Archive | February, 2017

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Keep Motor Vehicle Safety in Mind

Posted on 24 February 2017 by cradmin

motor_vehicle_guide-trafficBecause the bulk of a countertop fabrication business is performed in the shop, and installers are focused on their projects, it can be easy to forget about driving in the context of workplace safety. However, according to the Department of Labor, of the 47,718 work-related fatalities reported from 2003 to 2011, a full 36 percent involved vehicle crashes and collisions.

Furthermore, the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) estimates that the costs for workers’ compensation from these injuries reach about $2.4 billion each year. To make matters worse, NIOSH states that nearly all of these crashes and injuries were avoidable.

Safety Calls for Employer Involvement

With each new generation, the safety of motor vehicles has been improved through new features and modifications, and that trend looks as though it will continue into the indefinite future. But the only sure way to minimize the risk to acceptable levels is for employers to take the appropriate steps and pay attention to what is going on in the workplace and with individual workers who need to drive to fulfill their duties.

While several government agencies have jurisdiction over road and driver safety, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) directly offers help to employers in developing and implementing effective driver safety programs. Not so long ago government regulatory agencies left motor vehicle safety to law enforcement, but this left a wide gap between receiving a license and violating a traffic law.

“We consciously set out to change that approach a number of years ago, recognizing that law enforcement will focus on what happens on the road but may disregard workplace factors and expectations that created the risk in the first place,” said Michael Wood, administrator of Oregon OSHA.

Workplace Driver Safety Programs

Although there are rules put in place by OSHA, state laws and other regulations aimed at reducing motor vehicle crashes and injuries, it is up to each employer to create an effective driver safety program. Following are a few guidelines for doing so:

  • Put your vehicle safety policy in writing, and have employees acknowledge they understand it with their signatures.
  • Get a copy of the driving records for each employee who will be operating a company vehicle.
  • Properly investigate and report all motor vehicle incidents.
  • Ensure vehicles are regularly maintained according to the manufacturers’ maintenance schedules.
  • Provide incentives for good driving, and discipline employees who violate the vehicle safety policy.
  • Invest the time and money to ensure all employees who will be driving are fully trained to drive each type of vehicle and educated on the rules of the road.
  • Follow all of the rules, including registration and licensing.

NIOSH Five-Year Plan

NIOSH has been actively working to improve driver safety since 2010, when the agency opened the Center for Motor Vehicle Safety. The goal of the center is to bring together all of the various organizations and authorities, public, private and academic, to identify crash risk factors and develop employer interventions that will reduce car and truck accidents on the job.

No matter how comprehensive a driver safety program is, it always makes sense to remind drivers of a few basic safety tips:

  • Always wear seatbelts.
  • Focus on the road, and avoid distractions.
  • Stay alert and don’t drive while impaired, whether the impairment is caused by alcohol, illegal drugs or legally prescribed medications.
  • Stay calm in stressful situations.
  • Keep an eye out for pedestrians.
  • Secure all tools and equipment inside and outside the vehicle.
  • Have an emergency kit available.

For Further Information

If you would like more information about driver safety for employers, contact your state department of transportation, call your nearest OSHA office or visit the following websites: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), NIOSH Vehicle Safety and the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS).

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Alpha Introduces New Multi-Purpose Masking G-tape

Posted on 23 February 2017 by cradmin

Alpha® introduced a new multi-purpose masking, G-tape, a surface protection and repair tape designed to be used almost anywhere. According to the company the new tape is waterproof and tears straight and easily by hand. Igtape imaget is also highly weather and UV resistant and can be used in temperatures ranging from -40F to 200F. The ability to reposition the tape makes it suitable for quick repairs on a variety of surfaces. Additionally, the tape doesn’t leave any residue when removed. G-tape is 2 in. by 163 ft. and is available for delivery with a case quantity of 30.

You may also be interested in V-Groove tape from All Star Adhesives.

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StoneTalk Podcast Episode 31: Richard Ashoff

Posted on 22 February 2017 by cradmin

In this episode of Moraware’s StoneTalk podcast, host Patrick Foley interviews Richard Ashoff, president of Tylerco, which manufacturs and distributes SLABlite backlighting panels for countertops. The pair discuss several topics, including all of the following:

  • How SLABlite lights up translucent surfaces
  • Using the “wow” factor on the showroom floor to boost sales
  • How seemingly boring stone can be transformed with the proper backlighting
  • Fabricating a vanity that doubles as a nightlight

Read the full transcript of this episode here: StoneTalk Episode 31 – Richard Ashoff

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Bostik Launches Mobile App

Posted on 21 February 2017 by cradmin

bostikThe Bostik Construction USA mobile app is a jobsite specification tool developed to assist architects, construction professionals and do-it-yourself individuals with construction adhesive selection and proper installation. This free to download app features the Bostik Grout Calculator, Bostik training videos and product catalogs. The program also includes direct links to technical support and Safety Data Sheet Requests. The Mobile App supports iOS, Android and Windows devices.

You may also be interested in how mobile apps can help make workplaces safer.

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ConcreteNetwork.com Announces 2017 Interior Concrete Design Trends

Posted on 20 February 2017 by cradmin

red-hot-chili-pepper-sink-trueform-concrete_58381Each January, ConcreteNetwork.com, one of the most comprehensive online resources for concrete construction, releases its analysis of the latest design trends for interior concrete. For the past two years, however, the organization has only made this information available through its regular monthly newsletter about concrete countertops. Since many of our readers do not subscribe to the ConcreteNetwork.com newsletter, we thought it would be prudent to present these trends here on CountertopResource.com.

Colorful Sink Options

Home & Garden Television (HGTV) states that one of the biggest trends in kitchen design for 2017 is to make the sink a focal point through its color. White, ceramic-coated sinks and stainless steel are no longer fashionable, and homeowners are gravitating toward boldly colored concrete sinks.

Interior concrete, usually graphite fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC), can mixed with integral pigments to create a wide range of colors. For instance, black pigment creates a little darker version of the usual natural gray that stands out against white walls. Iron oxide can also be put into the mix to create bright red sinks, such as the chili pepper design pictured here.

Another great option is to use liquid pigments that can be mixed to create nearly any color, but in 2017, one of the hottest hues is lime green.

steel-joinery-concrete-counter-maple-inlay-total-concrete-innovations_83082Mixed Materials

Natural wood has been combined with other countertop materials, such as granite and marble, but in 2017, homeowners are just starting to understand that wood can be incorporated into concrete seamlessly and beautifully, like the bar top to the right, which uses maple as its centerpiece. The two materials are joined with steel bowties that add extra “decorative interest.”

Speaking of Bars

One of the biggest interior design trends in 2017 is for integral bars in the kitchen or dining room, but many people are just learning about how versatile concrete is for bar tops. The Home Trend Forecast from Zillow Digs claims that concrete bar tops will be popular this year because they can include a variety of amenities, including built-in sinks and purple-ligths-concrete-elegance-inc_4233custom lighting. One eye-catching design uses concrete mixed with glass that this then backlit with LED lights.

Cool Grays Make a Comeback

Various shades of gray are the most popular neutral colors for designers and homeowners in 2017. Of course, this trend can easily be met with natural concrete work. Whether it is countertops, floors, walls or fireplace surrounds, gray blends well with either light or dark accents.

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Business Sense: Change Your Passwords and Other Internet Security Advice

Posted on 17 February 2017 by cradmin

heartbleedIt was just two years ago when a far-reaching security vulnerability known as Heartbleed was discovered to affect about two-thirds of all online computer systems. Heartbleed was found to be a simple error in a few lines of code in OpenSSL, an encryption technology used by a wide range of businesses, including online retailers and major financial institutions. The error made it possible for cybercriminals to snoop through the memory banks of affected computers and steal personal information of businesses and their customers.

While the Heartbleed bug was simple to fix, it highlights the fact that computer coders are not perfect, and mistakes do happen. Some of these mistakes have yet to be found, and we can only hope that the good guys get to them before they can be maliciously exploited. This may not always be the case, so it is up to each individual and business to ensure that they are following the best practices when it comes to Internet security.

Following are a few tips to keep your online information safe from intruders:

  1. Keep your software updated. So many businesses are running outdated software that is no longer supported by the developer, and the longer it is used, the more time hackers have to find vulnerabilities that will never be fixed. For example, if you still run Windows XP rather than Windows 7, 8, 8.1 or 10, then you open yourself to attacks because this ancient software is no longer being updated by Microsoft, which means any security vulnerabilities that have been found since support was discontinued will remain in place forever.
  1. Change your passwords. Keeping your data secure is often as simple as using a secure password. Passwords should contain a variety of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and even symbols to make them difficult to crack. In addition, you never want to use the same password for every website or application you use. Have different passwords in place and change them at regular intervals.
  1. Use a password manager. Memorizing all of your passwords can be a daunting, if not impossible, task. Fortunately, you can use an application known as a password manager to keep all of your passwords safely stored in an encrypted file that only you can read. Several password managers are available today, and a few of the most reliable include LastPass, PassPack and 1Password.

Read more of this article by Patrick Foley of Moraware: Lessons from Heartbleed – time to change your passwords!

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Discussion on Edge Possibilities and Trends

Posted on 16 February 2017 by cradmin

This video, which was put out by marble.com, starts off a little promotional, but really digs into the subject of edge profiles. Running almost 9 minutes long, the video covers a ton of different edge options, which are more popular in what parts of the country, what kind of tooling is used and how difficult they are to fabricate, and much more. It also touches on what types of edge profiles may be easier to keep clean as well as overall color trends around the country. Obviously, the fabricator and the tooling supplier featured here know their edges. Well worth a watch if you are considering expanding your edge style offerings.

You may also be interested in this video on putting a bevel edge on laminate using microwaves.

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Conflict Causes Cancellation of Vitória Stone Fair/Marmo+Mac Latin America

Posted on 15 February 2017 by cradmin

vitoria stone fairMilanez & Milaneze, the organizers of the 2017 edition of the Vitória Stone Fair / Marmo+Mac Latin America, cancelled the event on Feb. 10, just four days before its scheduled opening because of local unrest and concern for exhibitor and visitor safety. The announcement was made on the company’s website. According to the announcement, there had been multiple requests from exhibitors and visitors to cancel the event even though stands were already set up and many participants had already arrived.

Organizers of the event stated that the safety and integrity of the customers, exhibitors, visitors and service providers was of the utmost concern after a work stoppage of police patrols in the Brazilian state of of Espírito Santo, which includes Vitória. The stoppage had reportedly led to more than 130 deaths and Brazil’s government sent more than 3,000 troops to attempt to restore order to the area. Vitória public transportation, schools, clinics and many businesses had been closed during the week-long conflict.

The state’s Military Police, which is not actually a part of Brazil’s armed forces, was involved in a dispute with the Espírito Santo government regarding pay issues. Patrol cars were prevented from leaving by family members who surrounded the headquarters. This tactic is meant to bypass Brazilian law that prohibits police from going on strike. The response of the Espírito Santo officials was to threaten charges of insurrection against 703 police officers.

In a statement on the Folha Vitória website, Cecília Milanez Milaneze, company CEO said that although they recognize the importance of this international event, it will not be rescheduled this year.

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ATI Decorative Laminates Introduces Four New MirroFlex Finishes

Posted on 14 February 2017 by cradmin

mirroflex-product-processATI Decorative Laminates introduced four new MirroFlex™ finishes; Vintage Metal, Bronze Strata, Steel Strata and Diamond Brushed were made available for MirroFlex Structures as well as Flat Sheets.

MirroFlex is a decorative thermoplastic panel created in three-dimensions through a proprietary process. The thermoformed process creates deeply textured patterns that offer more than 45 different finishes that mimic wood grain, patinas and metals.

All new finishes are available for MirroFlex patterns in both 4×4 and 4×10 sizes. Hundreds of designs and color combinations are available and many are available via ATI’s Quick Ship program for faster turn around. MirroFlex 4×10 decorative wall panels have no minimum order quantity and are ready to ship in three to four weeks.

You may also be interested in Arborite Expands Maison Laminate Collection

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Antolini Introduces Azerocare Natural Stone Treatment

Posted on 13 February 2017 by cradmin

Antolini Azerocare

Azerocare from Antolini is a proprietary treatment that reportedly gives marble, onyx and soft quartzites protection against etching and staining caused by contact with acid-based foods, oil, fat and grease.

According to the company it does not affect the colors and characteristics of the natural stone it is applied on. It is also an bacteriostatic treatment and only needs a neutral soap,  water and a non-abrasive cloth to clean the surface after usage.

You may also be interested in this article about Eco Plus sealer from FILA.

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