OSHA has issued a warning about the dangers of Cold Stress for workers, even in moderate climates, just in time for the spring thunderstorm season in Georgia.
On Tuesday, a line of severe thunderstorms hit the Atlanta metro area, causing damage and widespread power outages. CNN reports that several homes were demolished on Smithfield Road near Georgia Highway 100, in Carroll County. The residents were away, so there was no loss of life, according to law enforcement officials.
Two lanes of I-75 south, near Delk Road, were blocked by a downed tree during rush hour, causing extensive delays. The lanes were cleared just after 8 am but the traffic problems continued into mid-day.
According to a Georgia Power spokesperson, nearly 100,000 customers were without power by 8 am. An additional 3,500 in the western part of the state lost power.
Gusts of wind up to 60 mph were reported at Dobbins Air Base.
The weather system moved through the area quickly and by daybreak the worst was over.
OSHA warns that utility workers and emergency responders are particularly vulnerable to Cold Stress during the aftermath of a major storm. They are often working in less than ideal conditions during the clean-up operations.
Many employers do not realize that Cold Stress and even life-threatening hypothermia can occur at temperatures as high as 50 degrees. The dangers of Cold Stress are greatly magnified when working outdoors in wet, windy conditions. Every employer should be aware of this hazard to those who work outdoors, in any occupation.
Workers in a number of industries are prone to Cold Stress, including those who work in agriculture, construction and who resurface roads.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) urges employers to be aware of the hazards of working in cold weather and take appropriate precautions. Employees who work outside or in freezers for extended periods are susceptible to Trench Foot, frostbite, cold stress and hypothermia. Every employer is responsible for establishing cold weather protocols for safety in the workplace.
To aid companies in ensuring safety of their workers, OSHA recommends several common-sense measures.
Proper clothing is of the utmost importance. OSHA standards suggest workers wear at least three layers of clothing. The fabric used in these layers is particularly important. Different fabrics contain different insulating properties and react differently to moisture.
For instance, when cotton gets wet, it loses its ability to insulate. Wool, on the other hand is a good insulator even when completely soaked. Therefore, cotton should be worn as the innermost layer to provide ventilation. Wool, or down, as the next layer will absorb sweat and keep the body warm. The third or outer layer needs to be a material like nylon or Gortex that will keep out the wind.
Proper clothing includes the entire body. Employees should always wear a hat. An exposed head can lose up to 40 degrees of body heat. Feet need to be kept warm, too. Workers should wear boots or insulated footwear, and if they work in wet conditions, the footwear should be waterproof.
While working outside, or inside a freezer, workers should avoid drinking alcohol and caffeine. These substances impede the body’s ability to keep warm. Prescription drugs and smoking cigarettes can also affect the body’s heating system. Workers need to be aware of these effects and dress and behave accordingly.
When employees are working in the cold, they should work in pairs and watch each other for signs of cold stress. Symptoms include confusion, disorientation and irrational behavior. To help avoid cold stress, workers should take frequent breaks in a warm area, such as a heated shelter or warm vehicle. Managers, supervisors and coworkers should all receive training to recognize these signs.
In Atlanta, Governor Sonny Perdue recently announced that two major corporations have chosen Georgia as their new sites.
Invesco PLC, a leading independent global investment manager, will move its headquarters from London to Atlanta. And, Sumika Polymer Compounds America, Inc. has announced a joint venture in Griffin, Georgia.
“We are proud that our business advantages help Georgia-grown companies thrive all over the world,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “Our dynamic economy and talented workforce attract many companies like Invesco, who realize that there is no better place for their headquarters than right here in our state.”
The relocation signifies Invesco’s return to its Atlanta roots and reflects its majority U.S. stock ownership. The company will consolidate nearly 300 positions from its two existing Atlanta offices into the new Two Peachtree Pointe building in Midtown, where it will have room for future expansion. Invesco will be the first tenant in Two Peachtree Point, 1555 Peachtree Street, a Dewberry Capital Corporation development.
Invesco was created in Atlanta in 1978 through a divestiture by C&S Bank, and later moved its operations to London after it was purchased by a British company in 1988. The company has always maintained a significant Atlanta and U.S. presence, and has offices in 21 U.S. and Canadian cities besides Atlanta, where it currently employs a staff of 298 people, including its senior management.
Invesco recently proposed to its stockholders that it move its primary stock listing from the London Stock Exchange to the New York Stock Exchange, a change that would qualify it for consideration as a member of the S&P Index.
“We are very pleased to once again establish our global corporate headquarters in Georgia,” said Invesco President and CEO Martin L. Flanagan. “Invesco began in Atlanta, and we look forward to building on our long and successful history here.”
Invesco currently has $504.7 billion in assets under management for its retail, institution and private wealth management clients around the world. The company has more than 5,300 employees in 19 countries.
“We are delighted with Invesco’s decision to re-locate their global headquarters from London to the City of Atlanta after a thorough analysis of multiple locations,” said Peggy McCormick, president of the Atlanta Development Authority. “This decision bolsters Atlanta’s significant and growing financial services sector and speaks to the many competitive advantages we offer such as our workforce, our affordability and our connectivity with major cities in the world. As the city’s economic development agency, we were pleased to be a part of the team to support Invesco’s decision.”
“Invesco bringing their headquarters back to Atlanta is truly a win for the metro area,” said Sam A. Williams, president of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. “There are currently more than 2,000 international businesses in metro Atlanta, and that number continues to grow.”
In a second announcement, the Governor said that two major Japanese chemical companies are forming a joint venture to be located in Griffin. The new venture, called Sumika Polymer Compounds America, Inc. (SPCA), will create 50 jobs in a plastic manufacturing facility supplying automotive parts. Governor Perdue announced the project from Tokyo, where he is attending the joint meeting of SEUS-Japan and Japan-U.S. Southeast Associations.
“The strength of Georgia’s automotive industry and our valuable economic partnership with Japan made this project possible,” said Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue. “This economic development mission and the SEUS-Japan conference allows us to forge the very partnerships that continue to bring great jobs and important investments to Georgia.”
The company, which goes by the acronym SPCA, will manufacture polypropylene compounds for the automotive industry. The company plans to build a 90,000 square foot facility on a 30-acre site at the Hudson Industrial Park in Griffin. The joint venture facility between Sumitomo Chemical and Toyo Ink Group, both based in Tokyo, is expected to be online in early 2009.
Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue recently announced $17.5 million in grants to spur the state’s economic growth and creation of jobs, especially in rural areas.
The One Georgia Awards were announced on the campus of Central Georgia Technical College in Macon.
“The One Georgia Authority is a valuable resource for rural Georgia,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “The investments we are making today will pay dividends by retaining and creating jobs, stimulating private investment and enhancing regional competitiveness.”
The grants, along with Governor Purdue’s other efforts, must be successful. Georgia was recently voted the #2 business climate in the U.S. by the prestigious Small Business Magazine.
Governor Perdue and members of the One Georgia Authority Board approved grants from the agency’s portfolio of financing programs including EDGE, Equity, BRIDGE and ESB as well as Centers of Innovation Research Grants, Entrepreneur Friendly Implementation Grants and “Entrepreneurial Friendly” community recognition.
These projects, along with local leaders and company representatives, were recognized at the One Georgia board meeting.
The EDGE (Economic Development, Growth & Enterprise) Fund is designed to provide financial assistance to communities that are under consideration by companies expanding or relocating to new sites, in competition with another state or county.
A total of 7 EDGE awards for a whopping $9,707,000 were awarded. The monies will be leveraged against more than $358 million in total project costs to create 1,464 jobs within the next five years.
EDGE recipients include:
Development Authority of Washington County, awarded $500,000 to pursue the Trojan Battery Company.
Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority, awarded $200,000 to pursue Roberts Irrigation Products, Inc.
Development Authority of Bainbridge & Decatur County, awarded $437,000 to pursue the Three Rivers Aluminum Company
Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority, awarded $140,000 to pursue MBM Corporation
Okefenokee Area Development Authority, awarded $600,000 to pursue the Enhanced Recovery Corporation
Treutlen County Development Authority, awarded $6.25 million to pursue Range Fuels, Inc., a company that is expected to produce 69 new jobs within five years.
Development Authority of the City of Jeffersonville and Twiggs County, awarded $1.58 million to pursue Academy Sports + Outdoors
The Equity Fund is designed to assist communities and regions in building the necessary infrastructure to support economic development. The program’s flexibility also provides financial assistance to enhance publicly-owned tourism initiatives, workforce development opportunities and downtown revitalization projects. In addition, loan funds are available through the Equity Revolving Loan Fund to assist small business owners with business growth and expansion opportunities.
Twelve Equity awards totaling over $4.2 million were made. These awards include:
$153,190 to Putnam County Building Improvements for a Judicial Museum
$345,000 to Georgia Medical Center Authority, to equip the Augusta BioBusiness Center
$500,000 to the City of Greensboro for sewer infrastructure to accommodate NIBCO & NAPCO, two corporations expected to generate 15 new jobs
$500,000 to Brooks County Development Authority for utilities extension to an industrial park for Roastwood Materials
$433,000 to Jenkins County Development Authority to develop an industrial park
$235,807 to Joint Development Authority of Franklin, Hart and Stephens Counties to create a rail spur
$500,000 to the Middle Georgia Regional Development Authority to create the Ocmulgee River Community Market from an abandoned factory.
$500,000 to Glascock County Industrial Development Authority to establish an industrial park
$320,700 to the Clay County Board of Commissioners for Sutton’s Corner Museum
$268,973 to the Town of Tallulah Falls for water improvements
$353,954 to the Baldwin County Board of Commissioners for an airport terminal
$150,000 to Hart County Industrial Building Authority for sewer infrastructure
Governor Perdue and the board also recognized the most recent recipients of technology grants from the BRIDGE (Broadband Rural Initiative to Develop Georgia’s Economy) Fund. The four BRIDGE awards total $2,723,500.
The BRIDGE award recipients included the cities of Robert, Waycross, and Commerce, plus the South Georgia Regional Information Technology Authority.
The November 2007 issue of Site Selection Magazine ranks Georgia as the #2 state in which to do business. That’s an increase from #4 last year, and a welcome boost to the state’s economic development, which has struggled in recent years.
“I am pleased that Georgia’s outstanding business and entrepreneur environment has received national recognition,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “The ranking reflects the reality that business decisions are made for many reasons and based on the strength of the entire package, and shows that Georgia is strongly positioned to grow its stable of entrepreneurs as well as win business from both national and international companies.”
Corporate site seekers ranked Georgia’s business environment in third place, however, this only accounts for 50% of a state’s score under the Site Selection Magazine system. This group based their ratings on the availability of a skilled workforce, and efficiency in issuing permits. The group also considered land prices and the availability and cost of building.
The state’s overall ranking was improved by the annual business climate rankings, which account for half of the Site Selection Magazine score. This ranking is determined by the state’s performance in a database which tracks new and expanded business facility activity.
Georgia’s lowest rankings on the survey came in 2000 and 2001, when it ranked 10th of the 50 states. Since that time, the state has ranked 4th or better each year.
“Georgia has been among a handful of states in the upper echelon of our business climate ranking for several years running,” said Adam Bruns, managing editor of Site Selection Magazine.
In a separate survey, Georgia’s business environment was ranked fourth in the nation earlier this year by cable network CNBC. The state has received top rankings in workforce training (Expansion Management magazine) fiscal policies (Laffer Report) and entrepreneurial activity (the Kauffman Foundation.)
“Georgia’s rich resources for businesses, including our skilled workforce, transportation and logistics network, and low operating costs have encouraged top-notch companies like Newell Rubbermaid, ADP and Kia to locate or expand in our state recently,” said Ken Stewart, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “Top rankings like these reflect our success in maintaining a competitive edge in the global marketplace.”
In a separate study, Georgia was ranked number 12 in the nation for its entrepreneurship climate in the Small Business Survival Index, vaulting 13 places from number 25 in 2006. The Small Business Survival Index scores each state and the District of Columbia on 31 factors important to small business owners, including taxation, regulatory environment, health care and other costs to doing business. Some of the areas in which Georgia scored the best include adjusted unemployment taxes, government spending trends and highway cost effectiveness.
“Obviously we are delighted that the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council has recognized Georgia’s efforts to produce a climate that is conducive to small businesses in Georgia,” Sen. Chip Pearson (R-Dawsonville), who co-chairs the Senate and House Small Business Initiative with Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah), said today. “During one of our earlier meetings, SBEC economist Dr. Raymond Keating told us what we needed to do to improve Georgia’s rankings and benefit the small business community. “After all,” Sen. Pearson continued, “small business is the backbone of our economy.”
The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council noted that the rate of job creation during that period was 70 percent faster in the top 25 states in the index versus the bottom 26. The population growth of the top 25 states is double the rate of the bottom 26, demonstrating the impact of an entrepreneur-friendly climate on a state’s overall economic health.
If you keep up with the blogs on this site, you probably have a good understanding of how important the WIRED grants provided by the U.S. Dept. of Labor are in lowering high regional unemployment and developing local economies.
Currently, the United States as a whole is enjoying low unemployment rates. Figures around 4% overall isn’t too bad, when you consider that unemployment rates below 5% qualify as a labor shortage. Very educated and skilled individuals have an unemployment rate of slightly less than 2% across the country.
However, in the eyes of some, there still aren’t enough jobs in this country. It is true that not everyone has a job right now, but the country as a whole is fine. The regional unemployment grants are vital in assisting the areas of the nation where unemployment is higher than the national average. Helping local economies develop is the key to keeping the national unemployment average down.
A Georgia unemployment grant would really help the state, don’t you think? The second round of WIRED grants did actually award the state with an unemployment grant. The Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao recently announced yet another competition for WIRED grants. The Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development Initiative, or WIRED, started out in 2006 and is now being offered a third time. It is a highly competitive process for attaining the award of a grant. It is always worth the chance to make a proposal. Who would want the extra gift of funding to help boost the local economy?
Just like the first two calls for proposals, every state and territory governor can apply. Secretary Elaine Chao sent a personal invitation to all of the governors in the country announcing the competition. Each governor gets two chances at being selected. A grant proposal can be set up to $5 million! If they can show a good plan to help their economy and other fund sources, they can meet the qualifications to win a grant.
Good luck to all!