NIOSH Releases Sound Level Meter App for Smartphone



Occupational hearing loss is talked about a lot in the construction industry, but noise levels have always been difficult to quantify for the everyday worker.  A company may have a professional sound level meter or noise dosimeter, but how often are they actually used?  With the advancement of smartphones, the power to avoid the lasting effects of hearing loss is being given back to individuals.

The lack of available technology or general lack of concern has most likely been the major contributing factors for the 23,000 people who suffered from occupational hearing loss 2007 (the last year this data was published by NIOSH). That same year, 14% of occupational illnesses were the result of hearing loss.

For iOS users, NIOSH has just released a free new smartphone app, called NIOSH SLM, to measure sound levels on the job site.  The app underwent extensive laboratory testing in order to meet the approved criteria for sound measurement, within 2dB of a type 1 sound meter). If used with a calibrated external microphone, the app has proven to work within 1dB of the type 1 sound meter. NIOSH states that the key benefits of the app are: raised worker awareness, helps workers make informed decisions about potential hazards, serves as a research tool to collect noise exposure data, and it promotes better hearing health and prevention measures.

In November of 2016, NIOSH also updated their evaluation of almost 200 different sound level meter apps available on both Android and iOS.  Of the 130 iOS apps researched, only 10 passed within the testing limits.  Of the 62 Android apps researched, only 4 apps passed. The study suggests that the Android apps were not nearly as reliable as the iOS apps and did not have many fo the same functions.  But since NIOSH has not released an Android app themselves, users will have to choose between the four listed in the study, which are: SPL Meter by AudioControl (free), deciBel Pro by BSB Mobile Solutions ($3.60), dB Sound Meter by Darren Gates ($0.99), and Noise Meter by JINASYS (free).

World’s First 3D Printed Bridge Officially Opens

3D printed construction has been on top of the news the past few years, but we have yet to truly see many real world applications of the process. Last year, Dubai unveiled a completed 3D printed office building, which they say was built in only 19 days, but news has been pretty slow until the world’s first 3D printed bridge was completed recently.

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MIT Researchers Design A Material 10 Times the Strength of Steel

As consistent and strong as wood, concrete, and steel have been for the past centuries, researchers and scientists are continually trying to improve them or create a better replacement product.  Many have tried, but none have yet to succeed on a large scale.  The latest scientific breakthrough takes a look at the geometry of a structure, rather than simply the material itself.

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[VIDEO] Crane Suspending Skid Steer During Demolition is a Bad Idea

Since Construction Junkie was conceived in 2015, we’ve seen a lot of construction equipment flip for some really stupid reasons.  Like this crane, this other crane, and this third crane dropping a bulldozer.  Those are just some of the ones caught on video and they should be enough to convince you not to go out of your way to do dangerous things with a crane. 

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Report Confirms Cause of 2013 Washington State Bridge Collapse

A portion of the Skagit River Bridge, located in Mount Vernon, Washington catastrophically collapsed into the water below after a semi hauling an oversized load clipped a cross beam in 2013.  Luckily and amazingly, no one was killed by the incident, but 3 people were taken to the hospital for minor injuries as several cars fell into the river.  It took over 3 years to determine a cause and the report states that there were several causes.  First, below is security camera footage of the collapse, uploaded to Youtube by newschannel500, in which you can see just how quickly the collapse happened.

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How 20 Different Construction Teams Manage Their Projects

The following is a guest post from Kari at Appfluence, maker of Priority Matrix, a priority management solution that helps construction teams execute more effectively, by centralizing project information and enhancing communication.

As a manager, it’s not uncommon to ask yourself, ‘am I doing this right?’ Even the most experienced managers in the construction industry consistently strive to learn different methods of management that allow them to increase their team efficiency and deliver more successful projects.

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Milwaukee ONE-KEY Gets Upgrade with Added Tool Security

milwaukee one-key

As technology is slowly but surely creeping into construction job sites across the world, power tools are no exception.  Not only are they becoming lighter, more powerful, and cord free, they’re also beginning to interact with smartphones and applications.  In 2015, Milwaukee Tool jumped head first into the industry’s most comprehensive smart tool application, ONE-KEY, and it’s still continuing to develop with new upgrades.

The are 4 key benefits of the ONE-KEY system: tool customization, tracking, and management. ONE-key enabled tools can be located using Bluetooth technology when within distance and remembers the last known location. The ONE-KEY app allows you to change tool settings with the click of a button and save profiles for specific tool functions.  The tool and equipment management software is a free, digital catalog for all of your company’s or your personal tools, no matter if they’re the red and black brand or not.  

In January, Milwaukee announced it’s newest addition to the application: Integrated Tool Security.  With the new update, your tool can be remotely rendered completely useless if it ever gets stolen. If the tool comes within Bluetooth range of any open ONE-KEY app, a remote signal will be sent to the tool to lock itself out.  Another added benefit of tool security is that you can hide your tools from other ONE-KEY users so only you can see your tools.  At the end of the day, you can lock the trigger or the footpad to prevent others from using the tool or changing your settings.

The update adds some nice features, which allow you to take back control of your tool security.  Check out the infographic below or the ONE-KEY website for some additional information.

one-key tool security

US EPA Releases 2017 Construction General Permit for Stormwater Discharges

In an announcement made in mid-January, the US EPA has officially released the updated 2017 Construction General Permit (CGP) for Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activities.  The draft of the new permit was released last year and the 45 day public comment period ended on May 26, 2016.  The 2017 CGP will go into effect starting February 16, 2016.

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[VIDEO] Demolished Water Tower Falls As Awkwardly as an Imperial Walker Does

Rowlett, Texas was hit hard by a tornado in 2015 and the city is still dealing with the effects of it.  In the horrible storm, 13 people were killed and over 400 buildings were damaged or destroyed, according to CBS DFW. In a story we covered last year, one Rowlett woman also had her house mistakenly knocked down by a demolition company when addresses got mixed up after the tornado.   

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A Comprehensive List of Construction Events, Conferences, & Trade Shows in 2017

With a lot of changes coming so fast, it’s vital for everyone involved in construction and the allied industries to stay up to date with the latest news. Whether you are trying to improve your brand’s image, build a stronger construction network, introduce a product with a cutting edge or just avoid getting crushed by your competition, construction events are definitely a great way to learn about your industry and get on top of cutting edge trends. These events are the perfect opportunity to meet face to face with influential leaders, to share with your colleagues the experiences and problems you’ve been facing but also to get noticed by clients

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