Archive | May, 2016

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Controlling Exposure to Methylene Chloride

Posted on 26 May 2016 by cradmin

methylene-chloride-chemical-label-lb-1584-86Several chemicals that are commonly found in countertop fabrication shops and used by countertop installers pose a potential health risk to employees and others who are exposed, and one of the most dangerous is methylene chloride. Methylene chloride exposure in the workplace is strictly controlled by federal OSHA standards and 28 OSHA-approved state standards.

Methylene chloride is a colorless liquid with an odor similar to that of chloroform, and it is used in several industrial and commercial processes, including paint stripping, sealer stripping, resin production, metal cleaning/degreasing and adhesives manufacturing and use.

Federal Exposure Limits

The most common routes of overexposure for employees are through inhalation and skin contact. The federal action level for airborne methylene chloride is 12.5 ppm over an eight-hour time-weighted average (TWA). This means that businesses with this level of exposure are mandated to comply with controls, including exposure monitoring and medical surveillance.

The short-term exposure limit (STEL) to methylene chloride for employees is 125 ppm over 15 minutes, and the permissible exposure limit (PEL) is 25 ppm over eight hours. These limits were set in 1997, and a regularity review conducted in 2010 determined that these levels are justified in protecting the health of U.S. workers.

Remember, however, that these are the federal exposure limits. You may live in one of the 28 states that override the federal standard, and the limits in your state could be more stringent.

Dangers of Methylene Chloride

Methylene chloride has been declared a potential occupational carcinogen by OSHA, a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a possible human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). It has been banned altogether from paint strippers in the European Union (EU), and it is prohibited from being used in 13 product categories in California.

From 2000 to 2016, a total of 14 people have died in the U.S. from acute overexposure to methylene chloride. Thirteen of these fatalities were bathtub refinishers, and the other worked in a paint-manufacturing facility. However, furniture strippers and anyone else coming into contact with airborne or liquid methylene chloride are susceptible to adverse health effects.

Short-term exposure to high concentrations of methylene chloride can produce the following symptoms:

  • Confusion
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Vomiting

Skin exposure to liquid methylene chloride can cause irritation, redness, swelling and burns, and it can be equally irritating to the eyes, mouth and upper digestive system. In addition, long-term exposure may produce the following adverse health effects:

  • Dry, cracked and inflamed skin
  • Liver damage
  • Central nervous system (CNS) damage
  • Aggravation of existing angina and heart conditions
  • Increased risk of cancer

Hazard Controls for Methylene Chloride

A number of controls are mandated and recommended by OSHA and other chemical-hazard experts. The first of which is communicating the hazard to employees and other employers at multi-employer worksites. Workers must be trained about the hazard and how to reduce exposure. The best course of action to take is to replace all products with methylene chloride, but if this is not possible, other measures must be taken.

Products containing methylene chloride should not be used in confined or unventilated spaces, and additional exhaust ventilation should be in place when used indoors. Simply opening windows and using household room fans are not sufficient for ventilation. Full-face, supplied-air respirators should be provided to employees in areas with high concentrations of methylene chloride, and protective gloves and clothing should be worn at all times.

Areas where methylene chloride is used must be marked as regulated areas, and restrictions should on access to these areas should be implemented. In addition, employers are required to begin an exposure-monitoring program in regulated areas in some situations.

For further information about methylene chloride, refer to OSHA Publication 3144-06R or contact the nearest state or federal OSHA office.

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Caesarstone Announces Departure of CEO

Posted on 25 May 2016 by cradmin

CaesarstoneCaesarstone Sdot-Yam Ltd. (CSTE), a manufacturer of engineered quartz surfaces, announced that Yos Shiran, the company’s CEO, has informed the company that he is resigning to pursue other interests. Shiran will continue to serve as CEO of the company for the next three months. Caesarstone’s Board of Directors has begun the search for the company’s next CEO and is committed to a seamless transition.

Yonathan Melamed, Chairman of the Board of Caesarstone commented, “On behalf of the board, I would like to express our sincere appreciation and gratitude to Yos Shiran for his many outstanding contributions to Caesarstone. We were fortunate to have him lead the company to many notable achievements since his appointment as CEO in January 2009. Yos’ extraordinary vision, business acumen and leadership guided Caesarstone to its position as the global countertop market leader with a strong brand recognized around the world, innovative products, a culture of excellence and in a position for continued growth in the future”.

Yos Shiran, Chief Executive Officer of Caesarstone said, “It has been an honor to lead Caesarstone these past 7 and a half years. I am proud of what we have accomplished as a team and I am convinced that Caesarstone has the strength and capabilities to continue its growth as a strong force in our industry globally. It has also been my great privilege to work with dedicated and skilled employees at Caesarstone and with committed suppliers and customers around the world. I am grateful for the hard work Caesarstone’s team has invested to turn our company into a global leader with best in class performance in the industry”.

You may also be interested in this video about Caesarstone’s U.S. manufacturing plant.

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Arborite Announces New American Acquisition

Posted on 24 May 2016 by cradmin

ArboriteArborite, a Montreal-based manufacturer of high pressure laminate (HPL) and subsidiary of Wilsonart Engineered Surfaces, is acquiring Lamin-Art, Inc., a decorative surfaces brand based in Chicago (Schaumburg, Ill.) Previously a private-held company, Kevin Geijer, a 16-year Wilsonart veteran, has been appointed general manager of Lamin-Art.

“The Lamin-Art business model nests beautifully into our brand strategy,” said Salvatore Rivera, president of Arborite. “Lamin-Art has earned a distinctive brand cachet in the commercial interior design markets. Their unique offering allows us to provide even more design and product choice to customers.”

“Lamin-Art is proud of our exceptional employees and the loyal customers we’ve earned over more than 50 years,” said Donald Krog, former owner and president of Lamin-Art. “Together with Arborite’s resources and expertise, the business will continue to evolve and grow.”

The acquisition is expected to finalized by the end of May 2016.

You may also be interested in this article about the ‘Save A Sample! Program’ sponsored by Wilsonart & Arborite.

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Need New Talent? Hire a Veteran

Posted on 23 May 2016 by cradmin

HireVetsFirst2If you have positions open in your shop or office or you are planning on expanding, you may want to consider hiring a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces for the job. According to the Veterans’ & Training Service (VETS), veteran unemployment has dropped 23 of the last 24 months to reach a low of 3.9 percent, but that still leaves more than 752,000 able-bodied veterans still unemployed. Many veterans still have a difficult time landing jobs, but plenty of resources as well as tax incentives are available for employers who can help these hard-working Americans earn a decent living.

Where to Find Veterans

Many employers across the country have stated that they would prefer to hire veterans over most other job candidates, but they simply don’t know how to find them. However, several resources are available through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), other government agencies and several nonprofit organizations.

A great place to start searching for veterans in need of jobs is through the Department of Labor’s dedicated website for veteran employment: This program provides one-on-one assistance to veterans through 2,500 American Job Centers in local cities and communities throughout the nation.

In addition to other services for job seekers, the website also provides resources for employers. You can make a public commitment to hire veterans and receive a free hiring toolkit titled America’s Heroes at Work. You can also post job descriptions and current opening and connect with a region al employer outreach specialist who can provide local resources for hiring veterans.

Other resources that could offer assistance in locating veterans in need of work are as follows:

Incentives for Hiring Veterans

The U.S. government provides several incentives to employers who hire veterans, which are detailed in the Guide to Hiring Veterans published by the White House in 2012. While some of the tax incentives in the guide are slightly outdated, a tax guide for 2016 was recently published by The primary credit available is the Returning Heroes Tax Credit, which provides an incentive of up to $5,600 for hiring unemployed veterans, and a credit of up $9,600 is offered through the Wounded Warriors Tax Credit. Other credits may also be available through the Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration.

It is also possible for employers to be reimbursed for training some unemployed veterans through the VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) services. This program pays qualified veterans half of their salary for six to nine months while in training in addition to the tax credits. Finally, you can take part in a non-paid work experience program. In this program, participants are not paid a wage, but they receive a monthly subsistence allowance by the VR&E.

This Memorial Day, consider doing something more to show our veterans you care by offering them the jobs they need to support themselves and their families.

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MIA+BSI Introduces Spanish Safety Poster Set

Posted on 20 May 2016 by cradmin

MIA+BSI Safety Poster Eng+SpanMIA+BSI: the Natural Stone Institute announced that the 2016 safety poster set is now available in Spanish. Both English and Spanish poster sets are available for purchase in the association bookstore. The release of the Spanish safety posters continues a yearlong safety initiative that has included increased education, advocacy, and resources for the natural stone industry.

Ted Skaff, chair of the MIA+BSI Safety Committee and VP of Marketing at Lackmond Products, Inc., said, “We are pleased to see the introduction of the Spanish safety posters. Our safety committee has worked long and hard on this project and it is nice to see it complete, allowing our safety message to reach more industry professionals. We are sure that this will help create a safer environment in both the short and long term by bringing awareness to safety. The safety committee will continue to strive forward, providing the industry new safety materials that will be beneficial to all. Remember—safety first!”

MIA+BSI would like to thank the following companies who assisted with translation: Lurvey Project Group, Dee Brown, Inc., Cosentino, and Laticrete.

You may also be interested in our Health & Safety Watch article series with tips on effective safety planning.

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KCMA Board Elects Natz as New CEO

Posted on 19 May 2016 by cradmin

KCMA Betsy NatzThe Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association (KCMA) Board of Directors elected Betsy Natz to the position of CEO. Natz succeeds Dick Titus as the KCMA Executive Vice President. Betsy Natz joined the organization in January of 2016 and brings many years of executive-level leadership experience to KCMA. Natz is an association executive with experience as congressional aid to two U.S. Senators and President Ronald Reagan. She served as an Executive Director for The Institute of Clean Air Companies (ICAC), the Formaldehyde Council, Inc., and Styrene Information and Research Center (SIRC). Her experience includes outreach efforts aimed at congress/executive branch/white house and regulatory agencies serving as an industry spokesperson on issues of importance to the industry groups she represented. Natz is a big-picture thinker that has a keen ability to capture opportunity, navigate change and lead a team to raise the visibility, impact and excellence of an organization. “I’m very excited to come onboard as CEO for KCMA and build upon the outstanding foundation that Titus has developed over many years,” says Natz. KCMA is looking forward to a prosperous future under the leadership of Natz, both carrying Dick Titus’ legacy and creating one of her own.

You may also be interested in this article about 15 rules for effective teams.

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StoneTalk Episode 22: Jeremiah Rivers

Posted on 18 May 2016 by cradmin is pleased to present Episode 22 of Moraware’s StoneTalk podcast with host Patrick Foley. In this episode Patrick talks with Jeremiah Rivers of Rivers’  Edge Countertops, Inc. in Oklahoma. The two discuss several topics relevant to the countertop industry, including the following:

  • Setting your business apart in a market that has become saturated
  • Developing a strong relationship with one primary distributor
  • Using financial guarantees to secure loyalty from retail customers and wholesale clients
  • How keeping your employees happy helps keep your customers happy
  • Why you should hire on integrity rather than skill

To read a full transcript of this podcast, visit the Moraware website here: Episode 22 – Jeremiah Rivers.

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The Pinske Edge Announces 100 Percent ESOP Ownership

Posted on 17 May 2016 by CRadmin2

Pinske Edge The Pinske Edge announced it is now a 100 percent employee-owned company. This announcement of the Employee Stock Ownership Plan & Trust (ESOP) was made to The Pinske Edge employees at a special meeting held at the company’s headquarters in Plato, MN. An ESOP is an employee benefit plan, which provides company stock to employees as part of their retirement benefits. As a 100 percent ESOP owned company, all of The Pinske Edge, Inc. stock is now held in trust by the ESOP exclusively for the benefit of The Pinske Edge employees. “I’ve been thinking about an ESOP for the last few years and I’m very happy that this has finally become a reality,” said CEO Tom Pinske. Establishing an ESOP achieves a couple of Tom’s goals for the company. First, he wants to reward his employees, many of whom have been with the company for more than 20 years; second, he wants to ensure that the company headquarters remains in Plato, MN, where his family has deep roots. “We are excited to become an employee owned company,” said Scott Nelson, President of The Pinske Edge. “We believe providing ownership to employees as a company benefit will lead to greater employee satisfaction, reduced turnover, and a more rewarding work experience. As a 100 percent employee owned company, we are able to create a companywide culture of employee empowerment and responsibility.”

You may also be interested in this article about being a diversity concious manager.


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Franke Presents Fast-In Quick Install Kitchen Sink System

Posted on 16 May 2016 by CRadmin2

Franke’s Fast-In Quick Install Kitchen Sink SystemFranke’s Fast-In Quick Install Kitchen Sink System is now available in Lowe’s stores. The system allows for simple no-tools-required, top-mount installation. It is available for single-bowl or double-bowl designs and in traditional or hand-crafted, modern styles. The Fast-In’s pre-attached, spring-loaded clips are the first of its kind in the industry that make installation easier. Installers only need to drop the top-mount sink through the counter-surface opening and press down until the built-in clips click into position, rather than going underneath the sink to attach screws. Available in 18- or 20-gauge stainless steel, the sinks are suitable for for laminate, tile and solid-surface countertops. According to the company, they do not rust, chip or stain. They come in models with extra-large sink bowls and have slim rims and sound-dampening pads.  The sinks are available in one- and four-hole configurations for use with a variety of fixtures. Each sink carries a limited lifetime warranty.

You may also be interested in this article about what’s trending in kitchen sinks.

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Performance Abrasives Now Offers Extreme Orange Hook ‘n Loop Film Discs

Posted on 13 May 2016 by CRadmin2

Performance Abrasives

Performance Abrasives introduced its new Extreme Orange Hook ‘n Loop Film Discs. The discs are designed with a new “clog-free” technology that reportedly reduces paper loading and friction, extending the product life. According to the company the discs work well for finishing solid surface, wood and applications in which consistent surface finish, load resistance, durability and solid cutting performance are essential. The discs are available in any size and any grit.

You may also be interested in this article about sanding discs.

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