getting the work that we needed to be able to do that!

CEI is looking at 2024 and is working towards being able to do the same or even better than 2023. We have lined up a great amount of work for 2024 already and are working hard to find even more. With that being said, CEI wants to thank you for a great year, and we are looking forward to the next trip around the sun with all of you.

Please remember that together, we make CEI Rock!

Happy New Year,
The Prez
Eric Cook

Trends that are Driving Change in the Roofing Industry

In our monthly newsletter, we have been highlighting five trends in the roofing industry that are sparking changes in how we go about roofing. The NRCA presented an article on the topic, and we decide to share with you our thoughts on the subject.

As you can see, the roofing industry is not the same as it was 50 years ago. Multiple advances have happened to the products we use, regulations for roofers, and even in the information needed for bidding. We can’t turn a blind eye to several trends that are forcing change to happen in the industry today.

Trend 1: Extreme Weather

As we experienced in 2018 and 2019, the weather is getting more unpredictable. From hurricanes and tornados to wet and rainy summers to snowy and cold winters, our weather conditions are not what they used to be. Across the broad more extreme weather is taking effect on the performance of roof systems. Hurricanes across the south boards with high winds and heavy rain are a threat. Just in Michigan, we have been experiencing tropical storms with heavy winds and shower along with the winters being below 15 degrees one day, and the next is 45 degrees and wet. High winds are the most concerning because it can pull up roof coverings and expose the roof deck to water.

These quickly changing conditions are forcing the roofing industry to take a look at the old roofing system to make the appropriate modification. The goal is to make roofs more durable and more protective to withstand the unpredictable weather.

Trend 2: Insurance Standards

With the threat from the extreme weather conditions, Insurance companies are influencing how often roof systems are replaced, the type of products that are being installed, and how they are installed on the roofs. Insurance companies are forcing building owners and contractors to install high quality performing roof systems by making better products and installation methods more attractive. Therefore there are fewer insurance claims due to damaged roofs.

“As a trend in 2020 and beyond, you can expect to see IBHS standards and others like them become more common throughout the U.S. and Canada as roofing contractors make them part of their businesses,” Jack Gottesman writes in the NRCA article.

Trend 3: Building Codes

Like insurance standards, building codes are adapting to severe weather conditions as well. State and Local governments are incentivizing more robust, weather-resistant, and efficient roof systems to protect the citizens from damage to their homes and buildings.

They are mandating roof systems that stand up to high wind, heavy rain, and snow. Along with mandating more efficient roofing materials. For example, in California, they require solar-reflective shingles to help with energy use.

Trend 4: Innovative products

With the new building code and insurance, standards come new products to meet them. The roofing materials that offer minimum protection is no longer good enough. Manufacturers are bringing forth products that provide more options. For example, products that a wind-resistant, impact-resistant, and heat-reflective shingles, helping contractors meet demands.

Beyond 2020 manufacturers are bringing new innovative products to the industry that will give contractors the ability to offer higher protection to their customers.

Trend 5: Informed Consumers

One of the most important trend that is shaping the roofing industry and other industries as well- is the fact that consumers are more informed than ever.

For multiple years we haven’t seen significant changes in the buying and selling process of roof systems. During those days, building owners had little knowledge of roofing products and even less interest in them; they simply relied on the contractors. Nowadays, consumers can’t help but be more informed on what products are higher quality and the methods used for installing the roofing systems. With media blowing up everywhere, consumers now are better educated, savvier, and more skeptical.

Back then, consumers were buying the contractors, not the material brands. But consumers are barraged with information on weather conditions, natural disasters, and how to save a few bucks. So the bottom line when it comes down to their roofs, they are going to do some research before making a purchasing decision.

This forces contractors to be informed of the trends in the industry and to make better decisions on their methods and products that are being used or that they recommend.

Despite these constant changes with the industry, one thing has stayed the same: Good looking roofs. Although these trends may be a burden on contractors at first, they are necessary to continue to keep people safe and keeping the building looking good.

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