This blog was guest-written by Conner LaLonde, M-Series Electrician. It is adapted from his intro given as the Morning Meeting Emcee.

Imagine you are running the length of a football field while a game of professional football players are playing. That’s a pretty intense and frightening scenario, right? Players who are two or three times your size, running and charging as fast and as hard as they can, all around you. They nearly collide into you and you can hardly dodge in time. You do your best to stay out of the way in order to make it to your destination. Now imagine doing the same thing, but this time you are blindfolded. Insane, right? We know that would be dangerous and crazy to attempt, in fear of almost certain serious bodily injury. So why are people still driving their cars while blinded by distractions like eating, doing make-up, or most commonly, their phones?

The results of a survey from The American Automobile Association (AAA) says that 84% of drivers recognize that distracted driving is dangerous, however, 36% of those people surveyed admit to using their phones while driving within the month prior to the survey.

A studies have shown that drivers distracted by a phone are as cognitively impaired as a driver with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08%. In other words, driving while your mind is on your device and not on the task of driving is similar to driving while intoxicated.

Composing, reading, or sending a text message or email takes your mind and eyes off the road for about five seconds. While traveling 55 miles per hour, a vehicle and its occupants cover an entire football field in about five seconds. You wouldn’t run through that football game blind, so why would you drive on the streets with your head and hands focused on anything else?

Be safe and don’t drive distracted.

Cambridge is on Day 2 of OSHA training, so safety practices and risks are top of mind. We’d like to believe that safety is always the top of everyone’s mind, but the reality is that there is definite room for improvement.

Ergonomics (er·go·nom·ics) according to OSHA:

Adapting tasks, work stations, tools, and equipment to fit the worker can help reduce physical stress on a worker’s body and eliminate many potentially serious, disabling work- related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). An often overlooked aspect of safety is the practice of stretching to enhance Ergonomics. This can involve the arrangement of equipment, which we address with continuous lean improvements, but also extends to the practice of how the work is done. Our shop workers are always bending over, lifting heavy equipment and pushing items into place. Our office workers generally experience the opposite- where they have minimal change of position. In both instances, our employees are at risk of injury and health problems.

Stretching at the Morning Meeting

To help us minimize this risk, we asked the help of the SSM Physical Therapy department to assess our risks and create a stretching program that we can implement at the beginning of every morning meeting. And we mean every morning. Though stretching may seem unnecessary as a way to start the work day, the practice has already shown not only to get our bodies adjusted to what they will be up for during the day, but also to break the ice for the day. There’s something about seeing the CFO  do the “lunge stretch” to remind us that we’re all in this together. People who come to visit Cambridge and experience the morning meeting often provide the feedback that they were surprised that everyone participated in the stretching exercises and that they wish their company could do something similar. We are including a quick video below of the program that we utilize (modeled by some limber Cambridge employees) so that you may realize that it’s not a huge undertaking, and that encouraging your employees to incorporate safe health habits within their workday is not only fun, but necessary for their safety. 

A few months ago - we realized that we were missing out on an instrumental LEAN Principle: continuously improving the safety of our best problem solvers (our employees). That said, we had been tracking safety issues and conducting Root Cause Analyses when needed, along with reporting at our morning meeting what had happened and what solution was being applied. But something was missing. Our employees identify LEAN opportunities and make videos to show to the company every day. Their ideas are so creative and effective, which, in turn, inspire others to think about how they could apply these and other ideas to their work station and processes. Naturally, some videos started to turn toward LEAN applications that were to help with SAFETY along with productivity - and a light bulb clicked. Once we realized that we had room for improvement, we started to encourage workers to consider what could make their work station and our community areas have a lesser chance of hazard for themselves and others. Some improvements are as simple as cleaning off an overhead shelf so that they couldn't possibly fall on somebody and some as complex as creating new processes with additional checkpoints. Below is a playlist of our LEAN SAFETY videos that we share in hopes that you might find something applicable at your company - whether that be the initiative in general or a specific idea. We are seeing new ideas every day, meaning Cambridge is becoming a safer work environment, and that is a win for everybody.

Have you ever received a request to include an HVAC smoke detector with Cambridge heaters? Typically, engineers or building inspectors will make this request, interpreting building codes to require an HVAC smoke detector be installed on any air handling system with a capacity greater than 2,000 cubic feet per minute (CFM).

Why Cambridge Systems Do Not Require an HVAC Smoke Detector

The requirements for needing an HVAC smoke detector are clearly addressed in Section 606 of the International Mechanical Code (IMC), This section covers the requirements for utilizing an HVAC smoke detector for air handling equipment, and states: 606.1 Controls required. Air distribution systems shall be equipped with smoke detectors listed and labeled for installation in air distribution systems 606.2 Where required. Smoke detectors shall be installed where indicated in Sections 606.2.1 through 606.2.3. Exception: Smoke detectors shall not be required where air distribution systems are incapable of spreading smoke beyond the enclosing walls, floors and ceilings of the room or space in which the smoke is generated. Cambridge units fall under this exception, as our systems use only 100% outdoor air to heat and ventilate, making them incapable of spreading smoke beyond these parameters. The IMC Commentary provides further explanation on the intent of the code: It is not the intent of Section 606 to require duct smoke detectors in systems that function only as exhaust systems or only as makeup air systems. A makeup air supply system that discharges 100-percent outdoor air into a building does not withdraw air from the building and, therefore, cannot contribute to the movement of smoke. It is more important to keep in mind the intended application of Section 606, which is to address the potential hazard caused by ducted air distribution systems that link together rooms and spaces within a building, thereby providing the means to distribute smoke to such rooms and spaces. Air-handling systems of any type that cannot transport smoke beyond the area of fire origin are exempt from the provisions of this section.

Since Cambridge heaters are only used as 100% outdoor air systems smoke detectors are not required.

Question: Have you ever been required to include a smoke detector on a Cambridge unit?